Beer Spill Kills Thousands of Fish

ByABC News

G O L D E N, Colo., Aug. 26, 2000 -- An employee of Coors Brewing Co. flippedthe wrong switch and sent 77,500 gallons of beer into a creek,killing thousands of fish and prompting health warnings.

The beer, which was in fermenting tanks, washed through awastewater treatment plant before ending up in Clear Creek onFriday, said Coors spokeswoman Aimee St. Clair. The fish likelysuffocated from the alcohol — among other things — produced in thetanks.

“Somebody made a mistake,” she said. “We’re trying to trackdown how it happened so it doesn’t happen again.”

Don’t Drink the Water

The Colorado Department of Public Health advised residents toavoid contact with the creek south of the brewery because of asmall bacterial risk. The water could cause illness if consumed,said J. David Holm, director of the Water Quality Division.

Officials with the state Division of Wildlife could not give aprecise number of fish killed, but estimated it was thousands up anddown the river.

“There are probably 200 to 300 fish right here in probably a20-to 30-yard stretch,” said Scott Hoover of the wildlifedivision.

State and federal investigators have not determined whether anyfines will be levied against the company.

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