Red dye pours into Peters Creek in Winston-Salem after pipe busts near dye tank

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The City of Winston-Salem Stormwater Division along with the fire department and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality were called to Hanes Dye and Finishing on Tuesday morning.

Hanes employees reported a leak from a dye tank at the Northwest Boulevard plant. Workers were able to catch the accidental spill, but some of the biodegradable dye made its way to a storm drain that empties into Peters Creek.

Pedro Martinez works near the plant. He couldn't believe the dye turned the creek dark red.

"I was driving and I can see the creek from my van. The creek was red. I thought, 'What is going on here?'" Martinez said.

Hanes officials say the dye doesn't contain any hazardous substances or present an environmental risk.

While the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality said they found four to five dead fish, field testing said the water isn't dangerous.

At its height, about a mile of Peters Creek was red. But by the early afternoon, Martinez says the creek was returning to its normal color.

"It looks better. It's still a little red. But not like this morning. It was red like blood," he said.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says its too early to say if Hanes Dye and Finishing will be fined over the accidental release.

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