Crews begin removal of dead fish in Saltillo

Published 4:12 am Sunday, May 4, 2008

Crews worked Friday to remove thousands of dead fish from Euclatubba Creek, which runs through a residential and business district on the west side of Saltillo.

The rotting fish have fouled the city’s air since early in the week.

Mayor Bill Williams said Friday that the town had rented a 3,000-gallon vacuum truck to suction the dead fish from the creek.

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The fish washed up in the area after the Natural Resources Conservation Service emptied a nearby reservoir to fix a drainage gate. Officials said the lake apparently was drained too quickly, and the fish became trapped at a narrow culvert.

Residents have complained about the stench and potential health hazard since it happened.

“I’ve been working feverishly to get to a resolution. To me, it’s a health hazard as far as I’m concerned,” Williams said.

Officials said the dead fish were in five pockets of concentration along the creek and that most, but not all, will be removed. A company has agreed to haul the carcasses to a landfill at no cost the city, Williams said.

Williams said once the removal process is completed, the local water management district plans another release from the lake, “but not like the last one, to move this on and get more oxygen into the stream.”

Officials with the Town Creek Master Water Management District, which oversees the watershed lake, have provided $5,000 to help with the clean up.

The work may continue into Monday, officials said.