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Crews mopping up Jordan River's mystery substance
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake firefighters Saturday night worked to contain an unknown substance that spilled into the Jordan River.

Fire Capt. Mark Bednarik said tests determined the substance was not oil, and officials weren't sure what was causing the "dull sheen" on the water.

"What we know is it's not flammable. It's not corrosive," he said of the substance.

Bednarik said the substance appeared to be mixing with the water, so it was hard to know just how much was there.

Crews deployed booms into the river to try to contain and absorb the substance, which had reportedly encompassed areas from about 2800 South to at least 1500 South.

Bednarik said some booms were put in place to divert and collect more concentrated samples of the substance so the Salt Lake Valley Health Department could conduct more testing Monday to try to determine what it is. He said the Environmental Protection Agency had been notified.

Firefighters didn't yet know what caused the spill or where it was leaking from, other than that it was coming from south of Salt Lake City, Bednarik said. He said officials have shut down gates that allow a surplus canal to feed the river.

He said officials on Sunday will be working to determine the substance's source.

jstecklein@sltrib.comTwitter @sltribjanelle

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