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Mysterious Green Slime Oozes Out of Utah Drain

Jul 25, 2016 03:56 AM EDT

A mysterious green foam was found seeping through a roadway drain in Utah.

The neighborhood in Bluffdale, Utah, which is located about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, expressed their concern about the substance that was found bubbling up the drain on July 21.

Bluffdale city officials and residents suspected that the foam-like substance was connected to the toxic algae bloom currently spreading throughout the Utah Lake area.

The Salt Lake City Health Department had sent an emergency response team and scientists to test the green foam.

Nicholas Rupp from the Health Department told KSL that the foam most likely came from a moss treatment that was recently added to the canal and is not related to the algae bloom in the Utah Lake.

"The chemicals that they use for the moss prevention process foams and causes a foaming action," Rupp told Fox13 Now.

"The foam has nothing to do with algae... It had something to do with an irrigation cleaning, and it was basically soapy moss," Donna Spangler, communications director for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (Utah DEQ), told Live Science.

The drain was connected to the nearby Welby Jacobs Canal, and the mysterious foam started oozing out after residents in the area requested to use water from the canal for watering their grass and crops, KSL reports.

Bluffdale city engineer Michael Fazio told KSL that the foam began to recede after the irrigation line to the canal was shut off.

The Health Department said that the foam does not pose any health hazards at this time.

Meanwhile, an algae crisis has affected the Utah Lake area. According to Spangler, the algae growth has covered 90 percent of Utah Lake and crept into surrounding tributaries.

Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, said in a statement that Utah officials have closed the lake because of growing concerns about cyanobacteria algae, which may release toxins that could affect the brain and liver once exposed.

According to Utah DEQ, the algae growth is due to a combination of high temperatures, low lake levels and a higher concentration of phosphorous. About 80 percent of phosphorous in the Utah Lake were caused by wastewater treatment plants from neighboring communities.

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