Ohio engineer Guy Riefler and artist John Sabraw joined together to clean up the toxic sludge resulting from old coal mines, creating stunning artwork.
Prior to 1977, there were no laws enforcing companies to clean the wastewater containing iron, bauxite, sulfuric acid and other trace metals that ran freely from mines into nearby water sources. For the past five years, environmental engineer and Ohio University professor Riefler has been figuring out an economically viable way to clean up the water and turn the sludge into paint. Riefler is now in the final stages of this project, dealing with pigment that is 97% iron. He has been working with local artist John Sabraw to not only come up with the right compositions, but to turn the repurposed sludge into something beautiful. Sabraw uses the oil to create canvas masterpieces other artistic work.