LAKE PLACID - Residents bordering Mill Pond are worried over an oil spill discovered Thursday on this dammed-up portion of the Chubb River.
Madeleine Killeen, president of the Mill Pond Neighborhood Association, was taking routine water samples on the shoreline earlier in the day when she noticed the oil spill on the water. A shoreline property owner, she was upset and said she had received phone calls from more than one irate neighbor.
"Now it's heading down to the AuSable River," she said.
An oil slick is seen near the mid-river bridge at 9:40 a.m. Thursday on the West Branch of the Ausable River in Lake Placid.
(Photo — Larry Masters)
The Chubb River empties into the West Branch of the AuSable River and eventually into the AuSable River at AuSable Forks and Lake Champlain.
A state Department of Environmental Conservation officer was seen talking to Bill Hurley at the Hurley Brothers fuel supplier on Station Street in the early afternoon. The business is across the street from the Mill Pond park where oil was seen coating the water. The smell of fuel oil permeated the air. Hurley, owner of Hurley Brothers, said a piece of equipment at his business failed and discharged oil on Tuesday afternoon.
"My employees, including myself, mitigated it to the point we thought we stopped it from entering any off-site area," he said. "We are working with the DEC to solve the problem."
Hurley said "it was an unfortunate accident" and that he treasures "our unique environment." He is the president of the Lake Placid-North Elba Review Board.
How much oil spilled?
"Of course, when oil gets into the water, it spreads 100 times more," he said. "The amount is still being determined."
Larry Masters, a resident of River Road, said he saw oil in the AuSable River by his home around 9 a.m. Thursday.
"It covered the whole surface. There was a sheen across the whole river at that point," Masters said. "As late as noon you could still see it."
Masters said he immediately contacted the DEC spill response team, and they arrived later to investigate.
Emily Kilburn, a spokesperson at the DEC Region 5 office in Ray Brook, said they are investigating the situation and more information will be released Friday when it becomes available.