The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is considering action against a Northeast Iowa farmer, concerning a fish kill.


The dead fish were found Saturday (July 10) in Dry Branch Creek, about 1.5 miles west of Ossian, in Winneshiek County.

Staff from the DNR investigating the incident, found the dead fish, as well as a strong odor in the creek, near County Road B-32. Following the creek upstream, the DNR determined the pollution source was a soil conditioner that was leaking from an underground storage pit at the Milan Hageman farm.

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Hageman uses the substance to apply on his crop fields. He stores the material on his farm until the conditions are ideal for spreading.

A contractor was hired by Hageman to construct small dams to stop any more of the leak from going into the creek. Leaks in the building were also identified.

The DNR field tests indicate high ammonia levels in the creek, for about 8 miles downstream. The creek is eventually soaked into the ground, just shy of the Turkey River.

The DNR indicates Hageman may be penalized for the dead fish. Agency staff were at the scene earlier this week, counting the dead fish, and monitoring the stream cleanup process.

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