The New York Department of Environmental Conservation say it may take an Upstate area "five years to recover" after a massive chemical spill. More than one thousand gallons of deadly pollutants seeped into a creek, wiping out a dozen species living there.

The incident occurred on Sunday, when a pipe from a water treatment facility broke and caused the spill. Now the DEC is cleaning up the area and hoping that something like this won't happen again in the future.

"A Total Wipe Out"


1,500 gallons of aluminum salt, also known as alum, leaked from the Village of Catskill Water Treatment Facility into the Potic Creek, by way of a broken pipe. According to DEC spokesperson Jomo Miller as quoted by HudsonValley360, the 10 mile long tributary of Catskill Creek is now filled with thousands of dead fish, in a horrific blow to the Greene County ecosystem.

“We discovered more or less, a total wipe out of the aquatic life for the critters that weren’t able to escape onto a terrestrial habitat.” - Chris Van Maaren, DEC Regional Fisheries Manager

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The DEC says the alum spill only affected Potic Creek and has not contaminated any drinking water in neighboring Coxsackie or Catskill. They are currently in the process of cleaning the dead fish bodies out of the creek and monitoring other wildlife. Most  turtles and frogs who could escape the water survived.

Regional Fisheries Manager Chris Van Maaren said he's unsure of how long the Potic could remain toxic in an interview with WNYT. The pH levels in the water are already appearing more normal. The real concern is how to reintroduce all the fish killed and the amount of time needed for repopulation.

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