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Food-Grade Colorant Released as Part of USM Chiller Plant Maintenance

Wed, 03/15/2023 - 07:47pm | By: Jim Coll

On Wednesday, March 15 around 5:45 p.m., crews from the City of Hattiesburg's Water and Sewer Department, the Fire Department and Code Enforcement were dispatched to North 21st Avenue and Quinn Street due to a report of blue water in Gordon’s Creek.

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

It was determined that during routine maintenance and testing of The University of Southern Mississippi’s water infrastructure, a food-grade colorant was released into the stormwater system. This dye is regularly used in testing for leaks in water systems and is FDA approved for human consumption.

Water samples were collected and delivered to Bonner Analytical Testing for further analysis. Preliminary data indicates that the blue substance in the water samples are consistent with the food dye.

Once lab results are complete, an additional update will be shared.