MILLCREEK, Utah — Residents and their pets were warned Friday to stay out of a stream in the Millcreek area due to a hazardous concrete spill.
The spill, which has been stopped, occurred Thursday in the Mill Creek Stream west of Interstate 215 to at least 500 East.
"It is imperative that humans and pets stay out of the water and away from Mill Creek Stream," the Utah Department of Transportation tweeted.
Officials say the spill has increased pH levels, which can cause skin irritations. The foamed concrete caused a discoloration of the water.
"Our top priority right now is the health and well-being of the people that live in this area, the people come out here and recreate," said UDOT spokesperson John Gleason, who added that the spill will be cleaned up within a week.
The Salt Lake County Health Department says anyone who comes in contact with the stream water should flush their skin and contact a healthcare provider if there is any irritation.
A concrete spill in Mill Creek Stream west of I-215 to at least 700 East has increased PH levels which can cause skin irritations. It is imperative that humans and pets stay out of the water and away from Mill Creek Stream.— Utah DOT (@UtahDOT) July 30, 2021
There is no danger to drinking water as its system is completely different from the stormwater system, according to Samantha Heusser with the Utah Division of Water Quality.
An investigation into the spill is underway, along with the environmental damage it caused.
"We're working to understand the environmental impacts of this spill. Right now, what we do know is that there has been a fish kill and we don't know the magnitude yet," said Ashley Sumner of the Department of Environmental Quality.
Health officials are telling people to not eat any fish caught in the area of the concrete spill.
Patrick Fink, an emergency room doctor who lives in the area, posted photos to social media Thursday showing dead fish in the creek. He said a nearby road was closed as the construction company responsible for the spill tried to clean the stream.
In his post, Fink claimed there were no barriers in place before the spill occurred.
7-year old James Nalder and his 8-year old neighbor Peter Linford, who love to spend time playing in the creek and fishing from it, said they saw a bunch of dead fish Thursday. The two boys took video of the fish, and tried to pick one up.
The two boys stayed out of the water, but said they counted 15 dead fish in front of them.
David Nalder said his son came up and told him about the dead fish, and it left all the neighbors wondering what happened. Friday afternoon, he received a notice on his door explaining the concrete spill and urging his family to keep out of the water.
He said it's sad to see all the dead fish, and he wondered how long it'll take for the creek to bounce back.
"I want to know what next steps are to make it better?" Nalder asked. "How are they going to plant fish? How do we get it back to the way it was?"
The spill occurred at a site that is part of the I-80/I-215 reconstruction project that involves new bridges and the resurfacing of the highway.