GOOCHLAND, Va. — The laundry at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women recently switched to using a nonphosphorus detergent as the state investigates the source of foam found in the James River, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Water samples taken in early June detected extremely high levels of phosphorus, which can fuel the growth of algae.
Some witnesses have reported seeing the white, lacy foam covering the river from bank to bank, the newspaper reports.
State environmental officials have now tested effluent from the prison's wastewater treatment plant, as well as water taken from many spots along 200 miles of the river.
The prison voluntarily changed detergents, a spokesman says, and is awaiting the test results and the state's recommendations.