Iowa DNR: Fertilizer Spill Kills 750,000 Fish

(Montgomery County, IA) -- The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a liquid fertilizer spill earlier his month resulted in a 50-mile fish kill. The DNR estimates 750,000 fish were killed as a result of the spill of 1,500 tons (265,000 gallons) of the fertilizer that ended up into the East Nishnabotna River, near Red Oak, Iowa. Most of the fish were minnows and small fish.

The DNR continues to advise people to avoid recreating on the river and collecting and/or eating dead fish found on or near the river.

On March 11, NEW Cooperative, Inc. in Red Oak notified the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of a release occurring on-site, from an aboveground storage tank valve left open for the weekend. 

DNR staff worked with the NEW Cooperative staff to stop the release and began cleanup efforts. DNR Fisheries staff began investigating the impacts to the Nishnabotna River. 

DNR Fisheries staff documented the fish kill occurring in all 49.8 miles of the East Nishnabotna and Nishnabotna Rivers downstream of the spill. The kill continued in Missouri’s portion of the Nishnabotna River and ended near the confluence with the Missouri River.

Cleanup efforts continue. Crews re removing contaminated soils, which will be applied at approved locations, at agronomic rates consistent with Iowa law.

NEW Cooperative is pumping water from the east side of the levee. The pumped water will be stored in on-site holding tanks until land application can occur. A third-party consultant is collecting samples to determine accurate land application rates. 

Per Iowa Code section 455B.186, a pollutant cannot be discharged into a river without a permit. DNR field staff are working with the DNR’s Legal Services Bureau to determine next steps with regards to enforcement action and restitution for lost aquatic life. The DNR will continue to monitor cleanup efforts.

Field test results indicate ammonia levels are declining in the river.

Photo: Iowa DNR

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content