Iron Sediments From Shuttered Mines Tint Local Waterways


A sign shows a local map at the Schlabendorfer See lake marina near... News PhotoCommunity,Environmental Damage,Environmental Issues,Germany,Horizontal,Lake,Map,Marina,Pollution,SpreewaldPhotographer Collection: Getty Images News 2013 Getty ImagesSCHLABENDORF, GERMANY - APRIL 17: A sign shows a local map at the Schlabendorfer See lake marina near the Spreewald region on April 17, 2013 in Schlabendorf, Germany. Schlabendorfer See is a man-made lake created from the conversion of the former Schlabendorf open-pit coal mine. The lake, because of the mine, is heavily burdened with iron sediment that is inundating the nearby Wudritz creek. Many creeks and small rivers that feed the nearby Spree River have turned a rich orange or brown, sometimes even red, due to the sediments flowing from several former open pit coal mines. The Spreewald is a popular tourist destination known for its network of canals and local tour operators fear the sediment will turn the waters there orange as well, which could seriously impact the tourist seasons. Though the iron sediment is not poisonous, some local farmers claim they have been forced to filter the water they use to irrigate their fields, and many people report the disappearance of fish and other fauna. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)