Health officials investigating large fish kill near popular trail

Published: Sep. 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 24, 2013 at 5:04 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - East Texans going for a run on a popular trail are being faced with a gross and smelly problem.

Dead fish are floating in Cargill Creek, next to Cargill Long park in Longview. Almost overnight, hundreds of fish, maybe thousands, were spotted dead, lining the banks of the Creek.

"Anytime you have something like this where you have a report of possibly we have fish that have died along the creek, it's something we take seriously," says Longview spokesman Shawn Hara.

Numerous species have been found amongst the dead fish.

"There are several things it could have been. First thing that comes to mind is somebody upstream that fertilized real heavy or used some kind of chemicals on their lawn. When you get a big rain like we did recently, it washes off into our water system," says Gregg County Agricultural Extension Agent Hugh Soape.

One witness claims there was a heavy smell of sewage when the fish were found.

"Our public works crew is taking a look right now and investigating and they will report back to TECQ," Hara says.

But there's another remote possibility. The heavy rains from Friday flooded into oxygen depleted waters. Amazingly, the fish could have died from a sudden rush of fresh water.

"A sudden infusion of fresh water into stagnant water can cause problems , oxygen change, sudden pH change. a radical change in pH can very easily kill fish," Soape says.

Only analysis of the water will tell.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Resource Protection Division in Tyler is investigating the dead fish.

The City of Longview confirms there was a sewer overflow a couple blocks away from the creek. However, that overflow has not been linked to the dead fish.

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