When you watch the footage of a drainage pipe spewing black liquid into the waves washing ashore, your first thought isn’t likely “That looks like good drinking water.” City officials in the Russian resort town of Sochi beg to differ, however. When an underground stormwater drain started belching out sludge into Chkalovskiy beach on August 4, locals basking in the summer sun weren’t sure what to make of the foul-smelling substance. Some beachgoers got out of the water, others waded in, and some ran for their cameras.
According to Sochi's deputy mayor, an accident knocked a mixture of sub-soil and dirt from the walls of a storm drain into the drainpipe, which is what leaked onto the beach. Samples of the water reportedly showed no pathogens. The city blames a local company for failing to manage the drainage system properly, saying a similar incident occurred in 2015.
“The release of the drinkable water poses no threat to the environment,” a spokesperson for the city wrote on a local news portal. In comments on the website, multiple Internet users have responded by inviting city officials to drink the supposedly “potable” black sludge.