Gordon’s Creek gets an unexpected dye job Wednesday

A dye spill discolors Gordon's Creek
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:49 AM CDT
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From The City of Hattiesburg Department of Communications

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A food-grade colorant from a University of Southern Mississippi lab inadvertently was released into the City of Hattiesburg’s storm water system Wednesday evening.

The result: Reports of a blue substance in waterways near the university’s Hattiesburg campus, including Gordon’s Creek.

This dye is regularly used in testing for leaks in water systems and is FDA-approved for human consumption.

It is not expected to be a danger to Hattiesburg residents or USM student, faculty, staff and others.

As part of routine testing of a chiller plant at the Walker Science Building, dye accidentally spilled onto the floor and into a storm drain.

When the chiller plant started up, the dye ran into the drain system, and mixing with water, it was activated.

Around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, crews from the City of Hattiesburg Water and Sewer Department, Fire Department and Department of Code Enforcement were dispatched to 21st Avenue to investigate a reported unknown blue substance in the waterway.

Due to the flow of the creek and to definitively help determine the type of substance, Forrest County Emergency Management was also deployed.

Water samples were collected and delivered to Bonner Analytics for further testing. Preliminary data indicates that the blue substance in the water samples is consistent with the food dye.

Additional analyses will be conducted Thursday.

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