The cause of a rainbow-like sheen across a fishing pond along the Canisteo River in Hornell, NY, is now under investigation.
“It was a rainbow all the way across,” said Richard Stephens, an avid fisherman who discovered the sheen.
Worried for public health and safety, Stephens and Amanda George reported the incident to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
“Some people eat the fish out of here, and in the summer time, kids sometimes swim over here,” George said.
There was a response on June 3 at 3:46 p.m. However, the extent of the spill, the response or the contaminant involved remained unclear.
An entry in the DEC’s spill database acknowledged that an incident occurred and was under investigation, but no further details were immediately available. The incident was still classified as an open case.
DEC identified the pollutant as an “unknown petroleum” spill, but the amount and source of the spill were not identified.
Mayor John Buckley said the city garage and wastewater treatment plant, both just across the road from the fishing hole, were not the cause of the June 3 incident.
“The city is not putting anything into the river except effluent from the filtration plant, which goes through a process because we’re held to very stringent New York State and Federal standards,” Buckley said.
Department of Public Works Superintendent Mitch Cornish and Water Pollution Control Plant Operator Richard Dunning III also confirmed their operations were not the source of the petroleum spill.
By last Friday, the spill had mostly cleared from the area.