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Water Main Leak Causes Fish Kill In Four Mile Run

by ARLnow.com August 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm 5,226 36 Comments

Update at 4:40 p.m. — Chlorinated water leaking from a water main near Shirlington has seeped into Four Mile Run and killed “dozens” of fish, an Arlington County official told ARLnow.com this afternoon.

We first reported the leak near 2400 S. Walter Reed Drive this morning, after Claremont and Fairlington residents reported widespread low water pressure in the area. Now we’re told that the leak — in a 12-inch pipe — has resulted in a significant fish kill.

From Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel:

Residents may notice dead fish in portions of Four Mile Run downstream of the break due to the chlorinated water being released. This water is not harmful to humans or pets, but unfortunately resulted in a fish kill. Residents should follow the County’s normal precautions for safe use of urban streams.

McDaniel said repairs on the water main are expected to continue into tomorrow. Residents may continue to experience low water pressure but “no one is expected to be without water,” she said.

  • gnushell

    And that’s our drinking water folks.

    • From The Article

      “This water is not harmful to humans or pets, but unfortunately resulted in a fish kill.”

      • Mary-Austin

        Sounds delicious.

        • drax

          Fish you buy at a market are sometimes dipped in chlorine to keep them fresh longer.

          • YTK

            Ah! No wonder they have that Freshly Bleached flavor! Can’t beat that!!!

          • John

            Safeway. Giant. Even Harris Teeter all bleach the fish. That’s how that rockfish stays white

  • Kara

    I wonder if it’s safe to bring dogs in the water at the dog park….

    • southie

      I wonder if the fish weren’t shocked by the sudden inrush of water without dog poop and pee.

    • poocharoni

      It never is – if they drink from 4 mile run they are guaranteed to get parasites (worms and the like). Actually the chlorine may have temporarily eradicated that problem!

    • Jeff

      I never let my dog into that. And my vet, who lives in the area, agrees it’s just an illness waiting to happen.

  • nom de guerre

    Staff from Eamonn’s is already onsite harvesting the fish for their Chipper. Only while supplies last.

    • Ralph

      Fresh, white fish.

    • South Awwlington

      Local, net-caught Snakehead with Chlorine infused tartar sauce!

      • YTK

        Mmm– Coming Soon to the Eamonn’s blackboard!!!

      • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

        Damn you all. Beat me to the obvious punchline.

  • MarceyRd

    Was it chlorine or chloramine?

  • Bicyclist

    It’s because of the farthing pennies.

    • YTK

      My piggy bank smells funny– must be the farthing pennies.

  • YTK

    i was VERY surprised to read this– I had NO idea there were still FISH in 4MR

    • CW

      Further down there certainly are. People fish the outlet of the treatment plant all the time – especially in the colder months. I saw a guy with about a 30 pound channel cat, by the GW parkway bridge.

      I would not eat those fish though.

      Also, does anyone know how the discharge water at the plant compares to the tap water? Whenever I ride my bike by there it smells like pure chlorine. So I’m surprised that tap water is significantly more chlorinated (which appears to be the case).

  • Nag

    oh the humanity! will someone please think of the fish??

    • MC 703

      Yes. Yes we should. Killing off the fish in a local waterway is a real shame. The health of our waterways is very important. When people stop “thinking of the fish” then we’re all in trouble.

      I fish (CPR) in FMR. I’ve pulled some really nice largemouth bass out of it.

      • Nag

        i was not being facetious.
        We need to keep thinking of the fish.

        Nice catch!

  • Natitude

    When’s HH?

    • jlm

      Best comment of the week. Poignant, topical and well-written.

  • Maggie

    Oh for heaven’s sake people,
    Chlorine kills fish but purifies water pure for human consumption. Arlington just went back to using chlorine for that purpose.

  • YTK

    Here folks– since we are all sitting around in our cubicles with nothing better to do (actually we ARE doing something – for the betterment of Arlington)
    Sing along with me:

  • a fish

    Death by tap water beats death by sewage.

  • i don’t even know why fish try to live in four mile run anymore.

    • Kari

      They stock Four Mile Run with fish each year. My husband and his friends go fly fishing there. They do catch and release though. There are also a few areas that are good to bring the kid with their snoopy rod.

      This is quite sad! Poor fish.

      • poocharoni

        Trout Unlimited used to stock 4MR every spring but they haven’t for the past 2 years – probably because there is too much run off these days with the loss of green space in the area for drainage

        • a fish

          It was discontinued for budget reasons.


          The degradation of the stream is why they had to stock it, not why they had to stop stocking it. If and when the stream can’t even support stocked fish, we’re in deep trouble.

          • Arlingtonian

            The trout died each summer in Four Mile Run because the water became too warm. It had nothing to do with pollution.

            The type of trout that they stocked was probably not native to the stream. It could have become invasive if it did not die off each year.

            Stocking Four Mile Run with trout was probably one of the stupidest recreational programs that Arlington has ever had.

          • Kari

            Oh, I knew that it was discontinued in 2011, but I heard rumors that they stocked in 2012. I guess not? My husband just went fishing there two weeks ago, so there are still fish there.

            I think it is actually kind of fun, but it is sad that they die.

      • MC 703

        I’ve caught some nice large mouth bank fishing $ Mile Run along the water treatment plant outflow. Sounds gross. Maybe it is… just don’t eat em.


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