TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After members of the public reported that Kaohsiung's Love River appeared to be "milky white" in color, Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau (KEPB) officials said that it has been tested and it was found to contain naturally occurring calcium sulfate, it was not caused by pollution and there is no need to be alarmed, reported UDN.
Ma Chen-yao 馬振耀, chief of the Environmental Inspection Department of the KEPB said that the Love River is susceptible to discoloration each year during the changing of seasons, but after several years of water quality testing and analysis, other than a low level of dissolved oxygen (1-2mg/L), the pH and conductivity levels are normal. As for other water quality measures, heavy metal concentrations are close to the environmental benchmark or even below the detectable limit and over 90 percent of the pollution is coming from domestic sewage. This lack of a clear culprit spurred the study on the components of the milky white water.
Last year, the KEPB carried out an inspection and analysis of the components of the white, milky water in the river, and the conclusion was that it was caused by an excess level of calcium sulfate and high temperatures. The excessive sulfate and calcium ions combined at high temperatures to produce a calcium sulfate colloid, which had an opalescent effect that scattered light and gave the water its milky white color.
The phenomenon is primarily occurring at the Mingcheng Bridge, mainly due the presence of sediment and relatively higher temperature. Officials theorize that the solubility of the particles decreases as the temperature rise. They also theorize that the rising and ebbing of the tide could lead to an irregular increases in sediment that forms a colloid, and thus the cloudy water.
Ma said that the use of calcium sulfate is very widespread and is not harmful to the environment.
Milky water in Kaohsiung's Love River. (Image from KEPB)