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Colorado town solves mystery after sewage turns light pink

A pollution mystery that confounded a Colorado town has been solved.

Officials in Idaho Springs, about 32 miles west of Denver, discovered earlier this week that the sewage had turned a light pink hue. The problem did not directly affect the city’s drinking water, but was detected during daily testing of treated water being discharged into nearby Clear Creek.

“The source of the pink coloration is unknown”, the city said at the time. “Internal samples at the (water treatment facility) were tested and found no abnormal results. Samples were also taken and sent to an external laboratory.

Out of an abundance of caution, alerts have been sent to community members living downstream of the wastewater plant.

The city soon discovered that there was a non-toxic cause. A local company accidentally dumped 20 gallons of concentrated pink dye into the sewer system, causing the “unusual pink coloration.”

The Water Resources Recovery Center said the phenomenon would continue until the dye was completely removed from the system. Treatment plant staff said they had not noticed any biological abnormalities in Clear Creek due to the pink water.

“Based on ongoing internal testing and observations, the dye does not appear to have caused any disruption to the biological treatment operation at the facility or to have had any adverse biological impact at Clear Creek.” the city said Wednesday.

However, they promised that the situation would continue to be monitored.

A similar near miss occurred in Arizona on Wednesday night, when a freight train carrying corn syrup derailed in Mohave County, near the state’s borders with California and Nevada. Although eight cars went off the track, none of the corn syrup was spilled.

However, a Thursday derailment in Washington state could turn out to be much more than an ecological disaster after a BNSF train spilled 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel on the Swinomish Reservation near Anacortes.

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