This Russian River Mysteriously Turned Blood-Red. Then A Nickel Plant Revealed The Horrible Truth

The Daldykan River runs right past the Russian settlement of Norilsk, the world’s most northerly city. Remote it may be, but Norilsk, which sits firmly inside the Arctic Circle, is home to over 100,000 people. And, as of recently, it took center stage in an environmental scandal that’s captured the world’s attention.

The scandal occurred at the beginning of September 2016. Norilsk locals had noticed that the Daldykan River – normally so lovely and so blue – had turned a distressing shade of blood red. And, although the river is unconnected to the city’s water supply, residents deemed the color strange enough to share on Russian social media.

The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment subsequently promised to investigate the phenomenon. Its theory was that the red hue could be the result of a leak from the nearby Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant.

Others, however, believed that the color had been caused by a deliberate chemical runoff from the same plant. Others still blamed the incident on a combination of the facility’s wastewater mixing with mineral ore. But, whichever way you cut it, everybody was pointing the finger at the nickel plant.

This wasn’t, in fact, the first time that pollution had been blamed for weird events in this part of Siberia. Certainly, the region has many mines that tap into its rich deposits of copper, nickel and silvery-white palladium.