DNREC to conduct dye test in Murderkill River & Delaware Bay this week
Portions of the Delaware Bay and Murderkill River and St. Jones Rivers will be turned reddish in color this week.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Delaware Shellfish Program is conducting a week-long water quality study to evaluate oyster beds.
“This was a great opportunity for the State of Delaware to work in conjunction with the Kent County Levy Court and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct this hydro-dynamic dye study,” said DNREC’s shellfish program manager Michael Bott.
Bott is conducting the dye study, “To look at the water flow and dilution that occurs in the Murderkill River and the Delaware Bay. And we’re going to be assessing emergency situations that could occur from the Kent County Wastewater Treatment Plant (near Frederica) and looking at the water flow and hydrology into the Delaware Bay and how this could impact shellfish beds.”
He says this type of study is not done often; in fact, Bott says this is the first time DNREC is doing a full-scale hydro-dynamic study specifically assessing shellfish beds in Delaware.
Bott says there will be an engineering team with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assisting the state with the study and it is funding this project.
Bott says weather permitting, dye applications are planned late Tuesday night and will continue until around noon on Wednesday.
He stresses that the dye is non-toxic but could stain skin or clothing.
Bott says the extent of the water discoloration could be fairly widespread but should disperse within 48 hours.
You can find out more information about Delaware's Shellfish Program here.