Concrete Spill Causes Large Fish Kill in Utah’s Mill Creek

Dead Trout in Utah's Mill Creek
Photo from Patrick Fink (@MountainLessons)

On July 30th, an unknown amount of concrete slurry washed into Utah’s Mill Creek, killing countless trout downstream of the spill, and prompting authorities to warn people and pets to stay out of the water as the pH levels spiked.

Patrick Fink, a local angler, was one of the first to report the spill which happened below a construction project near Skyline High School. In an Instagram post, Patrick remarked that the creek turned “chalk white” and had already killed most, if not all, of the fish in the creek.

According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the spill occurred when “Concrete was released from a catch basin that was part of a freeway construction project, due to a failure to block an inlet when they were filling the basin,” the report said. “Storm drains that were no longer needed were being filled up with concrete and the storm drain outflows were not blocked, which allowed the concrete to flow into Mill Creek.”

“We have heard reports, but we haven’t yet confirmed any fish kills below 2000 East,” a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources representative said. ”The fish can’t tolerate any significant changes in pH level, especially when it happens that quickly. It didn’t help there’s lower water this year and it’s warmer because of drought. That was another stressor on top of those previous stressors.”

The Utah Division of Wildlife  Resources plans to restock the creek with Bonneville Cutthroat as soon as the environmental conditions allow.

You can read more about the spill, here.

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