Update: Our wastewater superintendent told me we have nothing to do with a discharge, and we are investigating.
A Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologist says an illegal discharge of wastewater to Oak Creek could have caused the death of hundreds of dish in Oak Creek as it flows through South Milwaukee and the Fourth District.
Here is the upsetting Journal Sentinel story. From it:
There is evidence suggesting an unpermitted discharge.
Though there had been no rain Wednesday, a stream flow gauge downstream of the 15th Ave. bridge in South Milwaukee shows there was a sharp increase in the volume of water flowing in the creek around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, DNR fisheries biologist Will Wawrzyn said.
Stream flows surged more than 1 cubic feet per second between 1:30 and 1:45 p.m. that day – from 3.5 cubic feet per second of water to 4.6 cubic feet per second – before water levels gradually declined, according to gauge records for the day. Water flows in the creek remained elevated for six hours.
Shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday a local resident walking a dog along the creek near 16th Ave. and Rawson Ave. observed dead fish, Wawrzyn said.
I have exchanged emails with Mr. Wawrzyn on this, and he wrote me this earlier today (in line with what the Journal Sentinel is reporting) …
As of this morning, the bump or spike in the Oak Creek flow shown in the hydrograph that begins about 1:30 PM on 8/15 is not caused by a brief rainfall and runoff event. The MMSD provided precipitation data from their monitors on the south side. Also, according to the instantaneous measures of water quality obtained by the MMSD just before noon on 8/15 at multiple sites along Oak Creek don’t indicate any obvious contributing pollutant factor leading up to the fish kill.
I really hope there’s a good explanation for this. I’ll keep you posted.