Reddy steady flow: Slurry leak from factory blamed as river turns crimson

An investigation is under way after a river running through a Russian city turned bright red. Pictures of the crimson-coloured Daldykan River have been posted widely online since it changed colour on Tuesday. The incident is being blamed on a leaking slurry pipeline carrying waste copper-nickel concentrate to the Arctic city of Norilsk. Scientists advised that the water would be potentially toxic, pose a threat to local residents and unsafe to drink – for both livestock and humans – or use in irrigation.

You get scared when you see this. And people are still gathering mushrooms and berries

Norilsk resident Yekaterina Basalyga

It is not the first time the river has been polluted, say residents, who claim it was an even darker shade of red earlier in the year. The city’s main nickel processing plant has denied there is a problem or it was behind the pollution. “As far as we know, the colour of the river is today no different from normal,” one company spokesman said. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation said it would investigate

Periodically there are accidents when these pipes break and the solutions spill and get into the Daldykan ― that’s why it changes color

Denis Koshevoi, Vernadsky Institute for Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry