At least, that's not what's going on in this widely circulated photo of a sinkhole filled with bright green ooze.

Here's where we figure out who the real infrastructure geeks are.

Last week, photographer Steven Reitz captured this photo of a sinkhole in Philadelphia that appeared to be filled with a Ghostbusters-esque green ooze. When the image exploded on Reddit, there was naturally some talk about sludge, slime, and pending mutations to the local population.

The explanation, depending on how you feel about wastewater systems, is cooler or less cool. The Philadelphia Water Department, according to NBC 10, uses harmless dyes to trace the connections of sinkholes underground, in an effort to detect their relationship with other underground water deposits. Neon green, obviously, is a particularly visible hue, though the department also uses red and blue.

Anything to get the people interested in water management, right?

Top image by Steven Reitz.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  2. Transportation

    How Media Coverage of Car Crashes Downplays the Role of Drivers

    Safety advocates have long complained that media outlets tend to blame pedestrians and cyclists who are hit by cars. Research suggests they’re right.

  3. photo: an Uber driver.
    Perspective

    Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

    In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

  4. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

  5. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

×