Sutherland, Iowa — An accidental manure spill in O’Brien County on Thursday afternoon, June 30th, 2016 has caused a fish kill.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources or DNR says it happened about five miles northeast of Sutherland.
When DNR staff arrived at Doug Streit’s hog operation to investigate a spill, they say they found high ammonia levels in Barry Creek causing stressed and dying fish.
The DNR reports that Streit estimated he lost about 5,000 gallons of liquid manure to the creek when he stepped away from a pump. While he was gone, a hose broke spilling manure that he was transferring between tanks, says the DNR.
They say he quickly stopped the manure release and dammed an area above the creek to contain the remaining spilled manure.
DNR officials say that the flows in Barry Creek are too high to dam and pump the creek, so DNR staff expects the fish kill to continue moving downstream.
Ken Hessenius, supervisor of the DNR Spencer field office says that Streit responded quickly and did the right thing by notifying the DNR, but he says this type of incident is why they advise producers to never leave equipment unattended.
The DNR is monitoring the progress of the fish kill and the cleanup. They say fisheries staff will conduct a fish kill count. The DNR also reports that they will seek appropriate enforcement action.