Truckee River turns green causing concern, jokes and puzzlement

A screenshot of a photo of the green patch in the Truckee River.
A screenshot of a photo of the green patch in the Truckee River.(KOLO)
Published: Jul. 24, 2019 at 6:09 PM PDT
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Whatever it was it was an arresting sight.

There among the postings about lost pets, landscaping advice and other subjects was this picture of the Truckee River near Idlewild Park. It was clearly no algae bloom. it was an unnatural, almost florescent shade of green.

The woman who posted it on the local website Next Door said she hustled her kids out of the water and asked if anyone knew what it was.

The discussion that followed wandered from the serious to comic book super hero origins. But no one had any answers. So far, it seems, no one has.


"We don't know," says Will Raymond, Operations and Water Quality Manager for the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. "We reached out to Reno, Sparks, NDEP (Nevada Department of Environmental Protection) and there was really nothing reported. So we don't know what happened, when it happened, if it happened."

And, if it was a legitimate use of a dye, for instance, agencies like TMWA should have been notified.

It was upstream from TMWA's Glendale Water Treatment Plant. We can't show you the control room here, but I can tell you it's impressive, high tech 24/7 monitoring of the volume and quality of our water supply.

Raymond says any serious contaminant would have been detected here and dealt with. The water drawn from the Truckee here goes through a number of treatments before it's sent on to your kitchen tap. And there are protocols in place should the real stuff, like a chemical spill happen

"Water supplies are taken very seriously. And often it goes well past local police. Homeland Security gets involved."

Whatever it was, it's long gone, diluted and washed away in the Truckee's flow, leaving only the mystery.

Bottom line: your water is safe, some mysteries are never solved, but all that and jokes aside, this is where the water we drink, bathe and use comes from. . Messing with it is a serious matter.

"We certainly don't want anything discarded in the river, drained in the river and we take water quality very seriously."

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