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Vermilion river and EPA

John Gillio

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Just talked to someone who talked to the EPA about the lack of fish downstream from Streator. It appears that there have been quite a few reports of this problem the past couple of years. The river was tested a number of times last year but always after the river had risen. No unusual amounts of contaminants were found. If there were any they had been diluted or flushed downstream by the rising waters. Streator sewage is the only discharge into the river in that area, I am told. The EPA plans to do some testing Monday also. He says he will let me know what the results are.

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  • 4 months later...

I heard through the grapevine that contaminants were found during the testing back in August. What they were I was not told. The source of the contaminants was unknown. An article in the Ottawa Daily Times recently suggested that a slag pile and some ponds that were contaminated with various acids, and once owned by a defunct fertilizer plant, could leach or spill into the river if the water were to rise that high. It was suggested that if this were to happen, it could cause a fish kill as far as ten miles down stream. I don't know if there is any connection.


As far as I know , the last reported fish kill on the lower stretch of river was back in 1988. It was during a low water period and affected the the river from the mouth to about a mile upstream. I witnessed that mess as it was happening. Heavy metals were the killers, dumped by a company not from the area. It killed thousands of fish. Most were rough fish, but I saw some huge catfish, smallies, walleye, and a 17 pound muskie that were killed. Very sad and in a few days very smelly.

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