Fishy Story: Thousands of Fish Die in Four Mile Run, Cause Unknown

Fishy Story: Thousands of Fish Die in Four Mile Run, Cause Unknown

Conservationists interested in information on the origin of the incident

An Alexandria runner, Bridget Tomich, was on her six a.m. run along Four Mile Run on Friday, May 13th, when she looked down and saw thousands of dead fish. “They were dotted across the run the entire length between Mt. Vernon and the airport.” 

The investigation of the fish kill incident in Four Mile Run on May 13th remains ongoing according to Aileen Winquist, Arlington County’s environmental management specialist. Winquist said, “Staff were onsite on that Friday (when it was discovered), over that weekend, and on Monday, and met with staff from VA DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) as well. There were no obvious visual discharges or contaminants in the area. Live fish, turtles and birds were observed during these site visits. DEQ collected water samples and fish samples, but we have not received the results of the sample analysis yet. We are also checking with staff at the Water Pollution Control Plant and other potential sources in the area. The size of Four Mile Run in this area and the tidal nature of the flows could make it more challenging to identify a contaminant. Identifying causes of illicit discharges is often a challenge in urban environments, given the complexity of the storm drain networks, however it does not reflect a lack of concern or effort to identify the cause.” 

Kurt Moser at the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation said, “Whatever pollutant caused the sudden die-off has either dissipated or washed out with the tide. If you noticed anything unusual, or if you can help pinpoint the timing of the incident, please contact us.”  For more information, see: