FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 23, 1999
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bill Hayden (804) 698-4447
Suzanne R. Jenkins, VMD, MPH (804) 359-9909
Virginia Department of Health Beeper: (804) 359-9909
RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia agencies have collected water samples from Bullbegger Creek, near the Pocomoke River at the Virginia-Maryland border on the Eastern Shore, to help identify the cause of a fish kill this week. The Department of Environmental Quality, the Marine Resources Commission and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science have had investigators at the site since Thursday afternoon.
Water samples also were collected from nearby Pitts Creek and Holden Creek. The samples are being delivered today to a laboratory at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, and also are being sent to a lab in North Carolina for analysis. The sample results are expected early next week.
DEQ investigators believe the fish died as a result of low dissolved oxygen in the water. However, the water samples are being analyzed for Pfiesteria piscicida, to ensure accurate information about the fish kill.
Virginia investigators observed about 10 thousand dead menhaden in Bullbegger Creek and the Pocomoke River on Thursday. There were no lesions on these fish.
Low dissolved oxygen, particularly if fish congregate in shallow waters, is not unusual during the summer. Heat and drought conditions also may contribute to reduced oxygen in the water.