2019 Mulberry Fork fish kill

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The 2019 Mulberry Fork fish kill was an industrial accident and environmental disaster that occurred on June 6, 2019 at the Tyson Inc.'s River Valley Ingredients chicken rendering plant in Hanceville.

A temporary pipe system installed to pump wastewater from one holding pond to another ruptured and spilled more than 200,000 gallons of water contaminated with processed chicken offal which then flowed into the nearby Mulberry Fork, a tributary of the Black Warrior River. The spill caused bacteria levels in the river to spike. The bacteria consumed a large amount of the oxygen in the water, causing fish and other aquatic life to asphyxiate. The death and decay of smaller fish fed the cycle, which then affected predators and other species dependent on the balance of the immediate ecosystem.

Although difficult to quantify, the most common estimate of the number of fish killed by the spill has been reported as 175,000.

In April 2020 the State of Alabama filed a lawsuit against Tyson Farms in Walker County Circuit Court, alleging that the company, "engaged in negligent and wanton conduct by causing a public nuisance, committing a trespass to State land, and by committing a trespass to chattel, resulting in the death of various species of fish and other wildlife."


  • Pillion, Dennis (June 17, 2019) "Wastewater spill wipes out 175,000 fish north of Birmingham." The Birmingham News
  • Pillion, Dennis (September 25, 2019) "'Like a death’: Alabama still investigating fish kill near Tyson plant." The Birmingham News
  • Pillion, Dennis (April 30, 2020) "Alabama sues Tyson Farms over 2019 wastewater spill, resulting fish kill." The Birmingham News

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