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40,000 fish killed in central Illinois

September 14, 2010 at 10:57 AM

BELLFLOWER, Ill. (AP) - Investigators are trying to figure out exactly what caused a fish kill that destroyed 40,000 fish and other aquatic life in central Illinois.

The fish kill happened over 9 miles of Lone Tree Creek and 1 mile of the Sangamon River, from the creek in southeastern McLean County to where it flows into the Sangamon.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency says the investigation is ongoing. But IEPA spokeswoman Maggie Carson tells the (Bloomington)
Pantagraph that a nearby dairy is likely the source of contamination in the waterways. Carson says the dairy is cooperating with the investigation.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the fish killed include largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish and carp. The DNR says mussels, frogs and crayfish were also killed.

Here’s additional information on the fish kill from Prairie Rivers Network:

Fish kill in McLean County due to weak laws

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reported water samples taken from the affected streams contained ammonia. While the agency has not yet revealed the source of the spill, the pollution likely drained off a field located on the Stone Ridge Dairy Farm in McLean County. Constructed in 2002, Stone Ridge is Illinois’ largest dairy farm, with 3,100 cows.

“This total kill is an unfortunate example of why we need more protective, clear laws in Illinois regarding managing waste from large factory farms,” said Glynnis Collins, executive director of Prairie Rivers Network (PRN). “From a single spill, the people of Illinois have lost tens of thousands of fish and other aquatic animals. We will be communicating closely with state agencies as the investigation progresses to ensure they respond adequately to this disaster.”

IEPA confirmed that Stone Ridge Dairy does not currently have a permit to discharge pollution, although the IEPA will likely require them to apply for one if they conclude the dairy was the source of the ammonia spill.

“The Federal Clean Water Act requires factory farms that ‘discharge or propose to discharge’ to have National Pollutant Discharge Elimination (NPDES) permits.  Although the Illinois EPA issued a new General NPDES Permit for factory farms in 2009, a vast majority of these types of facilities are operating without permit coverage.  Had this facility been appropriately regulated under the NPDES permitting program, it is probable this catastrophic pollution event would not have occurred,” says Danielle Diamond, attorney and organizer for the Illinois Citizens for Clean Air & Water.

Citizens and members of Prairie Rivers have been calling to report their concern over the spill.  PRN members who live in the Foosland area, say local residents have been concerned about potential polluting discharges from the dairy even before the facility was built.

Two weeks ago, before the spill, an anonymous local resident was out bicycling on a country road about a half mile south of the Foosland post office, when he stopped at a bridge that crosses Lone Tree Creek: “I was there at noon, and the high sun allowed me to see the glinting scales of hundreds of carp and smaller fishes as they fed on the plant life along the bottom of the creek. Fishes of all sizes were intermingling and rolling; their swishing tails were turning up silt from the creek bed. The water was clear enough to see a few crayfish moving about. A blue heron was fishing in the drainage. The creek I saw was thoroughly vibrant with life.”

 

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Once again, no regard for our streams.  They will just “slap their hand” with a fine and they will go on with their business.  If they killed a lake, things would be different.  They ought to lose their business.

Posted by stream stalker on 09/14 at 12:40 PM

WELL IF BRADY WINS THE ELECTION HE WILL PAY THE DAIRY FOR GETTING RID OF ALL THOSE NASTY FISH,HE HAS A PLAN TO MAKE DUCK HUNTERS PAY 500.00 PER YEAR FOR THE RIGHTS TO DRAW A DUCK BLIND,DEER HUNTERS WILL PAY 150.00 PER DEER THEY HARVEST,AND CLOSE HALF THE STATE AREA,S.CUT SCHOOL FUNDING SO WE HAVE 100 KIDS PER CLASS. YOU THINK QUINN IS SO BAD WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS IF BRADY WINS.THIS WHOLE COUNTRY IS DONE UNLESS WE TAKE BACK OUR LANDS,AND STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR OUR WATER &PUBLIC; LANDS!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/14 at 08:00 PM

jim57….. could you provide us with a source for this information?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/14 at 08:52 PM

What a shame! I can’t believe things like this still happen so frequently. Part of their punishment should include the full bill for having to restock this body of water.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/15 at 08:44 AM

Why do we have dairy farms?  Its called specialization and economies of scale.  I am not a dairy farmer, as such I buy milk from those that do.  I wouldn’t want to have Bessie in the garage(b arn) so I can milk her every morn, then of course I need a bull so she produces milk.  Think of all the sh*t everyone will have in their yard just to have milk.  Instead it accumulates on these farms.  Sounds like part of the deal.  I am guessing but I bet the price of milk drives how much attention a farmer devotes to his lagoon.  If milk were priced higher, he could afford to better manage his lagoon.  So sure lets regulate the sh*t more and then lets not complain about the price per gallon.
I am not happy a creek was affected. 40,000 fish in a ten mile stretch? 4000 fish per mile or 4000 per 5280 feet of the creek.  That’s some pretty dense fish population.  I guess that matches the bicyclists observations of a perfect creek with vibrant life.
—-
That bicyclist must have watched My Cousin Vinnie.  It sounds like the line when the girlfriend describes the deer taking a cool drink from the creek.  Then BAM! some hunter blows its head off.  I haven’t seen any body of water with that much fish life visible at high noon.  Let alone bass/sunfish eating plants to survive.  Carp yes.  But not many attach beauty to them.  Fish of all sizes frolicking.  If anything they were escaping the marauding heron.  Sadly, somewhere this description isn’t viewed as bullsh*t.
—-
Sorry bad day I guess.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/15 at 06:47 PM

Find out the link between Dairy Farm and local/State politicians.  My bet it wasn’t an accident but a planned “excursion”.  Oops! just released a little too much sewage this time….oh well, back to making money.  Even if fines are levied, it won’t cover a fraction of damage to the environment.  It’s not personal, just business.  Cows gotta pee.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/15 at 06:55 PM

i say move the dairy farm up to chicago and then that would solve our carp problem

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/16 at 07:14 AM

BowhunterDave - I don’t mean any disrepect in my reply but dont paint all Dairy Farmers with the same brush.  I married into a dairy farm family and I can guarantee there’s no connection there. Maybe on some of the large corporate farms but the family farmer is doing good to survive these economic challenges.  Plus the dairy farmers typically plant nice alfalfa fields that our deer love to utilize.  Talk about your major food plot! and of course all the other nice crops that our wildlife utilize and we hunter benefit from.

I’m sure this fish-kill is a tragedy but maybe it was an isolated incident?  I know my neighbor killed his own pond.  A beautiful lake loaded with bass.  He sucked in lake water for his spray tanks but forgot to shut the valve and it siphoned the chemical back out to his own lake.  Accidents do happen. 

Why don’t we wait to find out what happened before we start throwing rocks at the farmers…?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/16 at 12:19 PM

virtualsniper….... 4000 fish per mile during this time of year would not be unusual in a lot of the streams/creeks in Illinois. Post-spawn fish populations are at the highest levels during the late summer period. When they do pollution fish kill counts, everything gets counted from minnows to magnums because the guilty party is responsible for the replacement costs of all. What is very unusual in this kill is that they are reporting frogs and crayfish in the kill. Normally when the water goes bad- those two will bailout and are not listed in the obituaries. Their kill is an indication that it was a high volume- high concentration (HOT) of pollutant. Got Milk? Get Poo! Brought to you by the California Dairy Board.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/17 at 07:49 AM

Aah.  Minnows can add up.

So with every gallon of milk you get a bag of fertilizer and plant food?  Separate bags of course.  Hate to see the parking lot.

Heard today that there is something besides the dairy being considered.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/17 at 03:28 PM

We went through the biggest fish kill in Illinois history on the Rock River and it still isn’t the same after two years. They stocked it once or twice and that was it. We just cant figure out why the railroad isn’t stocking the river to this day. You can catch some fish here and there but nothing on a regular basis. Its sad to see wildlife suffer because of human error, its even worst to see nothing being done after the human error has occured.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/17 at 08:41 PM

Didn’t mean to hit the local farmers.  The mega boys run everyone out of the business and do the most damage to the environment when it comes to these unplanned “disasters”.

With this large operation, they should have a failsafe waste disposal that will not allow cross contamination of any kind.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/18 at 08:24 AM

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