The Washington Post
Arlington fish kill probed as a hazmat incident
Environmental agency notes ‘chemical smell’ near storm drain
About 100 fish died Wednesday after an incident involving hazardous materials at a stream in Northern Virginia.
The incident happened at Four Mile Run between South Walter Reed Drive and South Taylor Street, according to the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services. The exact cause was not immediately clear, and the agency said in a Twitter message that the incident was under investigation.
Peter Golkin, an agency spokesman, said initial findings showed that there was a “chemical smell” near a storm drain and that “would indicate that someone probably poured something not good down there.”
Dumping chemicals into a stream is illegal, and Golkin offered a reminder to the public that such activity harms wildlife and the environment.
“There are no filters on storm drains, so anything that goes down will work its way into the watershed, into the streams, and ultimately can reach the Chesapeake Bay,” Golkin said.
No sections of the trails or park at Four Mile Run are closed, but authorities said people and their pets should stay out of the water in that area. They also gave several tips about stream safety.
Golkin said there is no cleanup plan and that rain is typically the best way to deal with a spill because it “pushes and dissipates whatever was dumped.”
Four Mile Run is one of the largest streams in Arlington and covers a roughly nine-mile stretch.