Water improves at Henrico fish kill site, investigation ongoing

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – The chlorine levels are down, but neighbors at the scene of a Henrico fish kill say nobody's 'fessing up.

It's all unfolding in the picturesque far West End neighborhood of Winchester Green. Last week, we told you about a massive fish kill that destroyed most of the wildlife that lived in two neighborhood ponds. This week, neighbors want answers...but say their patience is running short.

The images are disturbing, and unpleasant…and even though the fish have been removed from the two ponds, the memories of last week won't soon go away.

Don Warner is the president of the neighborhood association here.

"It's incomprehensible to me that the county won't acknowledge that they had some part in this," Warner said Wednesday.

Last week, high levels of chlorine were found in the water...killing 1,100 fish, and possibly a beaver, too. State investigators with the Department of Environmental Quality believe the chlorine came from a county water main break. The county, however, considers that "speculation".

Don has another word for it.

"There's just been this attitude from the county, an attitude of denial," he said.

The county, though, says there is no denial...rather, a waiting period that's necessary to keep testing water samples.

Melvin Slough is with the Department of Public Utilities.

"We do sympathize with them for the situation that they are in," Slough said.

In the days since the fish were first discovered dead last week, chlorine levels have dissipated. Previously scheduled erosion control work is now underway. The land will soon regain its natural beauty, but beneath the surface neighbors say the future is less clear.

"It's disappointing," Warner said, adding, "I have to acknowledge that I think they've fumbled the ball."

The Henrico DPU is now waiting on the state to make some final determinations. A timetable for those findings is not immediately clear.

If the source of the excess chlorine can be proven, then the DEQ says fines are possible as a punishment.

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