East Alabama creek turned red caused by ADEM testing

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) says the red water in Choccolocco Creek was from dye used for testing. (Stephen Quinn |

Audry Sprayberry couldn't believe what she saw when she walked into her backyard Tuesday. Choccolocco Creek had turned red.

“We were just amazed. I mean it was just something that you don’t see.”

Sprayberry, who lives in a house along the creek, said the water stayed red for at least an hour before it gradually went away.

“Almost like a paint spill would be the way I would describe it...honestly your first thought is blood but it was way too much for that.””

On Wednesday, fish were swimming in the creek and the water appeared normal. So what was it that caused the creek to turn red?

The "it" according to the Talladega County EMA was rhodamine dye. The Alabama Department of Environmental Managment (ADEM) confirmed it put the dye in the creek to test the flow of the water. The test was routine and the dye is not harmful to wildlife according to ADEM officials.

ADEM said it plans to use the dye to test the creek again towards the end of the summer.

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