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(Tuesday) 9.29.15

San Diego is Turning Their Water Pink to Figure Out Where All the Shit is Coming From

Turn it pink and figure it out. Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San DiegoTurn it pink and figure it out. Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

If you live in Southern California, then you’ve heard the warnings about surfing after it rains. Because all water flows to the sea, all the shit we leave lying around flows with it. And because it rains so rarely in Southern California, it really accumulates. It’s gross, to say the least, but if you’re willing to risk ear infections, sinus infections, and even worse, it keeps the crowds down.

In an effort to understand how all of our shit–including everything from oil and condoms to tampon applicators and actual shit–ends up in the ocean, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is going to dye the water pink.

“We’re doing it for a variety of reasons, but I think one of the big reasons is to try to understand how and where and when our beaches are contaminated,” said Sarah Giddings, assistant professor at Scripps. “In Southern California we have multiple cases where beaches have to be closed. For example, maybe a sewer main breaks.”

The dye they’re using is non-toxic (a no-brainer). Approved by both the FDA and the EPA, it’s also used in studies looking at drinking water. The dye is visible for 24 hours. In those 24 hours, researchers use the dye to figure out exactly where everything is going, and where the brunt of it is coming from.

If all goes to plan, the study will help predict where things will get the grossest after a big rain, or, like they said, a sewer main rupture.

The first of three dye releases already happened a few days ago, and two more are set to happen between now and Halloween.

In the first of three tests, researchers released a bright pink dye into beach waters and track its movements along the coast.  Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San DiegoIn the first of three tests, researchers released a bright pink dye into beach waters and track its movements along the coast. Image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

 


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  • Fiona Blair

    Tsunami from Japan 2011?


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