Ammonia spill causes fish kill in East Fork of Issaquah Creek

October 7, 2009

By Staff

NEW — 7:03 p.m. Oct. 7, 2009

An accidental release of ammonia from the Darigold processing plant caused a fish kill today in the East Fork of Issaquah Creek in Issaquah.

The Department of Ecology responded to the incident after receiving a report of dead fish from a state Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist surveying spawning salmon in the stream.

Most of the 40-50 dead fish observed were sculpin, a small freshwater fish. But a small number of salmon and trout were also affected.

An unknown volume of ammonia entered the creek from the Darigold Inc. plant, 611 Front St. N. Company workers secured a small leak and stopped the release by mid-afternoon. The duration of the leak was not known.

Hatchery officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Department officials observed dead or dying fish over a quarter-mile reach of the stream, between the plant and the east fork’s confluence with Issaquah Creek. By late afternoon, ammonia in calm pools along the stream appeared to have evaporated.

Darigold is cooperating with the department in investigating the cause of the release.

At the same time, a separate, natural die-off of salmon is occurring in the same area as part of the chinook and coho spawning cycle.

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