Hundreds of dead fish wash up in a Muskogee creek, city facing thousands in fines

Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 22:38:51-04

MUSKOGEE-- Back in May, Gary Peterson said he noticed several fish stressing and dying in Johnston Creek near his home. He walked further down the creek near main street where he said he found what killed hundreds of dead fish.

“When I got here I noticed there were several hundred gallons of what looked like straight sewer water,” said Peterson.

Peterson contacted the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Department of Environmental Quality who began investigating the scene. Authorities found 936 dead fish in the creek.

“About 2.75 miles. This flows down to the Arkansas River and it was pretty much that full extent,” said ODWC Stream Supervisor Jim Burroughs.

City officials said one of the city’s lift stations experienced failure, causing a 27-inch sewer main to back up.

“We were able to fix that the next day and also the next day we were able to get the aquatic life back in the channel,” said City of Muskogee Public Works Dir, Mike Stewart.

Now the city faces a $10,000 penalty from ODEQ and more than $850 penalty from The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Peterson said with Health issues at risk, he hopes this doesn’t happen again.

“The possibility of getting e-coli infection. The possibility of just getting any kind of bacterial or fungal infection,” said Peterson.

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