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State officials investigating massive fish kill in Monroe County
Updated: Tuesday, July 1 2014, 06:29 PM EDT
MONROE COUNTY, Ohio -- Investigators returned to the scene of that gas well fire that evacuated a Monroe County community and led to one of the largest fish kills reported in the state.
According to authorities, a tubing malfunction led to the well pad fire and set off explosions last Saturday, evacuating several families. On Tuesday, Nathan Johnson, an attorney with Ohio Environmental Council, was in town investigating the fish kill.
“It looks as though the fire or operations associated with it created a very large fish kill,” Johnson said. “It's one of the largest in the state’s history, certainly associated with oil and gas operations."
The enormous fish kill spans about 5 miles, with thousands of dead fish lining Opossum Creek.
"Opossum Creek is considered superior high quality by the state’s EPA, so really one of the better, cleaner, healthier creeks in the state, and unfortunately it's been subject to this massive fish kill," Johnson said.
Johnson says this would be a golden opportunity for the legislature to step in. There is a law in the books that mandates well pads be only 50 feet from streams, lakes, or other running waters.
Johnson says if nothing else, officials really need to push that limit back several hundred feet.
"This is just the infant stages of the shale play in Ohio, and we really need a more mature regulatory approach to what is happening here," Johnson said.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is also investigating and working with the EPA on this matter as well.