For the last two weeks, a mysterious orange substance has been floating down the Yukon River in Dawson.
“The material on the river is ‘the talk’ of town,” wrote Dieter Weise in an email on Thursday.
It’s shown up on the docks and on the ferry, he wrote.
“Residents are speculating, and concerned about fire retardants, mine effluent, other mining pollution, an unusual algal bloom or pollen.
“Even tourists are wondering.”
There is some speculation it could be spruce needle rust.
But Energy, Mines and Resources officials remain mystified.
“Our client services and inspections branch is looking at it and has taken samples,” said spokesman Chris Wearmouth.
“But we’re not sure what it is at this point.”
Answering this basic question doesn’t require a specialist, wrote Weise.
“Five minutes and a simple $10 tool are enough to tell Dawson the category of substance (and if it is safe to touch and/or drink).
“We are just some concerned citizens in Dawson, worried about the river and the quality of government “monitoring” and what would happen – and how slow the response would be – if there was a real problem (such as a spill that needed to be stopped at the source, or a toxic algae where we would need to alert canoeists).” (Genesee Keevil)