Cause of Susquehanna fish kill still under investigation

State officials still aren’t sure what caused a fish kill in the Susquehanna River the day after Christmas.

Update: 4:30 p.m.

Between 150 and 200 fish died for unknown reasons in a section of the Susquehanna River this week, DEP spokesman John Repetz said Tuesday afternoon.

Members of the DEP’s Clean Water Program and the state Fish and Boat Commission found the fish in Brunner Island Steam Electric Station’s discharge channel in East Manchester Township and downstream in the river. They did not find any dead fish upstream.

The station, owned by Talen Energy, had shut down Dec. 21, and no discharge of any kind has occurred since then, Repetz said.

Talen will submit its flow and temperature monitoring data to the DEP as it continues its investigation. 

Originally reported

The state Department of Environmental Protection started looking into reports of dead fish Monday in a portion of the river in northern York County, just south of York Haven.

Officials, however, could not immediately determine the cause of the fish kill, DEP spokesman John Repetz said Tuesday. The DEP is continuing to investigate.

Repetz declined to speculate how many fish died.

The deaths were reported near the Brunner Island Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in East Manchester Township.

About 1,100 fish died near the plant last winter after an equipment shutdown caused an abrupt temperature drop in the surrounding water.

Station owner Brunner LLC, a subsidiary of Talen Energy, paid a nearly $26,000 civil penalty to the DEP for that fish kill, in addition to taking steps to prevent the problem from happening again.

The DEP had not connected Brunner or any other entity to Monday’s fish kill as of Tuesday morning.

A representative from Talen could not be reached for comment.

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com.

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