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Stream appears discolored

Alex Green • Mar 30, 2014 at 3:30 PM

A section of Pipe Creek near Sulphur Brook has looked a bit like a Willy Wonka creation over the past three days.

The water has a whitish, murky hue to it where the brook flows into the creek.

The Ohio EPA has been monitoring the unnatural shades along with the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District, watershed coordinator Breann Hohman said.

The EPA has not commented, but the conservation district does not believe the discoloration is a dangerous threat.

Hohman said the cause is still unknown, but she believes a discharge pump from nearby Wagner Quarry is releasing bits of disintegrated limestone.

“We’re still not sure but that’s the most likely candidate,” she said. “This is sometimes consistent with mining”

If limestone is the cause, the minerals would not pose a threat to the Sandusky Bay, where the water ultimately feeds into. But it could alter the spring spawning season for fish exposed to it, Hohman said. “There’s a concern from a resource standpoint,” she said. “Anytime we get water changing, it could (impact) the spring spawning season for fish” The water is not discolored throughout the creek, just areas near Sulphur Brook. It is clear closer to Columbus Avenue and south. Hohman said the EPA was unavailable for comment Friday.

The EPA has jurisdiction over the unusual situation and other tainted water cases throughout the state.

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