For Immediate Release
June 10, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Stream Advisory Issued for Middle Emma Creek in Harvey County

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) have issued a stream advisory for Middle Emma Creek in Harvey County. This stream advisory applies to Middle Emma Creek from NW 72 nd Street and continues six miles downstream to W 1 st Street, west of Newton.

On the evening of June 7, 2008, a landowner downstream of Hesston notified KDHE of a fish kill in Middle Emma Creek. KDHE personnel identified that strong organic waste from Sunglo Feeds overwhelmed the Hesston Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility (MWTF), resulting in the release of poor quality effluent into Middle Emma Creek. Approximately six miles of the creek have been affected, and within those six miles is where the majority of a fish kill occurred.

The city of Hesston is working with KDHE personnel and has also received assistance from the city of Newton. It is anticipated that the Hesston MWTF will be back into compliance within the next 48 hours.

KDHE and KDWP anticipate low dissolved oxygen, and elevated levels of pathogens and ammonia in this area of Middle Emma Creek as a result of the release. The public and landowners along Middle Emma Creek are advised to avoid contact and to restrict pets and livestock from contact with the creek until the extent of the impact from the release can be determined.

Personnel from both agencies are onsite to evaluate the extent of the release, conduct field analysis and collect additional samples for laboratory analysis.