LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- An unidentified pollutant killed several birds in Lakewood, and federal authorities want to know how it happened.
Contaminant was discovered in a small retention pond at a business park at 3232 S. Vance St.
Residents at nearby businesses first noticed a milky-white sheen on the water surface on Wednesday, and when birds were discovered dead, an investigation began Friday.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture , the Lakewood Police Department, West Metro Fire Rescue and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are involved in the investigation.
Up to 20 dead geese and ducks were found, and as many as four birds still alive but impacted by the incident were collected for testing, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
Toxicologists and wildlife biologists also collected water and soil samples from the area.
“We do not feel there is a public health concern,” said Ryan Moehring with U.S. Fish and Wildlife said. “We are encouraging folks in the surrounding area to just have some caution.”
Investigators are not ruling out any possibilities, whether the pollutant was caused naturally or intentionally placed.
“We have regulatory authority over any injury to migratory birds, so we did deploy our law enforcement officers to the scene,” Moehring said. “We tagged and collected evidence and pending the confirmation of those test reports that will inform our agent’s path forward.”
On Saturday, crews used boats and other accessories to clean out the water. Authorities estimate 95 percent of the pollutant has been collected.
The small retention pond is on private property, and officials encourage people not to bring their pets into the area.