River flowing through the most polluted Russian city turns red

Russian authorities assume that water has reddened due to chemical waste discharged from the nearby Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 08 September 2016

The Arctic town of Norilsk woke up to a disturbing truth on Tuesday when they discovered that the Daldykan River has turned bright red. Suggesting that the water may have reddened due to discharge from "an unidentified chemical" from the nearby Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant, the Russian authorities have ordered an investigation into a possible pipeline break.

The metallurgical plant is owned by Norilsk Nickel, the largest nickel producer in the world. While the company has refuted allegations that the pollution was caused by industrial discharge from its plant, it has assured continuous monitoring of the environmental situation in the region.

According to residents, the river has also changed colour in the past. While they speculate contamination of river water due to chemical wastes, the incident doesn't pose an immediate threat to the well-being of locals since it isn't connected to the public water supply.

Stunned residents shared photos online of the bizarre scene at Daldykan River.

According to Denis Koshevoi, a PhD candidate at the Vernadsky Institute for Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, the company pumps chemical solutions from Nadezhda Metallurgical plant to a nearby tailings dam via pipes. Even metal concentrates from ore mills are pumped into Nadezhda. There have been accidents in the past with leakage in pipes leading to spillage of the solutions into the Daldykan.

Norilsk Nickel is expected to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by approximately two-thirds by 2020, but the possibility of reducing emissions to such a level looks bleak since it is still developing the technology

Norilsk, the world's northernmost city with more than 100,000 inhabitants, is a resource-rich area near the world's largest deposits of nickel, copper and palladium.  It’s a major draw for mining industry. Pollution in Norilsk is often considered the worst in Russia.

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