A river in Russia’s Arctic city of Norilsk mysteriously turned blood-red on Tuesday, puzzling locals and prompting authorities to launch an investigation.
Казни египетские. Норильск, река Купец вблизи завода “Надежда”. pic.twitter.com/X3Oc2wtfRq
— Юрий Мережко (@yoorashka) September 7, 2016
Russian authorities fear that a Pipeline may have broken as the Daldykan river in Siberia runs close to nickel-producing factory.
Russia’s Natural Resources and Environment ministry confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that it was investigating reports of river pollution “with an unidentified chemical substance,” saying there could have been an accident at the Norilsk Nickel plant, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium.
The plant’s administration however has denied the allegations according to the Guardian:
Norilsk Nickel denied an industrial spill into the Daldykan and said the “colour of the river today doesn’t differ from its usual condition”, the state news agency RIA Novosti reported. But the company said it was temporarily reducing manufacturing work while it monitored the situation.
The Norilsk mayor’s office said the city’s water supply came from other sources.
According to Denis Koshevoi, a PhD candidate at the Vernadsky Institute for Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, who is researching pollution in the area, Norilsk Nickel pumps chemical solutions from Nadezhda to a nearby tailings dam via pipes. It also pumps metal concentrates from ore mills to Nadezhda, he said.
“Periodically there are accidents when these pipes break and the solutions spill and get into the Daldykan – that’s why it changes colour,” Koshevoi told the Guardian.