NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodSouthwest Iowa


RED OAK FERTILIZER SPILL: More than 700,000 fish killed in East Nishnabotna River
Posted at 4:38 PM, Mar 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-28 19:15:04-04

On Monday, March 11, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received a report from local authorities that liquid fertilizer from NEW Cooperative in Red Oak spilled into the East Nishnabotna River after the valve on a storage tank was left open over the weekend. The liquid nitrogen fertilizer, according to a fisheries report released Thursday, killed all the fish within a 50-mile stretch of the river. The DNR said in a news release that 749,000 fish were killed.

The DNR also says 1,500 tons, or 265,000 gallons, of the fertilizer spilled into the East Nishnabotna through a drainage ditch. Environmental Specialist Brent Martens told KMTV that the chemical plume was significantly diluted by the end of that week but the DNR was encouraging residents with private wells near the river to contact local public health offices to have those wells tested for nitrates.

The fish kill continued through Missouri and ended at the confluence of the East Nishnabotna and Missouri Rivers.

Cleanup efforts, say the DNR, are ongoing: "Field test results indicate ammonia levels are declining in the river. The DNR continues to advise people to avoid recreating on the river and collecting and/or eating dead fish found on or near the river."

READ OUR PREVIOUS STORY: Questions remain after liquid fertilizer spills into southwest Iowa river