Dead fish along the Wabash: cause for concern?
WHITE CO.—Reports have been coming in over the weekend of a large fish die-off in the waters of the Wabash River as it borders White County, from south of Grayville all the way down to Carmi.
We traveled the area yesterday (Monday, 10.24.11) but didn’t see anything that looked like a dead fish. However, there have been so many reports of them since last Friday (10.21.11) that there’s no reason to doubt, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have gotten involved.
Here’s what the report from the Evansville paper says, but a comment below the article is particularly telling, case in point:
An oil leak in a pipeline to collection tanks started leaking slowly and has progressively gotten worse. May have started years ago, if so it will be years before it cleans itself up, unless a cleanup takes place. It could involve miles of land as these line are buried and the Illinois Basin is crisscrossed with them.
Or maybe not.
It has been weeks since the first report of dying fish. Can someone test the water please?
Of course, we don’t know if the water has been tested or not, because the EPA isn’t the most forthcoming agency on the planet, despite the duties with which they’re tasked. So, since we’re in writing week and we’ll probably get in touch with them later anyway, we’ll go on record with our thoughts ONLY on this matter, and let you all hash out what you individually believe is going on here….and we DON’T think it’s “oil,” because the fisherman and others on the river would have already reported or at least noted they observed that.
What we know to be the case is that several years ago (2006), with the Pattiki mine in the Maunie area, there was a breach of an underground water supply (an aquifer) that flooded certain portions of the mine. This supply was actually turbulent, and “ran” for months and months and months before information was leaked from the mine about the hardship it was causing there. As soon as we found out about it and began making calls, all info on it dried up (regular readers will recall that of all entities we deal with, Mines & Minerals, and coal mining in general, are among the most closed-off in existence and we can rarely learn anything factual from them at all, unless it’s long after the fact.) So we don’t know WHAT the status of this matter currently is.
However, if there was a breach somewhere, let’s consider: some of these area mines run RIGHT UNDER the Wabash. And if there’s a leak DOWN, there is an opening between UP and DOWN. Mines have the danger of gas pockets in them; that’s been a fact since time immemorial. And gas, being the nature it is, is always going to find the path of least resistance from whatever its location is all the way up to the surface. Sometimes it leaks slowly, sometimes fast. Sometimes it can travel through natural fissures in the soil and rock, and sometimes it can work its way through water. Whatever it moves through, its goal is to be released into the atmosphere.
And if it bubbles up through the water, its going to affect aquatic life, it’s as simple as that.
Of course, even if Mines & Minerals were called into this, we probably wouldn’t be so privileged as to find out, so we’re gonna have to settle for the pablum that the EPA and IDNR shovel us. The good thing about this possibility is that it seems to have stricken a very limited area of the waterway. The bad thing about it is that unless the ‘experts’ can come to some kind of solid conclusion (and whether it’s rectifiable), whatever killed the fish might actually be affecting US in some unknown way.
Let’s hope we don’t have a mass “human die-off” in that area any time soon.
Your input is appreciated.
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