ANKENY—As of noon Thursday, dead fish began surfacing in roughly one-half mile of a tributary to Fourmile Creek in Ankeny following a release of milk on Tuesday night.
A DNR and city of Ankeny investigation Wednesday traced the milk to a storm drain at the Hy-Vee store at 410 N. Ankeny Boulevard.
Hy-Vee contracted with an environmental firm who worked through Wednesday night to clean up the tributary, placing small dams so they could pump up milky water. “The contractor is doing what they can to minimize environmental damage,” said Ted Petersen, DNR supervisor. Cleanup continues on Thursday.
While the DNR investigation is ongoing, milky water had not reached Fourmile Creek Thursday afternoon. Dead fish in the tributary were mostly minnows and small gamefish. DNR fisheries staff will be on site Thursday afternoon to do a fish count.
Petersen cautions that apparently harmless materials, like milk, can be toxic to aquatic creatures. “It’s important to know that storm drains flow underground directly into a nearby stream,” he said. “Sanitary sewers connected to your house’s sinks, showers and toilets send wastewater to a treatment plant or septic system. So, when disposing of a liquid into the municipal collection system, it’s important to check with the local wastewater treatment plant or DNR field office prior to disposal.”
Upon completion of the investigation, DNR will consider appropriate enforcement action, which may include fish kill restitution.