Hood County News July 25, 2006

Cause of Brazos River fish kill undetermined

The cause of a March 30 fish kill in a Brazos River cove near Brazos River Acres has been ruled "indeterminable" by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

"No enforcement action is being pursued at this time because the cause of the fish kill was indeterminable," TCEQ announced last week.

According to TCEQ investigator Robert Ferry, the TCEQ Region 4 office in Fort Worth received a fish kill report from Joan Glass of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Kills and Spills Team on the afternoon of March 30. Glass estimated that 1,080 small fish had been killed, the majority channel catfish, and that fish were scattered for 50 yards on one side of the cove and approximately 20 yards on the other side.

The report said the kill had occurred in the Brazos near the discharge point for the Wolf Hollow Power Plant in southeast Hood County.

By law, according to TCEQ, the Wolf Hollow facility is permitted to discharge 1.1 million gallons of wastewater per day at Outfall #001 with a daily maximum flow not to exceed 1.65 million gallons per day. The primary source of wastewater, the TCEQ said, is cooling tower blowdown, obtained from Lake Granbury and used as non-contact cooling water.

Wolf Hollow was not in operation the day of the fish kill, TCEQ said, and the discharge was used to control water levels in the cooling towers.

According to Glass' report, released by TCEQ, "The turquoise water color is not an indicator of a golden alga bloom, but biotoxic alga was a viable concern for causing this kill. The fish behavior was not consistent with a kill caused by golden alga. It is suspected that an unidentified chemical caused this kill rather than golden alga since the kill involved small fish rather than all sizes."