KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is conducting testing at Brush Creek in Kansas City to determine what killed dozens of fish in the area. A fisheries biologist counted more than 100 dead carp and more than 75 dead small sunfish on Monday.
In a viral Facebook Live stream, Terrence McKelvy documented his shock at the sight of dozens of dead fish floating in Brush Creek east of the Country Club Plaza during a bike ride on Monday morning. McKelvy says he likes to fish in various creeks and rivers across the Kansas City metro, but has never seen so many dead fish in one area.
“It was kind of alarming actually,” said McKelvy.
Bill Graham, media specialist for MDC says fish kill in the area is common in the summertime. He explained hot water doesn’t hold oxygen as well as cold water, plus the water is shallow in Brush Creek which allows water to heat up faster.
“Also in this area of older Kansas City , the sanitary and sewer systems are combined. When you get heavy rain [they] overload the system and put sewage into Brush Creek,” explained Graham who said last week’s heavy rains may have caused the overload.
KCMO Parks initial assessment is that it was an issue with low dissolved oxygen due to eutrophication, a state of excessive algae blooms caused by too many nutrients in the water. This is likely exacerbated by combined sewer overflow. This is common this time of year as it gets hotter. -Maggie Green, Public Information Officer, Public Works, KCMO
Kansas City Department of Public Works employees will clear out some of the fish on Wednesday, but will let nature take its course on the rest as they will decompose, eventually.
According to KCMO Public Works, Brush Creek is within the combined sewer system area. When there is a heavy rain, it can lead to sewage can overflow from the combined system into Brush Creek, which results in about 1% percent sewage and 99% percent stormwater.