News Feature | August 7, 2017

Water Main Break Results In Fish Kill

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

trout reg new

Infrastructure failure resulted in a major fish kill in Iowa this week.

“A valve in a 16-inch city water main failed Monday afternoon during construction near the McLoud Bridge,” The Gazette reported, citing state and local officials about the incident in Cedar Rapids.

“Several hundred thousands of gallons” of treated drinking water rushed into the creek when the main broke, the report said.

Chloramine was the ingredient that killed the fish.

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff “counted about 1,260 dead trout, 673 dead white suckers and 300 other dead fish connected to the water discharge,” the report said.

The U.S. EPA explains the potential effects of chloramine on marine life in its literature:

Chloramines, like chlorine, are toxic to fish and amphibians at levels used for drinking water. Unlike chlorine, chloramines do not rapidly dissipate on standing. Neither do they dissipate by boiling. Fish owners must neutralize or remove chloramines from water used in aquariums or ponds.

Treatment products are readily available at aquarium supply stores. Chloramines react with certain types of rubber hoses and gaskets, such as those on washing machines and hot water heaters. Black or greasy particles may appear as these materials degrade. Replacement materials are commonly available at hardware and plumber supply stores.

DNR staff continue to investigate the incident.

“The DNR will take appropriate enforcement action, including asking for fish restitution,” KCRG reported.

The city of Cedar Rapids weighed in on the incident in a statement quoted by The Gazette.

“Protecting Cedar Rapids residents, as well as our natural resources, is extremely important and we take that responsibility seriously. We deeply regret this incident and plan to conduct a thorough evaluation to determine additional procedures to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

To read about preventing main breaks visit Water Online’s Solutions And Insight For Water Loss Prevention.

Image credit: "Trout," Carlos Scheidegger © 2009, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/