The San Jacinto West Fork is white like milk in photos captured by a citizen in a helicopter flying over the Kingwood area Monday. He reported the strange color to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
An agency spokesman told FOX 26 that TCEQ is investigating the origin of the white-colored water which stretches several miles upstream.
“I saw the weirdest thing,” said Bob Rehak, who captured the photos and shared them on his blog. “It was like a two-tone river.”
The contrasting water colors were most noticeable at the confluence of San Jacinto West Fork and Spring Creek in Kingwood.
“The water coming off of Spring Creek was a natural-looking kind of brownish color, but the water coming off of the West Fork was almost pure white,” said Rehak. ”I was shocked. I had never seen that before in 35 years of living here.”
Rehak flew his helicopter upstream to see where it was coming from.
“It extended up-river for several miles,” said Rehak. ”We eventually had to break off the pursuit of the source because of air traffic control and time and fuel.”
A flyover by SkyFox on Friday shows the color of the water coming from the San Jacinto West Fork is not as white, but is still distinctively lighter in color than that of Spring Creek.
Chuck Gilman, director of the San Jacinto River Authority, told FOX 26 he’s also never seen anything like the milky white river that Rehak captured on camera Monday. SJRA officials told FOX 26 they were expecting to hear an update on TCEQ’s investigation of the origin of the white color in the river in the coming days.
Read more from Ivory Hecker with Fox 26 Houston here.