Placerville’s Hangtown Creek turns neon green

Placerville residents witnessed what resembled a scene from a sci-fi movie Wednesday afternoon when a local creek turned neon green.

News of the tinted waterway made its way to city officials after a concerned community member reported about 2:30 p.m. that Hangtown Creek, which cuts across the city, had changed to a bright green color, said Cleve Morris, Placerville city manager.

Morris said the source of the creek’s new hue was tracked to a U.S. Coast Guard sea pack found near Smith Flat Road in the eastern part of the city. The sea packs are made of non-toxic dye and are used when members of the agency want to mark an area of the ocean so it is clearly visible, Morris said. Similar dye packs can be bought online.

Morris said the nontoxic dye posed no threat to the environment or citizens. The dye had dissipated by 5:15 p.m. the same day, said Steve Youel, the city’s director of community services.

The Placerville Police Department is investigating who deployed the sea pack, Morris said.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets