AP NEWS

Feds: Bellingham farm’s waste flowed into creek, killed fish

December 4, 2019

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A Bellingham farmer has agreed to pay $6,750 to settle a federal complaint that he discharged animal waste into a restored creek, killing about 300 fish — including threatened steelhead.

NOAA Fisheries said Tuesday that Harold Carbee discharged waste into Anderson Creek during a period of at least 12 hours in May 2018. A local resident noticed the discharge and called authorities. A NOAA spokesman says the discharge happened because of equipment failure and heavy rains.

About $9 million has been spent in restoration funding for Anderson Creek, for two new bridge crossings that improve passage for threatened Puget Sound steelhead. The creek flows into the Nooksack River, a drinking water source for the city of Lynden.

The investigation found at least 300 dead fish, including 89 threatened steelhead smolts, coho salmon and other species.

Carbee did not immediately return a message seeking comment.