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Town Run Blues

By Staff | Aug 9, 2013

Police Chief David Ransom described it as an emerald green color.

West Virginia Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) Inspector Michael Kanehl reported that it appeared bright blue.

By all accounts, something was fishy with Town Run late Sunday evening and Monday morning, when the state inspector arrived to assess the water’s unusual appearance.

According to the police chief a report was made to dispatch at 9:20 p.m. claiming “water discoloration,” in Shepherdstown’s Town Run.

Officer Matt Harper responded to the call, along with Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department staff, who all stood by at the run, where it passes behind the Shepherdstown Library in the center of town.

According to Officer Harpers report, fire department Chief Ross Morgan physically tracked the glowing water throughout town looking for a source of contamination.

Harper said Morgan tracked the water to the home of a local resident living off of Morgan’s Grove Road, just outside of downtown Shepherdstown.

Fire Department Chief Morgan determined that the resident, whose named has not been released, was responsible for the runs dyed appearance, as he had dumped a product called “Aqua Shade,” into a pond on his own property. which feeds into the run.

“It’s used to kill algae,” Police Chief Ransom explained during an interview Monday.

Kathy Cosco, spokesperson for the DEP, said Inspector Kanehl made further determinations during his investigation Monday morning.

He reported that no fish had been killed by the chemical and therefore, no immediate risk to public safely was apparent.

Cosco described the pollutant as something DEP officials call a “slug,” that moves slowly through streams before being poured into larger waterways.

“The stream assimilates that chemical into it,” she said.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do about it,” she said.

Cosco said the inspector did not indicate that any action would be taken against the resident responsible for using the acid based dye.

“At least the Aqua Shade is something that is typically used,” she said.

Cosco said typically a fine is issued in cases where water is found to be highly contaminated, and no fine had been issued in this instance.

Chief Ransom echoed the water’s relative safely following the events.

“According to the water superintendent (Chris Hutzler) there was never any threat to the water at all,” he said.

According to the chief, Shepherdstown’s drinking water was not affected by the contaminant.