Carcass of a gar, one of many I found on the Gupton farm
When 1 billion gallons of toxic sludge burst from the Kingston Fossil Plant in East Tennessee, fish were swept up onto dry land or suffocated in swamps of ash. PITW
saw scores of gar, crappie and shad washed up along the perimeter of new ponds of trapped water created by the spill. This was to be expected and TVA assured residents that they were killed by the tidal wave of ash, not the ash itself. This, as it turns out, is not necessarily true.
According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel
, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has been trying for the last few days to net enough fish for a survey so that tissue samples can be taken and stomach contents can be examined. TWRA biologist found that all the fish had abrasions on their scales, discolored gills and some had stomachs full of ash.
While this is troubling, what's worse is the absence of some fish. The spill occurred near the confluence of the Emory and Clinch rivers, where biologists would usually expect to find some 23 species of fish in that area. They found six species during their search.
And, for good measure, a dead turtle--one of many to be found around the spill