Members of the Special Hazards Response Unit work to clean up oil from Shortt's Lake near the dam yesterday. Local residents discovered what appeared to be motor oil at the popular public swimming area on Monday morning. Joey Smith - Truro Daily News
SHORTT'S LAKE - Chris Singer arrived at Shortt's Lake on Monday morning with his wife and two grandsons expecting to beat the heat.
Instead, what greeted the Pleasant Valley resident upon his arrival at the popular South Colchester swimming hole had him steaming.
"I was boiling mad," said Singer, who noticed a layer of what appeared to be motor oil on concrete steps leading into the lake, a shocking discovery that put an immediate halt to his plans of a fun day with family. "I wish somehow they could catch the people that done this."
More than 100 feet of absorbent booms and pads lined the shoreline yesterday afternoon at the north end of the lake on Shortt's Lake Road West, as members of the Special Hazards Response Unit worked to clean up a small amount of oil that leaked into the lake.
Colchester RCMP was at the scene and said in a release that the cause of the spill was unknown.
Local residents, however, feel oil was spread on the concrete stairs deliberately.
"It's very disheartening," said Chris' wife Cheryl. "You're supposed to enjoy it, not abuse it.
"People are ruining it. It's not right."
Paula Putnam, acting district manager for the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, said it was obvious the oil spill wasn't caused during a boat launch.
"It's unfortunate to see oil in the water anywhere, but especially when it's a well-used public area," she said.
"Shortt's Lake is well used for boating, swimming and fishing and we want to ensure that it remains clean."
Putnam surveyed the area and said most of the oil washed ashore and was contained by HAZMAT officials.
"It's contained to this area and I checked below the fish ladder and there's no sheen," she said.
The Department of Environment continues to investigate.