Thousands of fish die at Four Mile Run, cause unknown

An Alexandria runner, Bridget Tomich, was on her six-hour run along Four Mile Run on Friday, May 13, when she looked down and saw thousands of dead fish. “They were dotted the entire length between Mt. Vernon and the airport.”

The investigation into the fish kill incident at Four Mile Run on May 13 remains ongoing according to Arlington County’s Aileen Winquist environmental management specialist. Winquist said: ‘Staff were on site that Friday (when it was discovered), weekend and Monday, and also met with VA DEQ (Environmental Quality Department) staff. There were no obvious visual releases or contaminants in the area. Live fish, turtles and birds were observed during these site visits. DEQ has collected water samples and fish samples, but we have not yet received the results of the analysis of the samples. We also check with plant water pollution control personnel and other potential sources in the area. The size of Four Mile Run in this area and the tidal nature of the flows could make it more difficult to identify a contaminant. Identifying the causes of illicit discharges is often a challenge in urban settings, given the complexity of storm sewer systems, but this does not reflect a lack of concern or effort to identify the cause.

Kurt Moser of the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation said: “Whatever pollutant caused the sudden death either dissipated or washed away with the tide. If you noticed anything unusual, or can help determine when it happened, please contact us. For more information see:

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