Company cited for chemical spill that killed 40,000 fish in Tinker Creek

Company cited for chemical spill that killed 40,000 fish in Tinker Creek

The Roanoke Times

One year after more than 40,000 fish turned up dead in Tinker Creek, the company responsible for a chemical spill has reached a partial settlement with state regulators.

Crop Production Services will pay $86,564 in penalties and reimbursements to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as part of a consent order posted to the department’s website Monday.

The agreement does not address restoration or restocking of the creek; that is subject to ongoing negotiations with fish and wildlife agencies.

On the morning of July 29, 2017, residents who live along Tinker Creek in Botetourt and Roanoke counties began to notice a white foam — and then dying aquatic life — in what would become one of the region’s largest reported fish kills.

Officials with CPS soon admitted that a plastic storage tank outside the company’s Cloverdale location sprang a leak, spilling an agricultural-use chemical that eventually flowed into the creek.

About 165 gallons of Termix 5301 — described by its manufacturer as “very toxic to aquatic life … with long-lasting effects” — killed more than 40,000 fish along a stretch of the creek more than five miles long, according to a notice of violation issued by DEQ in October.

The consent order released Monday finds CPS responsible for discharging unpermitted waste into the creek and levies a fine of $58,500. CPS agreed to pay another $28,064.36 to reimburse DEQ for investigating the spill.

“As we’ve said in the past, this incident left an indelible mark on our company, our employees, and the community,” said Paul Poister, issues manager for Nutrien, a global agricultural products company that is the parent company of CPS.