Water main break, legal dumping of chemical to blame for thousands of dead fish in lake, creek

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the Middlesex County Hazmat, were forced to deal with thousands of dead fish, and last week's water main break in Piscataway is partly to blame.

News 12 Staff

Aug 10, 2021, 9:49 AM

Updated 977 days ago

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New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the Middlesex County Hazmat, were forced to deal with thousands of dead fish, and last week's water main break in Piscataway is partly to blame. 
There’s no fish at all in Creighton Lake in Victor Crowell Park. They’ve all been killed by events that led to taking away their oxygen supply. 
The break caused water to enter, and overwhelm, the sanitary sewer system, which apparently sent wastewater full of contaminants legally into local waters.
This is combined with the legal dumping of a chemical into Ambrose Creek from the company Spray-Tek Inc. led to a surfactant making its way into the lake -- that surfactant removes oxygen from the water and lead to a major cleanup of dead fish. 
“To me, I would call this an aquatic morgue,” says Borough of Middlesex Mayor John L. Madden. “Because there is nothing living in this. It was the perfect storm between the main break and the chemicals from our chemical company, it’s disgusting.”
Mayor Madden says he saw turtles sitting on branches that are sticking out of the water to escape the chemical. But that wasn’t all he noticed.  
“We have a beautiful blue heron,” says Madden. “I saw it yesterday, I haven’t seen it today. I actually saw it on the shoreline over here. It actually picked up a fish and spit it out.”
The mayor says water in nearby homes is fine, but people and pets should avoid the lake until further notice. 
New Jersey’s DEP says a few heavy rains could help clear out the chemical, but if not, the mayor says it may take a full dredging project to get the lake running properly again.  


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