Modesto, Stanislaus County seeing red in river thanks to dye job

You might say it's to dye for: red like a river flowing near Ripon.

“As you can imagine, the bright red color is a little alarming, so a lot of people want to know what’s going on," says Samantha Wookey, spokesperson for the Modesto Irrigation District. "We use the dye to track a herbicide that we use. We use the herbicide to kill off algae, weeds, any unwanted vegetation in our canals."

The dye job began last Thursday in a series of canals serving 58,000 acres of farmland. It takes about two days for the dye to make it through a canal. The dye then empties out into farmland.

The water treatment really is not that unusual. Other irrigation districts throughout the state, including nearby Turlock, use the dye too.

A subdivision in Riverbank is right next to one of the canals also dyed red.

Jennie Sotelo’s home is across from the canal.

She didn't see red, but saw on video what it looks like.

“I would probably get scared. Why is it red? Is it blood?" said Sotelo. "The dye that we use is non-hazardous and is not a threat to public safety or health and it's completely safe and harmless in the canals."

Knowing it's purpose, Jennie Sotelo is OK with it. The treatment will happen again in six to eight weeks.

You might just say, “live and let dye.”

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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