Significant fish kill brings foul smell to Winter Springs neighborhood

Tray Ling

Some people living in Winter Springs say the past few weeks have been filled with foul air because of a fish kill. State environmental officials are working to get to the bottom of what led to the mess.Dead fish lined the shoreline and left a film on the water.“I noticed […]

Some people living in Winter Springs say the past few weeks have been filled with foul air because of a fish kill. State environmental officials are working to get to the bottom of what led to the mess.Dead fish lined the shoreline and left a film on the water.“I noticed when the sprinklers would run it’s the smell of sewer,” Jay Newcomer said.Newcomer, his wife and neighbors were horrified earlier this month. The pond in what used to be the golf course behind their home in the Highlands area of Winter Springs went from gorgeous to disgusting.“The buzzards were everywhere, hundreds and hundreds of them, and I thought, that’s odd,” Newcomer said.He said the birds were there because of a significant fish kill.“We’ve never had a fish kill, we’ve never had birds leave like this and the vultures, many, many, hundreds, and the stench,” Mary McBride Newcomer said.The residents say each day the air quality seems to improve, but there was a time, near the first of the month, it was extremely hard to breathe outside.“Really bad, you could not come outside, I’m an asthmatic and I got sick, I was wheezing,” Mary McBride Newcomer said.The sight of all the fish had her calling the state Department of Environmental Protection. In an email to WESH 2 News, the DEP said Winter Springs says it was a valve malfunction, which has since been repaired. That means 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of partially-treated effluent was released which impacted a stormwater pond, which resulted in a fish kill.“We’ve lived here 25 years and this has never happened,” Mary-McBride Newcomer said.They fear the pond may have long-lasting damage unless something is done.“It was a mess, so I hope they got it together,” Ray Newcomer said.The state has sent a warning letter, the first step in possible enforcement.

Some people living in Winter Springs say the past few weeks have been filled with foul air because of a fish kill.

State environmental officials are working to get to the bottom of what led to the mess.

Dead fish lined the shoreline and left a film on the water.

“I noticed when the sprinklers would run it’s the smell of sewer,” Jay Newcomer said.

Newcomer, his wife and neighbors were horrified earlier this month.

The pond in what used to be the golf course behind their home in the Highlands area of Winter Springs went from gorgeous to disgusting.

“The buzzards were everywhere, hundreds and hundreds of them, and I thought, that’s odd,” Newcomer said.

He said the birds were there because of a significant fish kill.

“We’ve never had a fish kill, we’ve never had birds leave like this and the vultures, many, many, hundreds, and the stench,” Mary McBride Newcomer said.

The residents say each day the air quality seems to improve, but there was a time, near the first of the month, it was extremely hard to breathe outside.

“Really bad, you could not come outside, I’m an asthmatic and I got sick, I was wheezing,” Mary McBride Newcomer said.

The sight of all the fish had her calling the state Department of Environmental Protection.

In an email to WESH 2 News, the DEP said Winter Springs says it was a valve malfunction, which has since been repaired. That means 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of partially-treated effluent was released which impacted a stormwater pond, which resulted in a fish kill.

“We’ve lived here 25 years and this has never happened,” Mary-McBride Newcomer said.

They fear the pond may have long-lasting damage unless something is done.

“It was a mess, so I hope they got it together,” Ray Newcomer said.

The state has sent a warning letter, the first step in possible enforcement.

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