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Pink Coloring of Water Discharging into Clear Creek Resolved 

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Pink Coloring of Water Discharging into Clear Creek Resolved 


For Immediate Release: March 15, 2023 

Contact: Andrew Marsh, City Administrator (303) 567-4421, 


During daily water sampling the morning of March 13, the City of Idaho Springs Water Resource Reclamation Facility staff discovered an unusual pink coloring in the treated water discharging into Clear Creek.  Internal samples at the Facility were analyzed, and no abnormal results were found.  Samples were also taken and sent to an outside laboratory for further analysis.  

The incident was immediately reported by City staff to personnel at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) 24-hour spill hotline.  The Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office was also notified and issued an alert to users downstream of the Facility.  Notifications will continue to be sent to users until the pink coloring is absent from the discharge. 

In cooperation with CDPHE, the City initiated an investigation to determine the cause of the pink coloring that was introduced into the Facility from the municipal sewer collection system.  Further, while no adverse biological impacts have been observed in Clear Creek, staff will continue to monitor the situation. 

As a result of its investigation, the City discovered on March 14 that a local business had accidentally discharged 20 gallons of concentrated dye into the municipal sewer collection system that caused the pink color in the treated water.  The dye had been intermittently released into the system starting on March 12 and was stopped on March 14 around 9:00 a.m. when City staff discovered the source of the discoloration.  The pink color in the treated water discharging from the Water Resource Reclamation Facility is expected to continue until the dye completely passes through the sanitary sewer system. 

According to ongoing internal testing and observations, the dye does not appear to have caused any interruption to the biological treatment operation at the Facility nor to have had any adverse biological impact on Clear Creek.