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Second Massive Fish Kill Prompts Investigation

April 30, 2004

A massive fish kill in the San CarlosRiver last weekend has prompted aninvestigation by the Judicial InvestigativePolice (OIJ) and the Prosecutor forEnvironmental Crimes to determine thecause of the deaths, La Nación reported.The kill is the second in six months inthe river. Last October, sediment releasedfrom the recently built Peñas Blancashydroelectric dam asphyxiated thousandsof fish, damage that environmentalistscalled “irreparable” (TT, Feb. 20).The Costa Rican Electricity Institute(ICE) accepted responsibility for that killand has presented a plan to repair thedamage, which has yet to be approved bythe Prosecutor for Environmental Crimes,La Nación reported.In the recent case, the cause of thedeaths is thought to be an explosion from asugar plant called Quebrada Azul, 13 kilometersnorth of Ciudad Quesada. Officialsspeculate that some 500,000 kilograms ofmolasses spilled into the river when a tankexploded last Friday night.Area residents reported a strong sweetsmell from the water and said they startedto see fish floating around 4 p.m. onSaturday, La Nación reported.“On the path we’re headed, we’renever again going to see a fish in thisriver,” said Carlos Ramírez, an arearesident.

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