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South Bay beaches dyed pink for pollution study

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IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- The ocean waters off San Diego's South Bay will appear pink Thursday morning for the second straight day as researchers at Scripps Institute of Oceanography dye the water to see how currents carry pollutants.

From Sept. 22 to Oct. 17, researchers with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jacobs School of Engineering, and Mexican agencies will dump bright pink, fluorescent dye into the ocean and track how the dye moves through a six-mile stretch from Imperial Beach to Silver Strand.

In one of three experiments, the non-toxic chemical dye will be dumped at the southern end of Playas de Tijuana in Mexico. Team members on the shore, in boats and on jet skis, will follow the pink stream, measuring its movements to figure out how pollution ebbs, flows and dilutes off the coast.

“By tracking dye released both north and south of the border, we can understand the rate of pollutant transport along the coast, how it dilutes, and learn how to develop accurate models for when it will be okay or not to go in the ocean — similar to weather models,” said Falk Feddersen, a Scripps Oceanography professor and project leader.

Researchers will be releasing the dye mid-morning with most of the vibrant color dispersing by early afternoon.

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