Eco-safe dye to track wastewater discharge along St. Mary’s River
Scientists and engineers from Maryland Department of the Environment’s Shellfish Monitoring Program, together with staff from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Shellfish Sanitation Program, will begin conducting a hydrographic dye dilution study on Tuesday, Sept. 11. They will be tracking the flow and dispersion of wastewater discharging into the St. Mary’s River and the Potomac River from the Webster Field Annex Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Information collected during this study will be used by MDE to evaluate the impact of wastewater discharges on shellfish growing areas, and will help scientists determine where shellfish may be safely harvested.
There is one 12-hour dye injection pe- riod scheduled during the study. During this time, Rhodamine WT dye will be released from the Webster Field treatment plant beginning about 10 a.m. on Sept. 11 and will continue until about 10 p.m. As a result of the dye injection, portions of the lower St Mary’s River in the general vicinity of St. Inigoes Creek, as well as the Potomac River, may turn reddish in color for a brief time and will be visible from the shores along the immediate area of the wastewater treatment plant’s discharge. This dye is not harmful to people or the ecosystem, according to MDE.
For more information about MDE’s shellfish monitoring, visit https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Marylander/fishandshellfish/Pages/index.aspx.