LOUISVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee wildlife officials are investigating after thousands of dead fish were found in the Little River.
WATE-TV reports residents in Louisville first reported seeing dead fish on Friday along the banks of the river. Biologists from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency inspected the section of the Little River between Alcoa Highway and the mouth of the Tennessee River on Sunday and estimated that thousands of fish that include about a dozen species were killed.
TWRA said the fish kill seems to be localized to a two-mile stretch of the river. Biologist Jim Negus said he was able to rule out water temperature, dissolved oxygen and a nearby sewer treatment facility as the cause.
He said the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be responsible for any further testing to check for pollution, though it wasn't clear whether that would happen.
"By the time they get to them on Monday, they may probably be too dead to determine the cause of death," Negus said. "If they're here, I'm not sure that water that killed these fish is still killing them. It seemed to stop killing them and that water is already likely moved down the system."
West Knoxville resident Kenny Allret said the find made him nervous about getting into the water.
"I'm concerned about getting into the lake and letting the dog into lake. We love getting and floating and boating, but what's in there now?" he said.
TWRA said the water poses no threat to people who live in the area or their pets.