Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 11, 2014

Hundreds of fish found dead in Bland County creek

ROCKY GAP, Va. — Inspectors with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality were on the scene today after anglers discovered hundreds of dead fish in Laurel Creek near Interstate 77.

“We have an area extending approximately a mile to a mile and a half of fish kill,” J. Alex Sneed of the department’s pollution response program said along the banks of the creek.

The zone with dead fish extends from an Interstate 77 bridge near the East River Mountain Tunnel to where Laurel Creek meets Wolf Creek, Sneed said. The incident was reported at approximately 10:30 a.m. today after local anglers discovered dead fish in the stream. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries had stocked the stream with trout on Monday.

“We have a significant amount of trout that have been impacted,” Sneed said, estimating the number of dead fish was in the hundreds.

The fish died after area firefighters extinguished a vehicle fire Monday along I-77. Approximately 5,500 gallons of chlorinated water and fire fighting foam went down a highway drain and into the creek, he said.

Sneed said the creek should be able to recover, and that there “was no reason to believe” there was any threat to the public.

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