Jul 8, 2019

Dead fish litter Kentucky River after Jim Beam fire

The Kentucky River is brimming with dead fish. Photo: Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet/Facebook

The alcohol plume on the Kentucky River from a fire at a Jim Beam warehouse is about 23 miles long, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said Sunday, and the runoff has caused a mass kill-off of fish.

We continue to see dead and dying fish. People using the Kentucky River in the area of the plume will likely see and smell dead fish."
— Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet statement

Details: The blaze at the Jim Beam warehouse containing 45,000 barrels of bourbon that broke out Wednesday is now out, but clean-up efforts continue at the site, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said. "The leading edge of the plume is located between Owenton and Carrollton," it said.

"Aeration of the Kentucky River continues in an attempt to increase the low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. ... The on-site stormwater drainage system is being evaluated in an attempt to recover any product or impacted water that may remain within the system."

The big picture: The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has been conducting wildlife assessments and a fish kill count. Results are pending, but WKYT-TV reports thousands of fish have died.

What's next? Authorities expect the alcohol plume to reach the Ohio River early on Monday. "We expect the plume to dissipate quickly at it enters the much, much larger body of water but there could be some impact to aquatic life immediately where the two rivers meet," the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said.

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