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DEC investigating ammonia levels in Scajaquada Creek dye

Scajaquada Creek isn't the color of Frank's Red Hot anymore.

But, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will continue its probe into the release of a highly concentrated mulch dye that colored the creek red from Lancaster to Buffalo Tuesday and early Wednesday.

DEC officials said late Wednesday that the source of the spill at Superior Pallets on Walden Avenue was fully contained.

"As a precautionary measure, DEC has collected water samples to analyze for residual water quality impacts potentially caused by chemical components of the red mulch dye that stained the creek's water red," the agency stated. "While the iron-based component in the dye is considered non-toxic to humans and aquatic life, ammonia, a much smaller component in the dye's chemical makeup, can be toxic to aquatic life at higher levels."

It added: "Samples taken (Tuesday) will help to detect if there were any levels of ammonia that exceed acceptable standards."

What made Scajaquada Creek in Lancaster turn red?

The agency said there were "no observable impacts" to fish resulting from the spill.

"DEC will continue to monitor the situation and will be addressing water quality violations with the company through appropriate enforcement actions," the DEC stated.

The release began in Lancaster and quickly made its way down the creek to Depew, Cheektowaga and emerged in Buffalo's Forest Lawn early Wednesday.

Officials encouraged the public to contact the agency on its 24-hour tip line at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267) with environmental concerns.

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