Fish kill in Garvin Brook: A threat to our drinking water


From: Jeffrey S. Broberg, LPG

Dear Stockton area residents,

With dead fish in Garvin Brook, the Minnesota Well Owners Organization (MnWOO) is sounding the alarm for private well owners in every quarter of Stockton Valley. Water that kills fish is tainted and unfit to drink, no matter what killed the fish.

Recent groundwater studies show that the water at the surface in Farmers Park infiltrates into groundwater and can show up in both springs and water wells downstream. No one would drink the fish-killing water right out of the stream. It is also true that if you drink groundwater from a well down the valley from Farmers Park that tainted water could end up in your kitchen sink.

We must ask what killed the fish? We also need to know what happened to the bad water that killed the fish? How do we know if the bad water is in other aquifers that feed our wells? Without testing you’re well water, you don’t know if it is safe.

MnWOO recommends that residents immediately test their water for bacteria, nitrates, and chlorides. Low-cost testing is available from Winona County (get sample bottles and drop off water samples at Winona County Household Hazardous Waste building at 225 West Second Street between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Call 507-457-6402 for more information.)

MnWOO or public health officials can provide professional advice about the testing results.

MnWOO will hold a free nitrate screening clinic on November 21 at the Stockton Community Center from 2-5:30 p.m. We will also be announcing drop-off sites for well water that you would like to test. The service is free. If your drinking water seems different, don’t wait to get your water tested.

Don’t assume your water is OK. For our drinking water, a fish kill is almost as bad as a massive flood, but fish kills put well owners at risk because the contaminants flow underground and become an unseen hazard.

If you live in the Garvin Brook Stockton Creek Valley or on the overlooking ridges, please be safe and test your water.


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