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Moscow Region River Turns Black

Residents of a small town near Moscow are complaining about a local river that has turned black with pollution, prompting authorities to investigate the source of the contamination.

Ecology experts from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry traveled to the town of Timokhovo on Monday, located in the Noginsky district about 35 kilometers east of the capital, to check complaints about the black river water, which locals claim has also risen nearly half a meter in recent days and threatens to flood several homes.

State-run news channel Moskva-24 aired a video showing the inky tint of the river, reporting that residents have also complained about recent deterioration in the quality of local well water.

More information about the quality of the water will be available on Tuesday, the ministry said.

The Noginsky district has also been at the center of an ongoing air pollution scandal since last spring, after locals began complaining in May of a persistent stench of sulfur and ammonia.

The odor allegedly sickened numerous residents of towns within the district, causing headaches and severe respiratory problems.

Repeated tests in the district by multiple agencies, including the country's consumer rights watchdog and several environmental labs, found levels of hydrogen sulfide and other compounds in the air that were above allowable standards.

Authorities have still not definitively identified the source of the odor, though a sewage treatment plant and a large landfill, both in Timokhovo, have been singled out as suspects.

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