Construction drains family’s pond, kills fish

A DeKalb County family's pond was drained during nearby construction, killing fish.

CORUNNA, Ind. (WANE) Construction in DeKalb County caused devastating damage to one family’s property.

The county was working on drains near the property of Matt Smith’s brother. The area, spanning about 20 acres, was drained killing thousands of fish.

“It’s a disaster,” Smith said.

Smith said about two weeks ago the county started working on a drain near the property.

“They informed me that they had all the permits and everything necessary to do this and to fix this drain,” Smith said.

Then late last week Smith said the water level started to go down and work was stopped. However, Monday crews were at work again and Smith said they dug out the bank wall, draining the entire area. Officials working on the project weren’t available for an interview Friday, but told us the bank wall was washed out and there was no stopping the water.

“It wasn’t down this low until they starting connecting this all up and then it really broke loose,” Smith said. “Everything is a mess. The smell, the odor. A lot of fish have gone down the stream or down the drain and are now heading on their way. You’ve got dead fish and pollutants from decaying fish.”

The county said they’re working to fix the problem. A device that will regulate water levels will be installed next week. Once it’s in place the wetlands should fill back up with water. In the future, that device will keep the water levels steady to prevent flooding and expansion of the wetlands.

Smith said they want compensation for the mess left behind.

“For all the dead fish and the destruction of the wetlands,” Smith said.