Stream appears discolored

Ohio EPA and Erie Co. Soil and Water Conservation District monitoring it
Alex Green
Mar 30, 2014


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.



Adding limestone to water in order to neutralize it is known as "liming." When limestone is added to ponds and lakes, it has the effect of adding calcium and protecting the water from becoming too acidic. The benefit of limestone in this situation is that is restores and helps to maintain the ecology of the water and makes it supportive of aquatic life. It is also an inexpensive method of slowing down acidification. Scientists have used liming to bring dead lakes and streams back to life after they suffered the onslaught of acid rain. While liming is not a permanent solution to the problem of increased pH, it does help to prevent the damage caused by acid rain. Limestone has helped restore lakes in which life had already been obliterated by acidification.

Effects on Aquatic Life
Another of the effects and benefits of limestone is that is lowers the poisonous effects of toxic metals such as lead, cadmium, zinc and nickel which endanger both fish and human health. Liming can help the survival rate of aquatic life by not only neutralizing water that is too acidic, but by lowering the amount of metals dissolved in the water. Crayfish and mussels use the calcium provided by limestone to develop the shells that protect them. Calcium provided by limestone is also essential for the formation of scales in adult fish as well as the development of bone.

Protecting Soils
Adding limestone to acidic soils has a protective benefit as it helps to protect the soils from sudden changes in pH. Limestone is sprinkled on lawns and added to pastures, crops and gardens to provide the nutrient calcium while at the same time lowering the acidity of the soil.

Short-Term Effects
When limestone is added to water, it may create cloudiness and reduce the clarity of the water. This effect is due to the limestone particle that are suspended in the water. Another short-term effect is that as phosphorous is released from the mud at the bottom of the lake, so there will be an increase in the plant life in the lake or pond.

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Stop It

Whomever treated that water should tell everyone whose property it runs through what they did, though.


As to the short term affects, we certainly don't need to add phosphorous to lake Erie -- algae.


Where do you get phosphorus from a limestone discharge?


From Holysee's post above,

"Another short-term effect is that as phosphorous is released from the mud at the bottom of the lake, so there will be an increase in the plant life in the lake or pond."

4-wheeler al

water pump out of parker town quarry. off of strecker rd. into pipe creek at strecker rd and rt.4


The pond at OVH looks the same way, like watered down milk.