Two residents of Whitehall, Montana have reported finding gold flakes in their tap water. The water for the town, which has a population of 1,068, is sourced from two wells.
The flakes were first discovered by Shannon Brown, whose husband Mark explained how the flakes were found.
“She had pulled the plug to let the water out and there were glistening, gleaming little flecks,” said Brown, according to NBC Montana. “Everything I tried to do to dispel this, I got nothing. And I can’t explain it either.”
The flakes also showed up in the tap water of another Whitehall resident who happens to deal in antiques and gold for a living. That man, named Paul Harper, conducted multiple chemical tests on the water supply and determined that it did, indeed, contain gold.
Although gold is an unusual substance to be found in tap water, it is not an uncommon metal in the area surrounding Whitehall. There is an open pit gold mine called Golden Sunlight located 5 miles northeast of the town, although inspectors have claimed that the flakes in the water are most likely unconnected to the mine.
Residents are concerned that the presence of the gold flakes indicates that there are other, harmful pollutants being dispersed in the town’s water supply. According to Yahoo News, however, Whitehall Public Works Director Jerry Ward has assured citizens that there are no harmful chemicals in the town’s water.
Officials from the State Department of Environmental Quality are currently investigating the incident and running their own tests on the water supply to determine the source of the gold flakes.