This is what turned the Cranberry Marsh Drain in Macomb County green

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Non-toxic dye was behind a Clinton Township creek turning bright green last weekend, Macomb County officials reported Monday.

The Macomb County Public Works Office and Clinton Township Fire Department were alerted around noon Sunday about the "extreme discoloration" in the Cranberry Marsh Drain near 17 Mile and Garfield, officials said in a statement.

Booms that absorb petroleum products were placed downstream and an environmental services contractor collected water samples for analysis. The Environmental Health Services division of the Macomb County Health Department checked if any dye tests were performed nearby, according to the release.

The Cranberry Marsh drain as it looked Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021.

Dye tests trace underground sanitary wastewater and storm water systems, and can be used to verify where plumbing discharges into, officials said. 

Officials learned Monday morning that the Clinton Township Water and Sewer Department had tested a sump pump in the area on Friday, using a high concentration of the dye sometimes compared to food coloring.

“The township Water and Sewer Department had the right intention as we always do," said Clinton Township Supervisor Robert Cannon. "In this case, that’s protecting the public and environment and being proactive by checking on a tip that there was an illegal sump pump connection in the area."

County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller noted how some compared the situation to the Chicago River turning green with dye for St. Patrick’s Day.

“Good intentions, but it’s the wrong holiday," she said. 

The dye entered the Clinton River on Monday and was diluting upstream county officials said.

“There’s no cause for alarm,” Miller said. “It is very good that the public actually notified us, so we appreciate the public’s help. We have zero tolerance for any contaminants in our waterways.”