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Hundreds of fish dead in pond near Jupiter

Posted: 2:42 PM, Jul 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-18 08:44:52-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Hundreds of dead small fish are floating on top of the water in a small retention pond behind homes in a neighborhood south of Indiantown Road and east of I-95.

“Dead, decaying rotting fish," said Kris Virostko, who lives next to the pond. "It’s nasty."

Virostko contacted WPTV to check out the fish kill at the end of Jupiter Gardens Boulevard. He said he and his wife noticed a bad smell a few days ago, but figured it was a nearby stormwater treatment plant. 

"It smells worse than a city dump," he said.

On Monday night, they noticed dead fish in the pond, so they called WPTV to try to find out what's going on.

“It’s disgusting," Virostko said. "I’ve got a 6-month-old son and my fiance, we can’t even come out in the backyard and enjoy an afternoon because of the smell.”

In response to WPTV's inquiry, FWC said they've received one report on the fish kill hotline regarding this issue. They said fish kills are usually caused by lack of oxygen in the water.

FWC said they do not investigate fish kills on private land or managed waters nor do they clean them up if that's case.

Property records show Palm Beach County owns the land the retention pond is on. The county spokesperson is looking into the matter.

FWC sent the following information about fish kills:

  • Witnessing a fish kill can be alarming and there are many reasons a fish kill can occur. While some kills are the result of human activity, most have natural causes.  
  • Increases in fish kills often occur in the spring and summer
  • Typically Low dissolved oxygen (DO) is the most common natural cause of fish kills in the state of Florida. 
  • Heavy rainfalls can decrease dissolved oxygen levels causing "fish kills" in local waters. 
  • Storms can wash large amounts of organic material into the water and decomposition of organic matter consumes oxygen.  
  • In addition, during cloudy weather there is less available sunlight for photosynthesis, hence dissolved oxygen is consumed faster than it is produced, resulting in large fish kills.   
  • The Fish and Wildlife Health Group at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) has a toll-free Fish Kill Hotline (1-800-636-0511) for reporting the locations of fish kills and/or diseased or abnormal fish.