June 10th, 2014
Montana residents Mark and Sharon Brown could hardly believe their eyes when they discovered pure gold flakes in their tap water. Sharon first noticed the sparkling gold residue in the sink after washing the dinner dishes last week.
"She had pulled the plug to let the water out, and there were glistening, gleaming little flecks,” Mark Brown told NBC Montana. “I can't explain it... It's bizarre.”
And the Browns are not the only ones with gold-infused water. Their neighbor, Paul Harper, also has seen sparkling gold flakes in his drinking water, as well as in his toilet tank. Harper, who deals in antiques and gold, performed an acid test on the gold flakes to prove they were, in fact, the real thing. The flecks passed with flying colors.
The town of Whitehall, Mont., where gold magically flows from the faucet, is a mere five miles from the Golden Sunlight Mine — a mine that produced 92,000 ounces of gold in 2013. All of the ore from the mine is processed in Whitehall.
A reporter from NBC Montana visited Whitehall (pop. 1,038) to witness this crazy phenomenon firsthand. (Bonus trivia: the town’s most famous resident is newscaster Chet Huntley, who graduated from Whitehall High School in 1929.)
But the Browns and Harpers are less concerned with gold riches than they are with their families’ well being. They also question the effectiveness of the town’s filtration system.
“If we're seeing heavy metals that you can see with the naked eye, what else might be in there?" Mark Brown asked.
Whitehall Public Works Director Jerry Ward assured local residents that the water, which comes from two wells in the middle of town, was safe to drink and that the gold mine was an unlikely source of the gold flecks.
The State Department of Environmental Quality told NBC Montana that the gold bits probably came from the water pipes and pumps. How the gold got into the water pipes and pumps was not explained.