UPDATE: TWRA, TDEC investigating fish kill on Watauga River

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — State officials are investigating a fish kill on the Watauga River.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says it found dead creek minnows and trout in the river near Brush Creek, which is about a mile from the Watauga Community.

According to TWRA, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation tested the water and detected elevated levels of chlorine exceeding four parts-per-million, the maximum amount the gauge can register.

Investigators initially thought the chlorine was coming from Johnson City’s Brush Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, but traced the contamination to a storm drain above the plant.

A city spokesperson says personnel with Water and Sewer Services reported foaming in Brush Creek upstream of where the creek runs into the river to TDEC on Tuesday.

“The wastewater collection system along this area was visually inspected and determined to be in working order,” the spokesperson said. “The Brush Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was eliminated as a possible source of the foaming.”

TWRA says the source has not been identified and TDEC will be handling the rest of the investigation.

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