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Mon, Jan 18, 2021 18:54
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DNR investigates hundreds of Escanaba River fish deaths near Verso paper mill
MICHIGAN (From news reports) -- State officials are investigating after a fish kill was discovered downstream of a paper mill on the Escanaba River.

A conservation officer reported a possible fish kill had occurred Sunday in the Upper Peninsula's Delta County, said Jennifer Johnson of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

On Monday, officials identified about 375 fish deaths but saw hundreds more fish washed up in vegetation, she said. A total death estimate has not yet been calculated.

The kill, near Gladstone, was downstream of the Verso Corporation's Escanaba paper mill and the area impacted is about 3 miles long, between Dam No. 2 and the mouth of the river, officials said.

The mill reported last week that a ruptured pipe had impacted their wastewater treatment plant, said Jay Parent, district supervisor for the water resources division of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, in a news release.

"The pipe failure has been corrected and outflowing water quality is improving, with test results pending," he said.

The Escanaba River is a popular spot for anglers and dozens of species of fish were killed including various panfish, walleye, northern pike and largemouth bass, state officials said.

The investigation into the kill is ongoing and Verso officials are cooperating, state officials said.

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