Manure spill kills thousands of fish - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Manure spill kills thousands of fish

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigating thousands of dead fish in Dubuque County.

"We got a phone call from a neighbor over there that lived down the stream, and he called to report dead fish," said Mike Steuck, DNR northeast regional fisheries supervisor.

Authorities said many fish were killed in early October in the Hickory and Hewitt Creeks, near New Vienna. 

It was caused by animal waste, manure flowing in the stream. They say it came from a dairy farm.

"A little over 60,000 thousand fish were killed in that stretch when we did our sampling and that's what we found there, mainly minnows, stonerollers, darters, suckers, those kinds of things. No game fish," added Steuck.

All the fish were killed along seven miles of stream.

According to the DNR, water samples were tested, and there's no threat to drinking water. However, the test results showed high levels of ammonia, linked to manure, killing the fish.

"Most farmers and land owners are conscientious, they try and do the right thing, but sometimes accidents do happen, and it's all about prevention. If you can take steps to minimize those chance happenings then you won't have problems with fish kills, or run off events."

The owner of the farm will have to pay fish restitution -- the value of each fish. It'll cost about $21,000, including the cost of the investigation. 

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