Winneshiek County Farmer Fined After Killing Thousands Of Fish
Last summer, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources opened an investigation on a fish kill in Dry Branch Creek.
The investigation began after the DNR staff found dead fish and strong odors in the creek by Country Road B32. According to Iowa News Now, the staff followed the creek and found a soil conditioner leaking from underground storage pits on Milan Hageman’s farm.
Hageman did know that his storage pits may be leaking when he decided to still fill them.
According to an Iowa Capital Dispatch article, Hageman “thought the creek looked cloudy and wondered if the below building pit was leaking last fall.”
Hageman had an unspecified soil conditioner in a pit which leaked into the underground tiling that discharged not far from the creek. He tried to contain the flow with a few earthen berms and by pumping the conditioner from the pit.
The leak caused 8 miles of contamination in the creek with foamy water, foul odors, maggots, and high levels of ammonia leading to the death of over 19,000 fish.
The DNR is unsure how long the leak has taken place but they suspect it has been leaking for a while due to the maggots. The DNR is also unsure about how much of the conditioner reached the creek. aa
As a result of the incident, Hageman will pay $18,280 for the dead fish, the cost of this investigation, and administration fines. According to Iowa Capital Dispatch, he also needs to stop using the containers and needs to hire an engineer to examine their integrity.