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Mysterious Green Foam Bubbles Up From Sewer in Utah

Climate

A mysterious green foam that looks like it was taken straight out of Ghost Busters, emerged from a street vent in an Utah town.

Residents in Bluffdale, Utah, about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, were terrified to find a foam-like green substance coming out of a street vent from a sewer on Thursday. City officials were concerned the blob was related to an algae bloom in Utah Lake. But test results show the two are separate issues. The green foam is a product of a nearby canal's moss treatment.

Chemicals used to clear canals of moss foam up like the blob in question, said Nicholas Rupp of the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Donna Spangler, communications director for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, backed up Rupp's statement. She told Live Science that the foam "has nothing to do with algae ... It had something to do with an irrigation cleaning, and it was basically soapy moss."

The street vent producing the mysterious foam is connected to the Welby Jacobs Canal. Residents had requested to use water from the canal to water their grass and crops. Shortly afterward, the foam made its appearance. The foam began to recede after the irrigation line connected to the canal was shut off, city engineer Michael Fazio said.

The health department said the foam does not pose any health hazards.

Though the green foam is not tied to algae, 90 percent of Utah Lake is covered with a toxic algae bloom with nearby tributaries affected, Spangler said.

Utah Lake is closed due to concerns about cyanobacteria algae, which may release toxins harmful to the brain and liver, said Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health. Algae growth is attributed to high temperatures, low lake levels and high concentrations of phosphorous.

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