The Story Behind Dyeing the Chicago River Green

Photo Credit: Twitter/Yoder Productions
Coloring the Chicago River green for St Patrick’s Day is a long time tradition.

Did you know that this colorful custom was started by accident?

Fifty-five years ago, Chicago plumbers poured 100 lbs of an oil-based fluorescein to reveal where some illegal dumping was coming from.  The whole river went green.  Pretty festive, but probably not super eco-friendly.

Today, the yearly tradition is still sponsored by the local plumbers union, but now vegetable dye is used instead, which is much better all around!

The EPA-approved dye keeps the river green for approximately five hours.

Would you get in the water?  LOL