Grover dye spill makes river run red

Published 12:41 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The red color was caused by a nontoxic dye discharging from Grover Industries, according to Grover Plant Manager Gary Semel.

Semel says red dye is spilling into the Pacolet River and the plant is taking every measure possible to correct the problem but it will take some time for it to subside.

Semel says the plant is permitted to discharge dye and it is not toxic or environmentally harmful.

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&dquo;It&squo;s fairly normal for us to discharge color, but not red,&dquo; Semel said. &dquo;It&squo;s not toxic in any way. It poses no threat to the environment.&dquo;

The Tryon Fire Department received a call about the river on Monday evening around 7:30 p.m., according to Tryon Fire Chief Joey Davis.

He said he understands it is the first time the fire department has ever had a call for anything involving Grover. Davis said Polk County Emergency Management personnel Sandra Halford and Michael Crater were also on the scene Monday evening and spoke with the N.C. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Grover&squo;s plant manager.

Davis says that state officials were scheduled to visit Tuesday afternoon to test the river to check that it is not in violation of Grover&squo;s permits.

Davis said the exact amount of red dye spilled is unknown, and the fire department is waiting for the state to indicate whether there&squo;s a problem with the spill.

Officials say residents made many calls to the dispatch services for Tryon and the county to alert officials about the red river.

Davis said some residents have expressed concern about animals drinking from the river and potential harm to nearby vegetation, such as tomato fields that are about to be planted in the area.

Grover Industries is located between Clarence Rhodes Road and Capps Road in Lynn. Grover is a package dyer industry for yarn, primarily for home furnishings.