The residents of one Russian town woke up to the shocking sight of green snow last week. The citizens of Pervouralsk, a city in the industrial Chelyabinsk region of Russia, may have been dreaming of an upcoming white Christmas but were instead greeted on Wednesday morning by what looked like some sort of St Patrick’s Day prank. However, the seemingly incandescent, green-soaked snow across the roadway had nothing to do with the Irish holiday, it was caused by a leak at a nearby chrome plant. Photos of the bright green slush appeared on several social media sites.
Russian Chrome Chemicals 1915 company representative Vladislav Oreshkin said the incident was caused by an “old slurry tank built in 1960 with violations of health and safety rules.”
Oreshkin said, “The accident today happened on a pipe between a pump and a cleaning station. Some of the water pumped from under the ground went on the surface.”
“In Soviet times, some of the chromium-containing water stayed underground and went straight into Chusovaya River. Ten years ago, we launched a system of drainage wells that capture contaminated water and neutralize it. One of the wells got clogged and part of the water went on the surface,” he said.
Officials assured residents of the town, which is located on the Chusovaya River in the Ural Mountains, not to worry as the leak would not cause any danger to their health.
“The situation is under control. Our team was at the site 15 minutes after the accident. We are planning to finish the clean up within one day,” Oreshkin told The Siberian Times.
People living in Pervouralsk have described “colorful” rain and snow in the past. Complaints of “throat aches” have also been believed to be somehow connected to the plant.
Acquired by the MidUral Group, the Russian Chrome Chemicals 1915 company, which “specializes in production of chrome-containing industrial materials and reagents,” has participated in an environmental protection program since 2011.
The company claims that it has taken measures to drastically reduce emissions of harmful substances in the air by 65 times and significantly lowered the concentration of Chromium 6 in the Chusovaya River.