Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 01/18/2008 - 17:03.

YOU ARE THE BEST REPORTER IN NEO -  YOU HAVE informative and educational NEWS!


So here’s a story which I stumbled upon which is an example of what I call “original content” reporting:    


I had taken a trip to the Shaker Lakes Regional Nature Center with Tucker (the dog) only to find that Tucker (the dog) wasn’t  invited onto the grounds.    The Nature Center suggests that dogs, bikes, should avoid the sanctuary.   So I went for a walk around the perimeter of the Nature Center and poked about into some of the woods where dogs weren’t rejected..  


We went here and there, avoiding the grape vines which went to the top of 60 foot trees -but which must have taken root decades ago when the trees weren’t there   Grape vines don’t take root under mature hardwoods.  Grape vines take root in open fields and grow up neck and neck with the hardwoods.   If a maple is 60 feet high/60 years old and is festooned with a grape vine, that vine is 60 years old too. 


Tucker sniffs everything, his nose being much more receptive than his eyes, I think. 


Then my eyes saw a lurid chartreuse phosphorescent green in the small stream (photo above)


The color seemed heavier than the water, sitting in the bottom of the depressions in the stream.


Antifreeze?  Ethylene Glycol?  Antifreeze is sugary tasting, and if ingested by animals is deadly.  Antifreeze may be used in solar heating systems or other HVAC systems. I thought maybe someone had a antifreeze loop at their house upstream and had, for some reason, dumped the antifreeze in the storm drain.


Cell phoning, I contacted the SLRNCenter and left a message.  Moments later a call came back.


Laura was on the case. 


Bring sample jars I suggested.



Here’s what took place after that:


Lara  came and took a look and substantiated that there was radical chartreuse.


Lara called the Shaker Heights fire department. 


The fire department arrived, confirmed the color extreme, and mentioned that the North East Ohio Region Sewer District  used dyes to test for sewer leaks.


They called NEORSD and were told that no dye testing was in progress in Shaker.


Next, the fire department began to go door to door up the drain pipe from the stream, asking if anyone had used a dye to do testing of their storm or sewer systems. 


 Low and behold the fire department reps knocked on a door where someone was heads up and said yes! We’ve had a plumbing problem and we did use dye. 


Apparently the dye is non-toxic.  When I returned a week later, there was no trace of dye in the stream.


When you travel your neighborhood, don’t hesitate to believe that what you observe and find interesting or controversial or important – very likely is interesting, controversial and important.  Get to the bottom of your story – let your community know what you see and think.   Your reporting will improve your community and your environment.


Additionally, with Google searching every story on the internet, your reporting can help others in similar situations in the future.   If you see any problem or circumstance you don't fully understand, Google it.  Chances are, someone has blogged or posted about that problem or situation and you will find an answer on-line ASAP.    This blog post may help others in the future who find green dye in their stream. 


Hat’s off to Shaker Heights for their successful forensic efforts.

Dye-in-stream-P1140875.jpg72.24 KB

KIDS carry this

"When you travel your neighborhood, don’t hesitate to believe that what you observe and find interesting or controversial or important – very likely is interesting, controversial and important. "

KIDS, it looks like, not only do we carry a camera everywhere, we will have to start carrying a sample jar! 

Jeff, Lincoln West and Rhodes High School have some top-notch science teachers--this would make for great RealNEO lab work!

someone should pay you for this Jeff

I think enough is said in the title of this post and is evidenced in Jeff's blog. Your reporting is getting better and better (and your spelling is improving, too). You make most newspapers look like kindergarten reporting exercises. Go Jeff!

Now, who in the world will pay for this sort of reporting? Inquiring minds want to know...

Dye in Greywater

Very interesting story. I know some greywater systems add dye to the water to distinguish it and make it visible if it comes to the surface. I suggest you keep an eye on this spot to see if the dye returns.

Disrupt IT

Seen this dye before

Now that I look back at your photo... I saw color like this flowing into the Chagrin River at the bridge in Chagrin Falls once and wondered if it was antifreeze runoff. For the sake of public information, it would be interesting to get a plumber to explain appropriate situations where we may see legal dye in waterways, to distinguish that from dangerous runoff, etc. Anyone know about such things?

Disrupt IT

Fluorescein Dye

Is used in the concentrated form (powder) for water tracing. It is only a fraction of percent of the formula when it is used in antifreeze. So, if you see it in some location other than in your driveway or a parking lot, chances are that someone is using it for dye tracing. it is very useful in the tracing of water as it is still visible down to about 25 parts per million.

Hope that helps...