Paula Gumpman explains the low water levels and number of dead fish at "Butterfly Pond"
Knoxville city crews worked to remove dead fish from the pond Monday afternoon
Extreme heat led to dead fish in a South Knoxville neighborhood pond
Residents in one South Knoxville neighborhood are breathing a little easier, after city officials removed a pond-full of dead fish in the area.
"Butterfly Pond" sits in the Colonial Village neighborhood off Chapman Highway. President of the neighborhood association Paula Gumpman described the strong smell.
"Gooky and yucky and smelled quite putrid," she joked. "Really, pretty bad. "
Gumpman placed a few calls to Knoxville officials, and on Monday Knoxville city crews used a vacuum machine to remove fish from the pond.
TWRA officials say in cases like this one, the cause is often a dissolved oxygen issue common in extreme heat.
Fishery biologist John Hammonds says extreme heat and sunlight exposure causes algae to grow faster. The conditions also results in a shorter life span for the plant, which then decomposes in the water.
Hammonds says, the decomposition processes uses up the oxygen in the water that fish need to breathe.
"When there's this warm of temperatures fish are stressed as it is, and then the warmer the water the less oxygen it will hold."
He says this type of incident is not uncommon, but usually occurs later in the summer. He is confident the pond will recover.
"Once the fish are gone the algae
starts growing again and puts the oxygen right back in the water, just
like that and it'll be fine," he said.
Just hours after crews finished cleaning the pond, Gumpman noted improvement.
"Not as many dead fish," she said. "The smell is still a bit putrid but it is getting better, it will get better."