State: Manure violations cause fish kills

By Bryan Reynolds -

DELPHOS — Two major fish kills were reported by the Northwest District of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in early August in Allen and Hardin counties.

The first fish kill was reported Aug. 4 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at Bloom Ditch at the headwaters of the Blanchard River in Pleasant Township, said Dina Pierce, media coordinator for the Northwest and Southwest Districts of the Ohio EPA. This fish kill was caused by runoff after DJ Wagner Acres of Kenton violated manure application regulations, Pierce said.

“The emergency response staff has authority to write those after they notice any violations,” she said.

Violation notices list the details of what violations the staff finds after investigating a reported contamination incident, she said. They also list what steps the EPA required the violator to take to clean up the violations.

In this instance, the violations required the company to stop the manure flow from the field, aerate, replace the oxygen, in the stream and remove the contaminated water, if it were possible for them to do so, Pierce said.

Matt Eiselstein, of ODNR Communications, said 14,615 fish, more than half of them minnows, died as a result of the contamination of Bloom Ditch. There were also a small amount of crayfish killed during the incident, he said.

The second fish kill was reported Aug. 5 at Jennings Creek in Marion Township. This fish kill was also caused by a reported manure application violation by David Youngpeter of Spencerville. The EPA emergency response team issued Youngpeter a Field Notice of Violation and was required to stop the manure flow from his field, aerate the creek and also remove the contaminated water, if possible.

During this water contamination incident 36,822 fish, more than half minnows, were killed, Eiselstein said.

“These cases were taken care of as they happened,” Pierce said. “The responsible parties did what was necessary to clean up the waterways.”

“None of our agencies have a way to quantify how much manure runoff causes fish kills,” said Beth Seibert, stormwater and watershed programs coordinator for Allen Soil and Water Conservation District.

There are many factors that contribute to fish kills, she said. The size and flow speed of the body of water is a contributing factor. As is the presence of algae in the water and the time of day, oxygen is lowest at dawn because water plants have released carbon dioxide throughout the night, she said.

“The fish will begin to migrate back into the area very soon,” Eiselstein said.

By Bryan Reynolds

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362 or @Lima_Reynolds

Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362 or @Lima_Reynolds


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