Sewage Spill Killed Fish in James River

Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Sally Delta Goin

Lynchburg, VA - We now know the official cause of the terrible smell on the James River this weekend when 1,000 fish turned up dead.

The Department of Environmental Quality says it was a sewer leak that killed a variety of fish, including bass and catfish. The DEQ says a pump malfunction from the Lynchburg CSO, Combined Sewer Overflow, project spilled an unknown amount of sewage into the James. They spent the weekend researching if the dead fish resulted from a natural temperature change, sewage or a gas leak. They determined it was sewage.

"Since the flows were so low in the river that water was barely moving through there. So, the sewage added in there took all the dissolved oxygen out of the water and that's what killed the fish," said Mike Shaver, Department of Environmental Quality.

The DEQ says Monday's rain and all the buzzards got rid of the dead fish.