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What’s in the water? Dye turns Flat Creek green

JACKSON, Wyo. — Last Friday, bright green water pumped out of the storm drain into Flat Creek for about an hour.

Following an investigation by Town of Jackson engineers and mechanics and the Teton Conservation District, the source was found to be a non-toxic dye solution.

According to Town of Jackson Director of Public Works, Floren Poliseo, Fish Creek Excavation was working on a project at Kudar Motel and was trying to meet a pressure test on the water main.

“An employee did a dye test on the water main to meet a pressure test. The water main flushes into the storm drain which flushes into the creek,” Poliseo said.

As reports began flooding in of a neon green substance in Flat Creek, Teton Conservation District went to the site to investigate the potential contamination and was able to rule out algae. With no sheen to the water, antifreeze or radiator fluid was also ruled out, explained Poliseo.

The town of Jackson Water Manager, John Ryan figured out the source to be green dye after calling around to local contractors.

“Specifically, I can’t say there is absolutely nothing toxic in the dye because I don’t know exactly what dye product they used but it is not nearly as concerning as something like antifreeze,” said Poliseo.

Adding, “The dyes that are on the market that most municipalities use are pretty benign. They look scary because they are glowing green but they are much safer for the environment than years ago,” Poliseo said.

Fish Creek Excavation was told to never do this again without advanced authorization but the scenario raises the question of water regulation, something public works has been working on for over a year, explained Poliseo.

“We don’t currently have any ordinances in place but we have been working on a request for proposal (RFP) for over a year to create a stormwater management program for the town. We already had things like this in mind to address these types of situations,” Poliseo said.

The stormwater management program will create a permitting process for companies and address fees for violations.

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