Waters near Whidbey Island will be dyed red for wastewater study

Waters near Whidbey Island will be red on Monday as officials will be adding dye to the water for a study that will evaluate safety of Oak Harbor shellfish. 

The Washington State Department of Health said it will be working from Sept. 9-14 to study the wastewater movement near the Oak Harbor Clean Water Facility and its impacts on nearby shellfish growing areas. 

Scientists will add the red dye to treated wastewater from the facility Monday morning and will be visible for about 24 hours.

The dye, which is fluorescent dye rhodamine, is non-toxic and the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved dye that is not harmful to people, marine life, or the environment.

The study will evaluate the facility's potential and impact on the Saratoga Passage and Penn Cove growing areas, officials said. 

 This study was scheduled for 2019 but was delayed because of technology and then the COVID-19 pandemic.