Fish Kills

By: News Release
Jul 23rd, 2020

Tuesday, the DNR traced a fish kill on Roberts Creek just a mile northeast of Elkader to an agricultural cooperative.

A private citizen reported the fish kill to DNR fisheries staff, who responded--finding dead minnows, carp, suckers and other species along nearly three miles of the creek before it flows into the Turkey River.

DNR field staff investigated the site on July 21, finding elevated ammonia levels in a drainage ditch below the Three Rivers FS, an agricultural cooperative. Coop staff indicated they emptied a secondary containment structure around a fertilizer tank on July 20. DNR field tests show water emptied from the structure had high levels of ammonia.

The coop cleaned the containment area and found a potential contamination source. Managers are upgrading water-testing equipment and will train staff on testing and monitoring the area.

DNR will monitor cleanup and consider appropriate enforcement action.

Spills of hazardous substances must be reported to the DNR at 515-725-8694 as soon as possible but not later than six hours after the spill occurred or was discovered. Learn more about spill reporting requirements on the DNR’s website.

The DNR is investigating a fish kill in a tributary of Paint Creek south of Waukon.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, the Waukon Wastewater Treatment Plant reported that Aveka Nutra Processing spilled 76,000 pounds of yeast, which was running into the treatment plant. Normally, the plant routes spills into a lagoon before being treated in the plant.

However, the lagoon pump failed after a power loss, allowing the yeast to spill into the creek causing a fish kill. Plant operators were able to reroute the yeast to the plant by 11:45 a.m. The influx of yeast overwhelmed the treatment plant’s capacity—causing an ongoing release of partially treated wastewater.

Despite the cloudy water, DNR fisheries staff conducted a fish count Monday.

DNR recommends preventing livestock and pets from drinking from the creek for three days or until the water clears up.

The DNR will continue to monitor the situation and consider appropriate enforcement action.