Fertilizer spill causes fish kill near Elkader

    The Turkey River is in northeast Iowa near Elkader. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

    Fertilizer from a co-operative was linked to a fish kill along Roberts Creek a mile northeast of Elkader, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported.

    Businesses have to report spills within six hours, but a private citizen reported the Elkader spill. State investigators found dead minnows, carp and suckers among the dead fish along a three-mile stretch of the creek.

    The stream feeds into the Turkey River, which the state stocks with trout.

    DNR field staff on Tuesday found high ammonia levels in a drainage ditch near the co-op, Three Rivers FS. Company staffers said they emptied a secondary containment on Monday. The company found a possible source of the spill.

    The state will consider enforcement action.

    Perry Beeman
    Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.