Swine manure is the suspected culprit in the death of thousands of fish after heavy rains in Indiana last week washed the manure into the Little Mississinewa River. Earlier, Stateline Agri Inc. had applied 27,000 gallons of hog manure to a field. The manure was then washed into the river due to the heavy rains on Monday, according to Amy Hartsock, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
It has been estimated that at least 10,000 small fish have died in a seven-mile stretch. Rick Garringer, a conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, estimated 10,000 to 20,000 fish had died by Thursday afternoon and the total "could easily be twice that", reports the Associated Press.
"It's killing all the fish," Garringer said, noting the number would be higher if the river's water through Randolph County was deeper and more heavily populated. Most of the dead fish are small, and conservation officers have counted catfish, bluegill and bass.
Rita Mangas said dead fish had washed up along the banks of the river that crosses her family's rural property about 30 miles east of Muncie. "There's a pile and it stinks," Mangas said. "If it's in our streams, what about our wells?"