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Red Run turns Blue

November 5, 2012

Warren’s Red Run Drain takes on a strange blue-green hue

By Jim Lynch at The Detroit News
November 5, 2012 at 1:00 am

George Gemmer saw green ooze in the water in the backyard of his
mother-in-law’s home at Red Run Drain in Warren on Sunday.
The first sign that there might be a problem was the quiet.
Normally, the backyard of the house on Red Run Drive is filled
with the noises of wildlife — geese, ducks and the occasional
heron enjoying the stream that passes through the Warren neighborhood.

On Friday, however, George Gemmer went outside at his wife’s
insistence and heard nothing. The animals and birds were gone.
A quick look around showed something was wrong with the waterway.
Gemmer, 65, described it as a blue-green coloring his wife’s
family had never seen in almost a half-century of living on the property.

“She said they’d seen everything out there
— high waters and low waters,
even a huge turtle from time to time,
” Gemmer said. “But never anything like this.”

Gemmer and other locals endured a brief mystery this weekend
due to a strange coloration of the Red Run Drain near
Chicago Road between 13 Mile and 14 Mile.
Complaints led to a brief investigation by
Warren police and fire officials.
That detective work eventually led officials to trace the strange
blue color back up the stream, leading them to the nearby
General Motors Tech Center along Van Dyke.
Red Run Drain runs along the facility’s northern edge,
just above 13 Mile.

Its 330-acre campus features a 22-acre lake and,
according to Warren officials, the company decided to drain it
in preparation for the coming months of cold.

Water containing disinfectants from the lake was discharged
into Red Run Drain, according to Warren Mayor Jim Fouts.

That discharge, he said, was permitted by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The only problem — GM apparently failed to notify the city.

“They should have told us,” Fouts said on Sunday.
“We were never made aware, so I’m not pleased about that.”

General Motors officials could not be reached on Sunday,
but Fouts said he has been told that the disinfectant
turning the waters blue-green is not toxic.

That may be the case, but by Sunday afternoon,
the birds had returned to the vicinity and were keeping
clear of the stream out back.

“I don’t like the idea of anything drinking
that water right now,” Gemmer said.

From The Detroit News:

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