KOKOMO – An overflow of sewage from the Kokomo wastewater treatment plant has caused several fish in the Wildcat Creek to die.
Residents noticed dead fish in the creek over the weekend. Indiana Department of Environmental Management Public Information Officer Barry Sneed said in an email that the incident is a result of the Kokomo wastewater treatment plant having a combined sewer overflow due to heavy rain.
When the rain overwhelmed the system, it caused a discharge of raw sewage to flow into the creek, Sneed said.
He added that the sewage, which depletes the oxygen in water, will eventually dilute enough from the rain and be safe again for the fish.
In the meantime, the IDEM advises that citizens stay away from the water and keep their pets out of the creek, as well.
“Public health officials suggest avoiding contact with waters visibly impacted by sewage and showering or bathing with warm, soapy water after coming in contact with the water,” Sneed said in an email. “Veterinarians recommend not allowing pets to drink or swim in waters visibly impacted by sewage.”
The combined sewer overflow is an older system, and cities across Indiana, including Kokomo, are in the process of fixing this problem, Sneed said. A long-term control plan, which will take several years, is being implemented by cities to avoid these kinds of water issues.
For more information on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management Combined Sewer Overflows, go to: http://www.in.gov/idem/files/factsheet_cso.pdf.