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Neighbors hoping for answers to recent fish kill

Hundreds of dead fish are lining the shore of Blytheburn Lake in Rice Township.

MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. — The gloomy weather at Blytheburn Lake in Rice Township on Tuesday is not what is keeping people from heading out on the water.

It's all the dead fish lining the shore.

"Maybe five days ago, it all started. Fish started floating to the top. You could actually see them popping up," said someone who lives along the lake and wishes to remain anonymous.

Newswatch 16 spoke with another member of the lake association who did not want to be identified on camera who said, "This is our first year that we have ever witnessed anything this actually horrendous, very, very sad. Very sad."

"It's terrible, and the smell is unbelievable," a lakefront property owner added.

Aside from the sight and smell, residents also say they have health concerns.

"We're right on the lake, so we're thinking maybe it's going to affect our well water," explained the property owner.

Newswatch 16 reached out to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. A spokesperson there confirms the department is checking to see if an algae bloom is to blame.

A spokesperson from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says it is also investigating but says it's likely not a cause for concern.

This is called a fish kill and is pretty common. It can happen for a number of reasons that some locals say they're familiar with.

"Algae, low water, hot weather, had the same problem a few years ago at Black Lake up in New York. They had fish kill because of the weather," said Lenny Biel, who lives nearby.

Biel believes there is a chance the recent dry weather is to blame.

"I would go with the lack of oxygen overall because of the weather and the lack of rain. But this weather should help," added Biel.

When Newswatch 16 hears back from investigators with the Fish and Boat Commission, we will post an update here.

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