About 23,000 Fish Killed in Blackwater Mistake
19 September 2014
By Staff reports
DAVIS, W.Va. — An estimated 23,000 fish were killed when an
automated pollution control system dumped too much hydrated lime
into the Blackwater River in Tucker county, state officials said
“It is a lot of fish,” said Bret Preston, fisheries chief with the
state Division of Natural Resources. “It would be in the moderate
to severe range.”
Preston said DNR officials are still investigating exactly what
went wrong with the automated system that controls the liming
station, which is just upstream from Davis and is used to reduce
acid pollution in the river.
According to Preston, DNR officials set up four sampling stations
on a nearly two-mile stretch of the river down to Blackwater
Falls. They found 1,917 dead fish, mostly minnows and darters, but
also several trout and smallmouth bass. “That’s not uncommon, to
have most of those killed be small, nongame fish,” Preston said.
Using common expansion factors, DNR officials estimated that their
sample indicated about 23,000 fish in all were killed.
Preston said DNR officials did find live fish, and that the pH
levels in the river were going back to normal. For now, though,
the liming station is shut down until DNR finishes its
investigation of the incident, Preston said.
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