State environmental officials say a weekend fish kill in northwest Iowa is continuing to wipe out more fish as the pollution moves downstream. Kevin Baskins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says they’re still investigating the cause — and impact — of a manure spill that killed fish in Orange City Slough Creek in Sioux County.
“We actually still have the slug of manure moving downstream and causing some fish kill,” Baskins says. The spill happened Saturday night at the Brian Roorda Dairy, near the town of Maurice.
Baskins says it’s encouraging that the dairy reported the incident on its own and took action to stop further contamination of the creek, but he says these types of accidents can be prevented. “One thing that we see sometimes with operations that have lagoons and pump manure back and forth is, if they would have had some kind of alert system in place so they would have realized sooner the one lagoon was filling up and overflowing, maybe some of this could have been avoided,” he says.
The investigation is still underway, but Baskins says the dairy may be ordered to pay compensation for the damage caused to the stream.
“After the assessment is done, we will have completed a fish kill analysis and we generally seek restitution for the fish that have been killed,” he says.
In the news release issued Sunday, the DNR said:
“The fish kill appears to have happened after a wrong switch was pulled Saturday evening at the Brian Roorda Dairy east of Maurice. The switch turned on a pump that moves manure from one lagoon to another causing the second lagoon to overflow. Manure from the lagoon ran down a grassed waterway into the creek.”
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)