REDMOND, Wash. – On Monday, Department of Ecology scientists placed a pink dye in the Sammamish River to test the water quality.
The river does not meet state's clean water standards because the water is too warm and there's not enough oxygen for salmon and trout to breathe.
"We hope to understand the chemical and biological processes that are actually causing the water to be so warm," said Ralph Svrjcek, a Department of Ecology water quality specialist.
The Department of Ecology said the dye is not toxic and won't hurt wildlife or people. Over the next few days, expect to see scientists collecting water samples and tracking the dye plume.
Researchers hope dying the river will help them determine where the pollutants are coming from and where the river needs the most help. It could also help the Department of Ecology determine where to plant more trees to shade the river and keep the water cooler.
"We know that when these problems are occurring in the water, the fish are more susceptible to disease and sometimes even death. So for that reason, we're doing this study of the river this year to try and understand where the problems are occurring and what we do to solve them," Svrjcek said.
According to Svrjcek, there are also things people can do to help keep bacteria out of the water, such as picking up after their pets and not over-fertilizing their yards.