World · August 4, 2022

Part of Pennsauken Creek in Evesham Township, New Jersey turns red after a food dye accident

EVESHAM TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) – Neighbors in Mount Laurel, New Jersey woke up stunned Tuesday morning after discovering that part of the Pennsauken Creek that ran through their backyard had turned bright red overnight.

“I’ve been here for 40 years and I’ve never seen anything up close. Looks like someone dumped 500 gallons of red paint,” said neighbor Fred Schwartz.

Helicopter 6 flew over the stream and nearby Evesham Municipal Utilities Authority and could see the bright red water running off the facility.

Rocky McGuigan, of Mount Laurel, was brave enough to trudge through the mysterious water, only to find a dead fish that left him very concerned about the creek’s wildlife.

“We have geese, ducks, deer, fox turkeys, and it’s just nice to see them have somewhere to take refuge,” he said.

After countless calls to the Environmental Protection Department and local officials, the Evesham Township Municipal Utilities Authority has revealed the origin of the red color.

“A local beverage manufacturer in one of our industrial parks has improperly discharged red dye into the wastewater treatment system,” said Frank Locantore, director of personnel, safety and security for the Evesham Municipal Utilities Authority.

The DEP says Evesham’s TopPop Packaging Co. dumped the red dye but it wasn’t dangerous.

“To get into our wastewater treatment system, it would have had to be flushed into a toilet or some kind of drain connected to the sewer system,” Locantore said.

The DEP issued TopPop with a breach notice for discharge.

Knowing the source is somewhat of a relief to Rocky and his dog Casey, but he says they won’t cool down in the creek until he’s gone.

The Municipal Utilities Authority says the red dye is expected to lighten in 24-48 hours, and they plan to test the water to make sure it’s food coloring only.

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