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Fish kill investigated in Renville County

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DANUBE — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating a fish kill along about 10 miles of the West Fork Beaver Creek south of Danube in Renville County.

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The kill was reported Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Hawk Creek Watershed Project and MPCA staff took dissolved oxygen readings in the creek, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff took fish samples.

Dissolved oxygen had dropped as low as 0.1 milligram per liter, 50 times below the standard of 5 mg/L needed to sustain healthy aquatic life. Observers saw many dead fish and other aquatic life, including northern pike, smallmouth bass, creek chubs, suckers, bullheads, shiners and other minnows, as well as crayfish and dragonflies.

Investigators do not believe toxic chemicals were present.

On Friday, the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative near Renville reported that a valve in the facility’s wastewater treatment system had been left open Wednesday evening, resulting in a discharge of untreated water into a ditch that goes into West Fork Beaver Creek. The amount was estimated at more than 4,000 gallons but less than 20,000.

The cooperative’s water quality permit from the MPCA does not authorize discharge of untreated wastewater. The cooperative is working to install treatment measures, which were expected to continue over the weekend.

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