Des Moines' sewer pipe crud cited for its beauty
Des Moines' sewer pipe crud, an iron phosphate commonly known as vivianite, is cited as a thing of beauty in a new book about rare pigments and color.
Why it matters: We always knew our $@!+ was special and now it's documented.
Zoom in: "Book of Earth" by artist Heidi Gustafson explores ochre, a natural mineral that's used to make pigments.
- One type of ochre, vivianite, was collected from chunks of clogged pipes replaced at Des Moines Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA).
- At least two pigments can be made with it.
State of play: The WRA worked for years to rid its pipes of vivianite.
- Recent operational changes that routed them through anaerobic digesters have largely resolved the problem, WRA director Jonathan Gano tells Axios.
💎 The intrigue: Vivianite's blackish-blue crystals can be made into jewelry and sold for big bucks but the WRA is maintaining its small collection for now.
- Their purported ability to soak up negative energies is the reason the WRA has so many happy employees, Gano says.
Editor's note: This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter.
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