Cleanup at Donna Lake Continues
DONNA - Environmental Protection Agency officials estimate they've removed 1,000 fish from Donna Lake in the last three days.
"These fish are contaminated with PCBs, which are a cancer-causing agent," said EPA on-scene coordinator, Mike McAteer, "We ask people just to avoid Donna Lake and Donna canal for now until we get this all under control."
It's been more than 20 years since PCBs were found in Donna Lake. McAteer said this is the fifth fish removal done over the last several years. Crews use electroshock poles to capture the fish. Some are sent off for a chemical analysis.
The EPA official said he understands people around the Rio Grande Valley like to fish on the weekend, but he hopes everyone will take the warnings seriously and stay away.
James Sanchez is fishing in Donna Lake, away from the EPA crews. "I just bought a new reel, so I was like let me go try it out. Let's see how it works," he told us. "I just catch them, and I throw them back in the water. So as long as I don't eat it, I'm okay."
Sanchez said he's been fishing at the lake for three decades. "When I was small, my dad would bring us here, so it wasn't contaminated back then. Back then, there was a lot of fish. You would catch turtles. It was fun," he recalled.
McAteer continues his warning to fishermen. He added the EPA's goal is to remove several thousand fish from Donna Lake.
You can see the original CHANNEL 5 NEWS investigation about the contamination below.