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Fish kill near Riceville tracked to possible application of chemicals to land by ag processor

investigateRICEVILLE – DNR staff investigated the report of a fish kill on a tributary of the Wapsipinicon River on Sept. 28 about 2.5 miles south of Riceville in Howard County.

On Oct. 3, DNR field staff traced high ammonia levels in the creek to a farm field where waste from Big Ox Energy of Riceville was land applied to a crop field by Trent Linkenmeyer of Linkenmeyer Family Feeders.

Investigators found liquids from the land application flowing into the unnamed tributary. They also found live fish above the land application area and dead fish below. Big Ox Energy processes industrial food and agricultural wastes into methane, with byproducts of liquid fertilizer and solids.

The DNR is waiting on laboratory reports from water samples, but will continue the investigation and may seek penalties and fish restitution.

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