IDEM inspecting 200-gallon spill of blue dye into city sewers

Sandbags line South Clinton Street where blue dye leaked into the city's sewer system after 200 gallons spilled.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has responded to a major spill of dye into the city’s sewer system.

According to notification from the office, roughly 200 gallons of Acid Blue No. 9 dye was spilled around Wallace and Clinton streets on Friday, some which leaked into a nearby storm sewer. NewsChannel 15 learned the spill occurred by Sanco Industries at 1819 S. Calhoun St. The company is a specialty chemical manufacturer of pond and lake products.

A representative from the company told NewsChannel 15 that a barrel of blue dye, similar to the green vegetable dye the city uses to dye the river’s green over St. Patrick’s Day, had spilled. Barry Sneed, IDEM’s public information officer, said a forklift punctured a tote that held barrels of the dye.

Since, officials have closed a lane of Clinton Street in the area since Friday, with sandbags laid out to contain the spillage.

The Maumee River is shown Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
The Maumee River is shown Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

IDEM said Tuesday a cleanup process is underway, which includes flushing out the affected storm sewer that drains into the Maumee River. Emergency response officials with IDEM, the Allen County Health Department, Fort Wayne Fire Department, Fort Wayne Public Works and private industry cleanup experts have worked at the site to mitigate the impact, the notification from IDEM reported.

Officials said as a result of the spill, the Maumee River may appear with a blue tint until the dye is diluted and moves downstream.

It would take as many as three days until the dye is fully diluted, officials said.

Safety officials said if residents come in contact with the water, they should wash with water and mild soap. The dye should have no harmful health effects to humans or wildlife, officials said.

Sneed said the agency’s enforcement staff would review its emergency response actions to determine if the violations require enforcement action against Sanco.

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