Blood? Ketchup? NJ company caught red-handed after waterway turns strange color
EVESHAM — The state Department of Environmental Protection has cracked the case of how a portion of the Pennsauken Creek in Evesham turned red Tuesday.
The Evesham Municipal Utilities Authority began an investigation trying to find the source of the discoloration after it was first spotted around 7 a.m. by staff at the Woodstream Waste Water Treatment Plant.
It was most noticeable in the Southern Branch of Pennsauken Creek, which breaks off the main Pennsauken Creek running from Maple Shade through Mount Laurel and ending near Route 70 in the Woodstream section of Evesham.
The utility learned that a beverage manufacturer improperly dumped red food dye into the wastewater system, which was processed at the Woodstream treatment plant.
Where did the dye come from?
Inspectors from the DEP determined the food-grade dye was discharged by a company called TopPop Packaging in Evesham. They were issued a notice of violation for "discharging a substance that caused an operational upset to the wastewater treatment plant."
Frank Locantore, director of personnel, safety and security for the utility, told 6 ABC Action News that the dye was likely dumped into a toilet or drain. TopPop is not located along the creek.
The dye should be gone within two days, the utility said.
No immediate ecological impacts have been observed at this time, according to the DEP.