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Fish Kill in O'Brien County Stretches 12 Miles
Posted: 08/19/2014

The manure discharge from Summit Dairy to an unnamed tributary and Mill Creek has resulted in a fish kill that today stretched 12 miles from its source to the edge of Cherokee County. The DNR suggests that livestock and pets be kept away from the impacted waters.

The discharge occurred when rain caused runoff from the facility to enter a trench dug to redirect rain from a construction site at Summit Dairy. The runoff then crossed a soybean field and entered the unnamed tributary. A citizen called the DNR to report a fish kill in Mill Creek August 16.

The DNR traced the incident to the dairy. Summit Dairy responded by redirecting the runoff to a basin and added a berm to prevent further discharges to the stream. In the meantime the runoff continued to flow downstream.

“The runoff caused an elevated level of ammonia and lowered dissolved oxygen in the creek,” said Tom Roos, senior environmental specialist at the DNR’s Spencer field office. “At the 12-mile mark the ammonia level is beginning to drop, but we’re still seeing dead and dying fish downstream.

DNR fisheries will return Wednesday to continue counting dead and dying fish, including suckers, minnows, darters, shiners, catfish, small largemouth bass, madtoms and others.

Damages for fish restitution and enforcement action are likely.