Chiefland sink goes pink to track water's trek

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Scientists contracting with the state began tests on a Chiefland sinkhole Monday morning to determine what happens to the water entering the rocky crevasse. “It’s never been done before,” Pete Butt, project manager for Karst Environmental Services Inc., one of the companies working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on the project, said. Butt said similar projects have taken place all over the state, and he hopes the test, which involved pouring a pinkish dye called Rhodamine into the mouth of the sink, will help scientists figure out what this particular sinkhole connects to, the length of time it takes water to travel through it to a destination and the amount of water that ends up at that destination. “It’s a significant drainage feature in Chiefland,” he said. “ It’s got three to four street drainage culverts draining into it. And, as far as we can tell, it goes straight into groundwater.” Sally Lieb, park manager for Manatee Springs State Park, observed the testing. She said the springs are one of the areas being monitored for traces of the dye.

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