White foam sitting on a portion of Waskasoo Creek is of natural origin, according to the City of Red Deer’s wastewater superintendent.
“It’s not an indicator of pollution,” Geoff Stewardson said Friday morning.
Red Deer resident Tim Van Horn spotted the foamy water Thursday morning and contacted the city. Van Horn said it looked “like a kid’s bathtub full of bath bubbles.”
Van Horn has lived in the area for 15 years and walks by that area twice a day – he said he believes humans are responsible for the foam, adding he’d never seen so much in that area.
“Our staff went out to take a look at the foam and they made the determination that it was of natural origin,” said Stewardson.
“This time of year, especially with all the leaves fallen, we get a lot of dead, organic matter. As that breaks down, this organic matter can cause the foaming in the water.
“Sometimes it can look like a soap in the water, it’s a similar looking foam.”
Stewardson said this “natural foam” could look white or a little off-white and will have an earthy smell – if it was soap it would have a “rainbow-type sheen” to it and would feel a little slippery, he added.
“The natural occurring foam is very common and you can have it throughout the entire year,” said Stewardson.
One place “you’ll see it is on storm outfalls, where the water enters the river and creates that turbulence and combines with that dissolved organic matter to create the foam.”
Stewardson said the foam is not hazardous for wildlife.
“It can stay in a calm area on water for days. Fishermen probably see it quite regularly. Basically as the winds and currents change it will be pushed further down stream and if it get in turbulent water it just basically breaks up.”