State Investigating if Any Laws Were Broken By Putting Dye on Lake Delton

The state is trying to decide if local officials broke the law by putting a light blue dye on the surface of Lake Delton. Donna Gilson of the state Agriculture Department tells the Baraboo News-Republic that an investigation has been going on for several weeks. They’re trying to determine if the dye is the equivalent of a pesticide – but the company which applied the dye said it’s not a pesticide, and therefore it did not need state approval to apply it. The Village Board in Lake Delton hired the firm of Aquatic Engineering in early July to put 500 gallons of aqua blue dye onto the lake at a cost of 29-thousand dollars. Officials were trying to control algae blooms in the midst of the drought – and the company’s Josh Britton said using the dye was about the only practical solution left. State investigator Mark McCloskey told the Baraboo paper that any chemical that’s used to control living organisms is considered a pesticide. But Britton of Aquatic Engineering calls that definition a stretch. And he said it’s a “very slippery slope” to consider putting water-on-water “pesticidal,” just because it controls something. Gilson says it might take a few months to complete the state’s investigation – and any penalties will be determined after that.