Biologists discover dead fish in Maryville creek after train derailment, public advisory issued

The train derailed at Mount Tabor Road and Old Mount Tabor Road.

MARYVILLE (WATE) – A public advisory was issued after 40 to 50 dead fish were discovered in a Maryville creek.

The advisory applies to the area of Culton Creek from Old Mount Tabor Road to North Hall Road. Sample results from Pistol Creek and Little River show the water is still safe for normal activity, according to the city of Maryville. WATE 6 On Your Side spoke to Kevin Eichinger, a Federal On-Scene Coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency, who said they believe “without a doubt” this incident connected to last week’s train derailment.

Previous story: Thousands evacuated after train carrying toxic, flammable liquid catches on fire in Blount County 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said biologists worked to install three water treatment systems in Culton Creek. They said the fish die-off was contained to one section and while they don’t know the exact cause of the die-off, they believe it is a one time occurrence.

Jane Groff with the City of Maryville said they’re not sure if the dead fish are related to low oxygen in the water, or chemicals from the train. Groff told WATE 6 On Your Side the fish were white in color and based on their decomposition, they died in the last few days.

Previous story: Evacuations lifted in Blount County, train fire extinguished 

“Everything is still very safe, there is not threat to humans,” said Maryville City Manager Greg McClain. McClain said the contamination is isolated to surface water and so far there have been no contaminates detected in well-water or municipal drinking water.

The EPA said they have 8 monitoring locations, including a couple locations upstream, so they can compare pollution levels. Those with additional concerns about the Culton Creek area should call (866) 812-9565.

Web extra: Well water analytical report 




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