Dead fish discovered in Little River, investigation underway

Dead fish discovered in Little River, investigation underway

Posted:
Wildlife officials are investigating after thousands of dead fish are discovered in the Little River in Louisville. Wildlife officials are investigating after thousands of dead fish are discovered in the Little River in Louisville.
Several residents living on the banks of the river on Riversedge Road first found the dead fish Friday. Several residents living on the banks of the river on Riversedge Road first found the dead fish Friday.
TWRA biologist Jim Negus said more fish are still submerged and won't float to the top for days. TWRA biologist Jim Negus said more fish are still submerged and won't float to the top for days.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

LOUISVILLE (WATE) - Wildlife officials are investigating after thousands of dead fish were discovered in the Little River in Louisville. 

Several residents who live on Riversedge Road at the banks of the river first found the dead fish Friday.  

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency biologists spent Sunday inspecting that section of the river. 

They estimate thousands of fish and around a dozen different species have been found dead as a result of the fish kill.

TWRA biologist Jim Negus says more fish are still submerged and won't float to the top for days.

TWRA considers the fish kill to be localized to a two-mile stretch of the Little River between Alcoa Highway and the mouth of the Tennessee River. 

Homeowner Mark Scruggs discovered dozens of fish belly up by his boat dock on Friday.    

"Over the weekend it seemed to get progressively worse, especially in the morning when there's not a lot of chop you can see a lot of floating," Scruggs said.  

Any testing to determine if the water was polluted would be conducted by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, though there's no indication those agencies will test the water.  

"By the time they get to them on Monday, they may probably be too dead to determine the cause of death," said TWRA biologist Jim Negus.

Negus said he was unable to determine whether toxins caused the deaths.

He did however rule out high water temperatures or a dissolved oxygen content as possible causes.

"If they're here, I'm not sure that water that killed these fish is still killing them. It seemed  to stop killing them and that water is already likely moved down the system," Negus said. 

The agency also ruled out a nearby sewer treatment as a cause.

Boaters who use Fort Loudon Lake are concerned about safety.  

"I'm concerned about getting into the lake and letting the dog into lake. We love getting and floating and boating, but what's in there now?" said West Knoxville resident, Kenny Allret.  

TWRA said there is no threat to people or their pets that live in the area. 

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