It appears a business in Creston is responsible for contaminating a tributary of the Platte River in southwest Iowa, killing thousands of fish. Dan Stipe, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the material that turned three miles of the stream a bright green color came from the Fansteel Wellman Dynamics Plant.
Stipe says around 280 gallons of a florescent green dye was discharged from the plant into the sanitary sewer. Fansteel produces components for helicopters, jet engines, and other aircraft. Stipe says, "They have an employee in a new position in the plant and he discharged (the dye) to the sanitary sewer, when under normal circumstances they do not. So, it appears there was possibly miscommunication or an error on the part of an employee at the plant."
It has not been determined if Fansteel will face penalties from the DNR. Stipe says more investigation is needed before they decide if enforcement action is necessary. The dye has killed thousands of fish and livestock producers in the area have been warned to keep their animals away from the Platte River Tributary.
"It’s being diluted the farther down stream it goes," Stipe says, "eventually it will reach the point where it will no longer cause harm." The Creston wastewater treatment plant first notified the DNR of the fish kill Thursday morning. Stipe says the dye went undetected and did not cause any problems when it passed through the treatment plant.