Major sewage spill causes "large" fish kill in Town Branch

LEXINGTON, KY - Local and state emergency, environmental and fish and wildlife officials investigated a major sewage spill and resulting fish kill Saturday in the Town Branch of Elkhorn Creek in Fayette County.

Wayne Sweezey, managing partner of Darby Darn Farm told 27 Newsfirst, "hundreds of fish" have been killed. Town Branch runs through the farm along Old Frankfort Pike on its way to Woodford County.

Officials have now said there was a "four-hour" spill of what they described as "partially treated effluent" at the Town Branch Treatment plant late Friday.

The sewage caused oxygen levels in the water to drop suffocating the fish. Plant officials said an electrical malfunction caused a power outage which caused the spill. The outage apparently was caused by birds getting into some of the equipment, according to a plant official. Reportedly, about three-million gallons of the sewage was spilled into the creek.

The Lexington Fire Department, Kentucky Department of Environmental Emergency Management and the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife followed the spill as it wound its way along the Town Branch headed for Elkhorn Creek.

Officials used aerators to oxygenate the water and other treatment to prevent further loss of acquatic life. By midday the spill had been neutralized but a state official said "early indicators are it will probably be a large kill."

Dry weather exacerbated the problem. Little rain of late made the creek shallow and slow moving.

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