It’s St. Patrick’s Day: How Do They Turn the Water Green?

It’s St. Patrick’s Day: How Do They Turn the Water Green?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here at Pool Fence DIY, we spend our time discussing pool safety, water safety, swimming tips and more. Since today is a holiday, let’s take some time to talk about a different kind of water. In several major cities across the country, there’s something extra festive in the water. Today, let’s learn how they turn the water green!

Why Green Water?

As most of us know, green is the official color of St. Patrick’s Day due to its association with Ireland. Therefore, it just makes sense to dye the water green on this festive day. As long as it’s safe, plenty of folks enjoy the temporary change in tint for the local waterways.

Each city has its own tradition and history for this specific “decoration.” From Washington, D.C. to Indianapolis and Tampa, plenty of cities join in on the emerald-colored fun. So, let’s take a closer look at one city in particular, possibly the one most famous for turning its water green: Chicago, Illinois.

How Does Chicago Turn the Water Green?

Chicago began this great annual tradition back in 1962, but it actually stems from a practice that began even earlier. The Chicago River had a serious sewage and pollution problem, and then-Mayor Richard J. Daley was looking for a solution. A plan was hatched to discover the source of the pollution. It would require green dye to be poured into the water, in specific areas. The goal was to help spot places where waste was being dumped.

According to history, an idea struck the City’s leaders when this dye was in the water: If they could dye spots of water… why not the whole river? With this, the plan to turn the water green was forged.

Each year on St. Patrick’s Day, 25 pounds of temporary dye would be dumped into the river. It would provide several hours of bright green water.

The Dye is Environmentally Safe

Of course, this plan wasn’t always as safe as it should have been. In the early days, the dye was actually worse for the environment than the original pollution.

Fortunately, times have changed. Since 1966, the river has been turned green using an secret environmentally safe formula. No outsiders know exactly what is in this dye formula, but it is now a safe, powdered, vegetable-based dye.

With that said, we still don’t recommend drinking the water. That goes for river water and pool water, no matter what color it may be!

When it comes to dying the water, each city has its own history. To learn more, here’s a great article from USA Today.

St. Patrick’s Day Safety

Finally, let’s talk about some basic safety tips for anyone celebrating. Remember that COVID-19 is still a threat, so be sure to stay safe.

Beyond that, be sure to have a designated driver. Just like drinking and swimming, alcohol and driving do not mix. Drink plenty of water and keep a close eye on your friends or family. In case things get out of hand, be sure to have an alternate plan, such as a hotel or car on call. In the end, St. Patrick’s Day is a lot of fun, but too much reveling can be dangerous if not treated with responsibly and respect.

Have a green and lovely day, everyone!