More Than 1,000 Fish Die After Malfunction At Harrisburg-Area Power Plant

Feb 2, 2016

Around 1,200 fish were killed in the Susquehanna River Saturday after a power plant malfunction caused water temperature to drop 13 degrees.

A glitch at a power unit at Brunner Island Steam Electric Station in York Haven, Pennsylvania, caused cold water to funnel through a discharge channel into the river. The water temperature in the river dropped from about 45 degrees to 32 degrees in one hour.

“It was that sudden change in temperature that led to the fish kill,” according to John Repetz, community relations coordinator at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s South-Central office.

The DEP will issue Brunner Island operator Talen Energy a violation notice, according to Repetz.

“We will then take everything under consideration, review all of the available information and then determine if a fine or other enforcement action would be necessary in the future,” he said.

The Brunner Island power plant was involved in a similar fish kill incident in December of 2013.

There should not be any long-term environmental impacts resulting from the fish kill, Repetz said.

“This isn’t anything like … a toxic chemical release or anything like that,” he said. “It was just an equipment malfunction that led to a temperature change in the water.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.