MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

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MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 5th, 2016, 8:00 pm

The Musconetcong Watershed Association is on top of another spill leading to the Musconetcong River. Visit their Facebook page for more photos.

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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 5th, 2016, 9:36 pm

Ok, here's the Bloomsbury spill story as I understand it right now. There was a truck fire on Rt 78 in the West Portal area around 6 AM this morning. The fire department responded, extinguished the fire and hosed down the area which included washing the contents of the truck down the storm drain. Unfortunately the contents included Dawn dish washing detergent. They did not consider it a HAZMAT event and therefore did not notify NJDEP. The storm drain emptied into West Portal Book.

During the day neighbors noticed suds on the surface of the brook and that the water had turned blue and dead fish. They realized that something serious was going on, but assumed that the DEP had been notified. It appears that the DEP had not been notified at that point.

Late this afternoon the deputy mayor of Bloomsbury reported the incident to Beth. She immediately called the DEP to get more information, but they didn't know what she was talking about and were less than cooperative.

Eventually the DEP started a case on the event and sent a response team out to where West Portal Brook meets the Musky. Beth will fill in the gaps and answer your questions when she gets free. She has returned from the site and is talking with the DEP on the phone.

BTW, thanks to Harry Zickler for filling me in on what happened out there. Here's the MSDS for Dawn. I can't fault the fire department for hosing it down. I'm not sure what else they could have done. They probably could have notified the DEP, but I am not sure what their procedures are.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby NJAngler on May 6th, 2016, 7:37 am

Thats a shame. Its a nice little brook. It holds both native brook and wild brown. Restoration work done recently on a section between 78 and musky....Brian is not going to like this! Good news is there's about a mile of stream above the spill so those trout will replace - over time - those lost. Musky should be big enough to dilute the effects of the detergent.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 6th, 2016, 5:19 pm

Story about the truck.

MWA was on site soon after being notified, but notification came late.

http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2016/05/i-78_truck_fire_clean-up_continues_to_cause_delays.html
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Troutman1 on May 6th, 2016, 9:05 pm

Wow... thats sucks... I was going to fish that area of the musky tomorrow too :cry:
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 6th, 2016, 11:23 pm

"Catastrophic" Fish Kill - West Portal Fish Kill Update 5/6/2016
– On-site response for the truck fire included the local fire companies, Hunterdon County Hazmat Team and NJDEP Emergency Response. A tractor trailer had pulled to the side of the road and the cab and then the trailer caught fire. The truck was carrying “multiple retail packages” of soap including liquid Tide. A variety of soap products made their way to the roadway “when packages melted during the fire or were ruptured during offloading”. Responders used several methods to keep the material out of a nearby storm drain that led to West Portal Brook, a tributary of the Musconetcong River including “a dike, a vacuum truck and sand”. Despite these efforts material did enter West Portal Brook causing a “catastrophic” fish kill.
NJ DEP personnel including an emergency response team and biologists from the Lebanon Field Office walked West Portal Brook from the point of entry of the materials to the confluence with the Musconetong. An estimated “thousand or more” dead eels, salamanders, dace, shiners, sculpin, wild brown trout and brook trout were observed. There were no living fish or other aquatic life found. The presence of sculpin and of wild trout speaks to quality of the stream. This is a devastating loss. The only bright side here is that at this time we have not seen impacts in the mainstem of the Musconetcong River.
The MWA has several ongoing projects in West Portal Brook. We will continue our monitoring and we will be providing our existing data to the NJ DEP to help build a complete “before” picture. We will be communicating with DEP over the upcoming weeks and months as a recovery plan is mapped out. MWA partners North Jersey RC&D provided contact information to the DEP for farmers with livestock along the waterway.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby NJAngler on May 8th, 2016, 7:30 am

Checking my career records, it shows 6 trips there with 2 brook and 46 brown. Best day was 16. Not great numbers but I can only fish about 0.2 miles. I will try to get back there later this year and "survey" it with my spinner.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Rusty Spinner on May 9th, 2016, 9:47 am

I alone raised and spent more than $150,000 to restore West Portal and joined our partners at North Jersey RC&D to plant 7 riparian buffers on one dairy farm and fence out cows and plant two buffers on the upstream dairy farm along with providing cattle watering features (well with pumps and watering buckets) as well as performed nearly one mile of in-stream channel restoration on the lower Brook. We even had the RVTU chapter add spawning gravels early last fall ahead of the spawn and we witnessed at least 5 redds in the newly restored section last November and early December although they were likely mostly or all wild browns. However, I have seen brookies in the lower reaches in certain times of the year. I got the call from one of my farmers as it was happening.....sucks big time, but the fact that this brook has lots of restored habitat means it will rebound that much more quickly.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Rusty Spinner on May 9th, 2016, 4:05 pm

TU has called a stakeholder meeting to deal with next steps. All appropriate partners will be in the room and directly involved in doing whatever is needed to rectify this spill. There is a lot happening already with regard to sampling for water chemistry, fish and macro presence/absence, etc. and that will continue daily until at least Wednesday. I'm on macro invertebrate duty myself. If the bugs stayed alive, we have a much quicker shot at repopulating the stream with native fish including brookies. We will know more soon.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby NJAngler on May 9th, 2016, 9:01 pm

Natural drift of mayfly nymphs will help. Over the years I've seen dry stream beds(over in Pa) covering 1/4 mile of stream and first rain fall, the trout are back as well as the bugs. They move quite a distance when flows are up.

Emailed Pat today and she said even young of year(<2") trout were found dead so it was a complete decimation of all trout classes.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 9th, 2016, 9:41 pm

NJAngler wrote:Natural drift of mayfly nymphs will help. Over the years I've seen dry stream beds(over in Pa) covering 1/4 mile of stream and first rain fall, the trout are back as well as the bugs. They move quite a distance when flows are up.

Emailed Pat today and she said even young of year(<2") trout were found dead so it was a complete decimation of all trout classes.


Confirmed. YOY dead reported by MWA personnel who were on site. Thousands of fish dead.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Rusty Spinner on May 9th, 2016, 9:58 pm

NJAngler wrote:Natural drift of mayfly nymphs will help. Over the years I've seen dry stream beds(over in Pa) covering 1/4 mile of stream and first rain fall, the trout are back as well as the bugs. They move quite a distance when flows are up.

Emailed Pat today and she said even young of year(<2") trout were found dead so it was a complete decimation of all trout classes.


The absence or presence of bugs will be key. Personnel and volunteers from the MWA, TU and North Jersey RCD are out monitoring, taking samples, and working on ever-changing next steps to minimize the impacts of this issue and to do everything we can to promote full fisheries and aquatic restoration of West Portal. I shudder to think of the hundreds of hours I spent working on this exact spawning tributary to the Musky while at TU and even last year and this once my firm restored the channel on nearly one mile and my RVTU chapter added spawning gravels small enough for brook trout spawning at many sites while chronicling wild trout production in at least 5 redds in the newly restored sites on lower West Portal Brook.

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Typical after site w gravels installed.jpg
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 10th, 2016, 9:35 pm

Musconetcong Watershed Association had volunteers out recently to assess the damage on the West Portal Brook. There was a lot of attention given to this stream by many organizations in the past decade and these organization continue to monitor the damage and current health of our watershed. Kudos to those organizations that were on site making sure the NJDEP were notified and doing their job and for calling for volunteers to perform a bio assessment.

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Visit the Musconetcong Watershed Association on FaceBook for more information
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 15th, 2016, 5:35 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:TU has called a stakeholder meeting to deal with next steps. All appropriate partners will be in the room and directly involved in doing whatever is needed to rectify this spill. There is a lot happening already with regard to sampling for water chemistry, fish and macro presence/absence, etc. and that will continue daily until at least Wednesday. I'm on macro invertebrate duty myself. If the bugs stayed alive, we have a much quicker shot at repopulating the stream with native fish including brookies. We will know more soon.


Results of that stakeholder meeting? Which groups were involved? Has it taken place yet?
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Rusty Spinner on May 16th, 2016, 12:41 pm

Skink wrote:
Rusty Spinner wrote:TU has called a stakeholder meeting to deal with next steps. All appropriate partners will be in the room and directly involved in doing whatever is needed to rectify this spill. There is a lot happening already with regard to sampling for water chemistry, fish and macro presence/absence, etc. and that will continue daily until at least Wednesday. I'm on macro invertebrate duty myself. If the bugs stayed alive, we have a much quicker shot at repopulating the stream with native fish including brookies. We will know more soon.


Results of that stakeholder meeting? Which groups were involved? Has it taken place yet?


No, it is still being pulled together by my replacement at TU, Rich Biemiller. Right now we are all still data gathering so we can form a plan to move forward once we meet. Groups include TU, North Jersey RCD, MWA, NRCS, and NJ Division of F&W.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby MR.MCR on May 16th, 2016, 3:42 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
NJAngler wrote:Natural drift of mayfly nymphs will help. Over the years I've seen dry stream beds(over in Pa) covering 1/4 mile of stream and first rain fall, the trout are back as well as the bugs. They move quite a distance when flows are up.

Emailed Pat today and she said even young of year(<2") trout were found dead so it was a complete decimation of all trout classes.


The absence or presence of bugs will be key. Personnel and volunteers from the MWA, TU and North Jersey RCD are out monitoring, taking samples, and working on ever-changing next steps to minimize the impacts of this issue and to do everything we can to promote full fisheries and aquatic restoration of West Portal. I shudder to think of the hundreds of hours I spent working on this exact spawning tributary to the Musky while at TU and even last year and this once my firm restored the channel on nearly one mile and my RVTU chapter added spawning gravels small enough for brook trout spawning at many sites while chronicling wild trout production in at least 5 redds in the newly restored sites on lower West Portal Brook.

Crew working hard.jpg


Typical after site w gravels installed.jpg


One of my favorite things doing with TIC was the onion sack study.....the kids ( myself included ) were amazed at what is living in the stream of which you never see.........
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby martalus on May 17th, 2016, 2:16 am

Man, what bad luck! You all put in all that time, money and effort only to have a freak accident like that! I am sure the stream will recover, but it is still annoying to have something like that happen.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 17th, 2016, 5:07 am

martalus wrote:Man, what bad luck! You all put in all that time, money and effort only to have a freak accident like that! I am sure the stream will recover, but it is still annoying to have something like that happen.


Many groups and people had invested time and money restoring that Brook.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby JackG on May 17th, 2016, 8:30 am

Considering the number of vehicles carrying who knows what in toxic materials along that road daily, I wonder how difficult it would be to close off or divert those catch basins that drain directly into the head waters of that pristine brook.
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Re: MWA post on FaceBook about detergent spill

Postby Skink on May 17th, 2016, 10:04 am

JackG wrote:Considering the number of vehicles carrying who knows what in toxic materials along that road daily, I wonder how difficult it would be to close off or divert those catch basins that drain directly into the head waters of that pristine brook.


I don't believe a catch basin was involved; I think the storm sewer system empties directly into the brook. If a catch basin was present we would have had the chance to capture and remove most of the containment before reaching the brook.

Catch or drainage basins are designed to slow the storm water down before being discharged into the local watershed system. I have one on my property, 1/8 mile circumference and six feet deep. It's exit port is 3 inches. On a good summer storm it could take over a Dayle two to empty 4-5 feet of water.
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