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Ammonia in storm water runoff led to Northern Iowa fish kill

This news story was published on September 18, 2019.
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Information from Iowa DNR

MALCOM — DNR staff spent two days in the field looking for the source of a fish kill on Little Bear Creek one mile west of Malcom.

The fish had been dead for some time when the fish kill was reported Sept. 11. Stopping at bridge crossings to test water and hiking through a corn field, DNR staff found high ammonia levels in storm water runoff from Fremont Farms northwest of Malcom. A second source of storm water runoff was found at stockpiles at the nearby Jerry Axmear farm.

Overfull manure storage at the egg laying facility caused a leak from one of the buildings, where manure was exposed to rainfall. Manure was contained at the farm, but the runoff had high ammonia levels which flowed to the creek.

Fremont Farm managers blocked culverts and runoff near the building. They also flushed culverts to prevent more runoff from reaching the creek. Axmear plans to land apply manure onto a field within a few days.

DNR staff found dead fish for about three miles along the creek banks. They collected water samples for laboratory analysis.

DNR staff will monitor cleanup and consider appropriate enforcement action.

Fish and other aquatic animals like crayfish and beneficial insects are more vulnerable during warm weather, when water temperatures are high and oxygen levels may be low. When already stressed, aquatic animals are more susceptible to pollutants.

Please report fish kills to DNR field offices or to the 24-hour spill line at 515-725-8594 immediately.

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4 Responses to Ammonia in storm water runoff led to Northern Iowa fish kill

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 19, 2019 at 10:36 am

    The ground water is polluted. The mass application of industrial farm chemicals and it’s byproducts has been going on for many decades. A person would have to be a fool if they believe man made chemicals poured into our soil just breaks down and goes away over time. And to think that 60% of the corn being grown in Iowa is used to make fuel for cars. Just plain dumb use of resources.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 19, 2019 at 1:11 pm

      ya, imagine that. factory farming is destroying natural resources. id rather keep 4 hens and have my own healthy eggs to eat before going out to catch lunch out of nice clean iowa waters. When the majority is to stupid or lazy to grow and harvest their own food though….. wouldnt it be great if some how some way we safely took our nuclear power plants offline and forced everyone into a simpler and healthier lifestyle? one where factory harming didnt have a foothold because people would produce their own food for their own family? you know… grow veggies, fish and hunt. the truth of the matter is at the very least half the population would just drop dead within three months. as i said before the majority is to stupid and lazy. they dont see why one would desire to grow their own food or shoot their own meat and theyd never acquire and practice the skill sets because it takes real work. if only human beings could have left one spot on the planet unlittered and undestroyed so people like myself could forage, fish, hunt and grow our own food. but monsanto needs to make that money and we need to grow corn to turn into combustible fuel so we can have cleaner air…… farmers need $80,000 trucks and $125,ooo tractors. the dnr really seems to be dropping the ball on several things in north iowa.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 20, 2019 at 7:38 am

        You are truly a sick individual. You can not roll back time. I do agree with you on the use of food for fuel.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          September 21, 2019 at 7:51 am

          i know right. what kind of sick freak wants to actually produce food and goods on their own! must have lost my mind for a second there. dont worry ill go collect as many electronic devices as a man can and become instantly consumed with the daily life of some whore drug addict celebrity so i have something to talk about with all the rest of the normal people. gross dude.