New Jersey town officials have closed off the area around a park brook after a mysterious, unknown substance turned the water a milky white color.
A section of Third Ward Park in Passaic was taped off after someone walking saw the white substance in the water around 12:45 p.m., said Mayor Hector Lora. The brook leads into Hughes Lake, which by the late afternoon, had turned completely white, photos showed.
The lake empties into the Passaic River, but it was not clear whether the river's water had been impacted. The Passaic Fire Department will flush the brook, Lora said.
Health officials said they were not sure what the substance was or what the source of it was, but the state's Department of Environmental Protection confirmed after testing that it was not harmful. Lora said that they were looking into whether the inert substance could be connected to illegal dumping.
The Passaic Valley Water Commission said that Hughes Lake is not connected to their water system, and the substance was not impacting drinking water in the area.
Lora said that they have checked manholes in Clifton and know the substance is coming through there, and possibly started there. The park itself remained open, but the area surrounding the brook where the substance was getting into the waterway was closed off.
An investigation is ongoing.