Will Adams was getting his groceries at the Winn-Dixie off Burbank Drive Wednesday evening when he spotted something alarming in the nearby canal.

The 24-year-old Baton Rouge resident says he likes to check the concrete-lined canal that runs along Burbank and Lee drives to see if he can spot the turtles normally hanging out on logs in the waterway.

But what he found about 5:15 p.m. was something an entirely different shade of green: a florescent, neon ooze dripping out of an underground drainage pipe.

"It just looked like it couldn't have been anything good," Adams said.

Adams, an LSU student who also works in IT,, said he posted the picture on social media and someone soon gave him a Baton Rouge hazardous materials hotline number.

Turns out, not all that's neon and green is bad for the environment, Adams discovered. And, no, the turtles in the canal won't be transforming into the teenage mutant ninja variety named after a Renaissance artist.

The ooze was a tracer dye used to find leaks in sewage and storm water systems.

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Justin Hill, spokesman for the Baton Rouge Fire Department, said the agency's hazardous material team went to the canal and confirmed the green stuff is a dye occasionally used to check for leaks.

"It's a totally safe dye," he said. "It's like when they dye the river green on St. Patrick's Day up in (Chicago,) Illinois."

Mark Armstrong, city-parish spokesman, said the dye was used to determine if a cave-in at Lee Drive and Highland Road was in a sewage line or a stormwater drainage pipe.

The intersection is just north of where Burbank and Lee meet in front of Winn-Dixie, where Adams spotted the green dye on Wednesday.

The test found the leak was a stormwater line, Armstrong said.

Adams said he was glad to learn that the green dye, which looked "like something out of movie," was harmless.


Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.