It is not entirely clear to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources what pollutant caused the problem in Whitewater Creek in Dubuque County, but the dead fish southeast of Epworth has them sure it was nothing healthy.
According to an Iowa DNR news release, a fish kill was reported as happening the first week of May. DNR investigators found dead fish along a six mile stretch of creek southeast of Epworth, from upstream of the Pilot Grove Road bridge to North Cascade Road bridge.
“By the time we were notified and went out to investigate, the fish had been dead a few days and most of the pollutant had washed downstream,” Chris Gelner, with the DNR’s Manchester field office, said in the release.
“I would encourage the public to call the DNR’s 24-hour spill line at 515-725-8694 as soon as they see dead fish,” he added. “It’s not just the fish, it’s important to identify the pollutant to protect people, livestock and wildlife downstream.”
Investigators were able to rule out the Epworth and Peosta wastewater treatment plants as pollutant sources, according to the release. Testing showed “slightly elevated levels of ammonia” in the stream.
The DNR plans to continue to investigate and monitor the situation, according to the release.