DNR spokesman Chris Gelner says waste from Big Ox Energy run by Trent Linkenmeyer is believed to be the source of the high ammonia levels that caused the fish kill.
“It looks like Mr. Linkenmeyer had been land applying waste from the Big Ox aerobic digester on a piece of land upstream from the Wapsipinicon River. And some of that waste made its way into a waterway after a rain and washed into the tributary,” according to Gelner. He says the plant turns waste into energy.
Gelner says the plant process manure and other agricultural wastes into methane that is then burned to make electricity. Gelner says the byproduct of the process is liquid fertilizer and solids, which have to be properly handled.
“This waste was actually applied under a manure management plan which is the same as a lot of producer would have applied their manure from a facility,” Gelner says. Gelner says Linkenmeyer faces a fine and restitution.
He says the DNR will likely seek restitution for the dead fish and a penalty for prohibited discharged into state waters. Gelner says they report on the number of fish killed has not yet been completed. There were live fish found above where the material had been applied, and dead fish below.