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Milky water didn't spread beyond this small inlet in the Vermillion River, but Soil and Water Conservation District and Minnesota Pollution Control workers are trying to figure out what is causing it.

Mystery substance clouds water in Vermillion

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outdoors Farmington, 55024
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

There's something murky in the waters of the Vermillion River, but it's too soon to tell what it is.

On April 21, the city of Farmington received a report of a white substance floating in the Vermillion River near the Kuchera Entrance to Rambling River Park. City employees responded, but could not tell what the substance was.

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City staff contacted the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District. SWCD staff came down to the Vermillion and took samples. Those samples have been forwarded to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for testing.

According to SWCD district manager Brian Watson, the MPCA usually takes about five working days to analyze samples. That means it's too soon to tell what's in the water, but whatever it is, it's stuck around for almost a week already.

The substance is contained pretty much to an inlet of the river, one where a storm sewer pipe makes contact with the river. The water does not seem to be moving in the inlet, though, and the substance has made the water take on a milky appearance.

In talking with some neighbors, SWCD staff learned something like this has happened in the past. Still, the reason, or what the contamination might be, is unknown.

According to Watson, the MPCA is running multiple tests on the water, testing for everything from different metals to several types of chemicals.

"They're just running the gamut (of tests) to see if there's something there," Watson said.

Watson won't speculate on whether the water is safe right now. Because the cloudy area does not seem to be moving, and the contaminants aren't being carried by the current, he doesn't think other parts of the river are being impacted. Still, it's up to the MPCA to nail down what, if any, danger there might be.

Results from the samples are expected to come in later this week. Watson thought he would have an update on the contamination by Thursday or Friday.

"It's just too early to make any kind of a guess," he said.

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