Fire at bourbon warehouse leads to fish kill in Kentucky River

fishkill Kentucky River shows effects from bourbon warehouse fire.

The Kentucky River is increasingly showing the effects of the alcohol that spilled into Glenns Creek as a result of the July 2 fire at the Jim Beam bourbon warehouse in Woodford County, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

“The plume is expected to hit the Ohio River sometime late Monday morning,” a KEEC press release states. “We expect the plume to dissipate quickly at it enters the much, much larger body of water but there could be some impact to aquatic life immediately where the rivers meet.”

Teams from the KEEC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and representatives from Beam Suntory, along with three teams from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are sampling water oxygen levels and documenting the number of fish killed. In addition to the assessment teams, there are teams on the river conducting active aeration to mitigate some of the effects on the aquatic life.

The agencies are seeing increasing quantities of dead and distressed fish. At this time, these agencies have identified dead fish downstream of the city of Frankfort. These teams will continue assessments and work to mitigation efforts of the spill until water quality returns to normal conditions in the river. Other impacts observed on the river include foaming, discoloration, and odor.

The agencies are urging caution regarding the consumption of distressed fish. They recommend that if you discover fish that appear to be unhealthy or dying, do not capture or use for consumptive purposes. Never consume fish that have already died.

Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, local emergency management officials and Beam Suntory and its consultants to minimize and monitor the impacts on the river.

Fishing and other recreation along the river is not prohibited at this time, but users are encouraged to be aware of conditions before using the waterway.

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