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IDEM: Overturned Truck Killed More Than 40,000 Fish

mottled_sculpin_1.jpg

A Mottled sculpin caught in Indiana's Blue River in July 2018. The DNR says sculpin species were some of the fish with the largest number of deaths due to the spill. (Wikimedia Commons)

A trucking company has been cited for killing more than 40,000 fish, 46 crayfish, and a few salamanders. In June, a truck owned by MOB Carriers, Inc. overturned off of Interstate 70 near Richmond, spilling about 1,000 gallons of a cosmetic ingredient into Clear Creek. 

Texapon ALS Benz is used in things like shampoo and shower gel to create suds. Austin Taylor is a watershed restoration biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Fish and Wildlife. She says DNR staff estimated how many of each species had died.

“The majority of species were sculpin, chubs, darters, minnows, dace — kind of all of the fish you would find out there in the creek,” Taylor says. 

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said in a statement MOB Carriers promptly hired a company to clean up the spill and that it likely didn't cause any further harm.

IDEM has proposed a $12,500 penalty, more than $7,000 of that would be for damage to fish and other aquatic life. IDEM says the agency decided on a lower civil penalty because the incident was an accident. 

Right now, officials with the state Department of Natural Resources say the agency doesn’t plan to restock fish in the creek.

IDEM did not make anyone available for an interview.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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