Tequila Spill Causes Fish Kill in Ayotlan

Authorities reported that tons of dead fish have been removed from a reservoir in Ayotlan, Mexico after a suspected tequila waste spill.

Orión Flores, Director of Attention to Socio-Environmental Conflicts for the State of Jalisco Environmental Protection agency,  said Wednesday that 60 to 80 tons of dead fish had already been removed from the reservoir but the die-off could go on for days because there was significant aquaculture there.

Local media reports said that millions of gallons of a residue known as vinasse, created from the distillation of tequila, spilled into Las Animas Creek that empties into the reservoir.

Ayotlan Mayor Rodolfo Hernández blamed the Altos Residual Water Treatment plant for allowing the spill to happen and for not cleaning it up quickly enough.

“The damage is irreparable and serious,” Hernández said.

Meanwhile, researcher Aldo Castañeda Villanueva said that many of the tequila producers who need to seek licenses for their vinasse to be put in the ground, in supposedly controlled land, just “cool it, allow it to settle and then dump it in rivers, reservoirs, the sea.”

The state environmental agency, territorial development office, state water commission, and the environmental prosecutor’s office said they would regularly monitor the reservoir and stream’s water to determine what could aid in its cleanup. 

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