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A leak from Specialty Minerals turned the Hoosic River milky white

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Effluent from Specialty Minerals leached into the Hoosic River on Tuesday, turning the water milky white as it flowed from the company’s Adams location and into North Adams, state officials confirmed on Wednesday.

The river was running clear by late Wednesday morning, but chalky residue was visible in places along the river’s banks; it runs from Massachusetts into Vermont and New York.

Specialty Minerals reported that the discharge was caused by a “process upset,” according to an email from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“The white color is likely sediment and solids associated with the manufacturing of precipitated calcium carbonate being discharged in SMI’s effluent,” the DEP said.

The company reported that it had shut down its operation until the problem is resolved.

City Councilor Pete Oleskiewicz posted a photo on social media Tuesday after being contacted by numerous residents about the river’s color.

Greta Jochem can be reached at or 413-496-6272.


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