Contamination turns Des Moines creek red

Contamination from a nearby car wash manufacturer turned a creek near Des Moines red. Although disconcerting, The Associated Press reports that the contamination levels in the creek are low enough not to be toxic:

State environmental officials say a dye from a car wash manufacturer turned a creek red in the Des Moines area.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a red color was reported Wednesday in Little Beaver Creek downstream of Grimes. Officials say it was traced to a discharge from the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and then to Ryko Manufacturing Company Inc., also in Grimes.

The agency says Ryco, which manufactures car washes, also makes and repackages soaps and waxes. The DNR says the dye washed down a sanitary sewer at the company after repackaging products on Tuesday.

Officials say the product is not believed to be toxic at low levels. Agency specialists who checked the stream found hundreds of “live and apparently healthy” fish and frogs.