Passaic, N.J. officials trying to get to the bottom of why Hughes Lake has turned blue

Passaic, N.J. officials trying to get to the bottom of why Hughes Lake has turned blue

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PASSAIC, N.J. — Mysterious pollution is turning a New Jersey lake bright blue.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Wednesday, environmental investigators are running tests to determine what’s causing the change in color.

Milky blue water babbling through Passaic was a surprising sight for residents.

“I’ve been here for like three years, every day almost, and I never saw it like this,” resident Andy Larshi said.

“Kind of a different color from what we have ordinarily,” resident Raymond Dulay added.

Passaic officials were alerted at around 1 p.m. to the near-neon discoloration in the brook that leads to Hughes Lake and eventually feeds into the Passaic River.

Fire and police officials immediately closed the perimeter down as environmental investigators tried to figure out what was tainting the water.

“We’ve been able to confirm through some investigation opening up manholes into Clifton that the substance is coming from our neighboring municipality. To what extent, we’ll get information as to the origin of it. We know it’s coming from there, but not if it started from there,” Passaic Mayor Hector Lora said.

Authorities have determined that the substance is not harmful to humans or animals. The mayor said preliminary tests indicate the substance may be what’s known as DE, a sediment commonly used in pool filters.

“Even if it’s not harmful it could become potentially harmful, especially for the fish. Sometimes some of what is often referred to as grains of sand can get in their gills, they can die. A child can get in there and it can be more of an irritant or maybe the child has an allergic reaction. You should never dump into the water,” Lora said.

Crews will soon begin to flush the brook out. Authorities are hoping for rain in the coming days.

Dulay, who walks by the lake daily, said he’s worried for the water’s health.

“I love this place very much. This is an extension of my living room. Since I emigrated to the United States, this is my place, so I’m really so sad to see that situation,” Dulay said.

The mayor vowed to hold accountable whichever company or individual is responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

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