Charcoal Plant Accidentally Contaminates Creek

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The Department of Fish and Wildlife tell WBKO they had found about 750 dead fish in the creek. That's about one fish for every foot of the Cave Branch Creek in Metcalfe County. One area resident is concerned the runoff could soon affect his farm.

Preston Groce says: "The creek looked dark. It had a red color. Had a lot of dead fish in it and had a bad smell to it."

This is what the water from the creek on Preston Groce's farm looked like last night. Groce immediately reported the incident to the Kingsford Charcoal plant next door.

Rob Service is the plant manager at Kingsford Charcoal in Metcalfe County. He says: "We were immediately concerned it may be coming from our facility because we have two woodpiles. "

Sawdust is used at the Kingsford plant and cooked to turn into char. Then it's mixed with coal; that's how they get the name charcoal. What happened yesterday was they were spraying some of this sawdust and that ran down into the creek behind the plant.

Service says: "We came back traced the creek back and we did confirm it was a runoff coming off one of the sawdust piles."

The plant is trying to reduce the level of a pond on the property. They are doing that so they can install a new firepump in the pond. As soon as they found the problem, Kingsford began working on how to fix it. They've put up a dam and they are working on draining the creek. While these accidents are rare, it's still something the company doesn't like to see.

Service says: "We're very disappointed this has happened."

The runoff in the water killed the fish because the material released created an oxygen starved environment that caused the fish to drown. But the plant says the chemicals are not suspected to be a danger to other animals.

Service says: "There are what we call sugar chemical from the wood. It's not a toxic material no."