Mysterious Foam Bubbles in Tributary
Columbia Borough Code Compliance Department received a complaint this morning (9/21/2018) concerning foam bubbles and dead fish in the unnamed stream that runs downhill from the Columbia High School and across Purples Lane. An investigation by the Borough’s Public Works and Code Compliance Departments started at the storm water outfall on the hill directly below the Columbia Borough High School’s sports field house and proceeded uphill and downhill from that point. Foam bubbles were discovered at each outfall and open stream between the High School and the Susquehanna River. As a precaution, Columbia Borough promptly notified the Columbia Water Company and City of Lancaster Public Works Department of the incident. The Borough also notified the PA Department of Environmental Protection who subsequently performed an on-site investigation of the incident.
The best information available at this time is that a fire fighting foam training session last evening (9/20/2018) produced leftover foam that was washed into the parking lot storm water grates and flowed into the downhill outfall and stream.
The fish at Purples Lane were likely killed when the accumulating foam blanketed the open water of the stream at the bridge and temporarily cut off the oxygen supply to the area fish. At this time the issue appears to be resolved.
Emergency Management Coordinator
Borough of Columbia