Dead Fish Mystery in Ashland Creek

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ASHLAND, Ore. — Clear water flowed through Ashland Creek Tuesday afternoon, the same place where 24 hours earlier a large number of dead fish were found just down stream from where treated water is released from the waste water treatment plant.

“They were fairly small fish, finger length fish and from what I understand there were some larger fish, 6 inches, 6 and 7 inch fish,” said Director Ashland Public Works, Mike Faught.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said four species of fish including Steelhead and Scalp were found dead and reported to them by someone who was passing by. The proximity to the waste water treatment plant had city officials checking to see if anything was out of the ordinary, but so far nothing points to a cause.

“Our dissolved oxygen levels are normal. The other thing is we have bacteria, or what we call bugs at our plant, break down the solids and if their was a toxic material that went by, it would generally wipe out our bugs, but our bugs are normal,” said Faught.

The dead fish were spotted Sunday and although the investigation continues, it is possible that whatever killed the fish has already passed.

“From what I understand, ODFW walked through and saw some aquatic life back in that stretch so whatever it was passed through, it appears to have passed through,” said Faught.

ODFW has sent some fish samples to corvallis for further testing and observation however no toxicology will be done. Faught said they are concerned about the environment and are continuing to search for a possible cause.

“We’re going to run a couple of other tests as well at the plant. we’re certainly doing everything we can to determine what caused it,” said Faught.