Student holding bottle of colured water from pond

(MIKE HENSEN,
The London Free Press)

They do know it’s not toxic and that it seems to be confined to a few blocks of the city.

What they don’t know is what it is that’s making some water in London blood red.

Experts from both the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the City of London are still on the trail of why the water in Ed Blake Park is crimson.

A day after the hazardous materials team of the London fire department was called to the park near Huron and Barker streets, water streaming from the north into a drainage pond and beyond is a rather gruesome shade of red.

“There’s nothing out of the ordinary other than the colour,” said ministry senior environmental officer Jason Lehouillier. “We suspect it’s a dye.”

Lehouillier added that there was no noticeable impact on fish in the stream north of the pond, saying they don’t look stressed.

Plants and other organisms seem to be doing fine, too.

“Still, we’re sending it to the lab for tests to identify it.”

He described the colour as “really unusual.”

The city’s manager of sewer operations was just as stymied. Though dye is used sometimes in building and to trace where water is flowing, Bill Watson said he’s not aware of anything the city is working on now that would explain the discolouration.

“We’re going to follow it upstream to see if we can find where it’s coming from,” he said Friday just before noon.

Jared Beneteau was the first to call authorities after hearing kids talking about it.

A student at nearby Ecole secondaire Gabriel-Dumont, he said he knew whatever was in the water could spell trouble because of training he’s taken to become a firefighter.

Beneteau called 911 and asked the fire department to check it out. Meanwhile, the school was ensuring curious students didn’t get too close to the water.

“It could be anything,” Beneteau said. “My first idea was somebody pouring a chemical down the storm drain, but now there’s too much of it for that to have happened.”

As of late Friday afternoon, Lehouillier, Watson and their teams were trying to trace the source with no firm explanation as to why the water is red. They even had a mini-camera to poke into storm sewers to find the source, but to little avail.