Over the Fourth of July weekend someone illegal dumped an unknown substance into an irrigation ditch outside of Paonia, according to the Delta County Sheriff's Office.
Law enforcement along with the hazardous material team from the Hotchkiss Fire Department were called to the scene on Price Road by a property owner.
Ken Nordstorm, the environmental health director for Delta County, said samples from the ditch that flows across multiple properties and empties into the North Fork of the Gunnison were collected on Monday.
Nordstorm said the samples were sent to a lab in Denver on Wednesday. He suspects the chemical substance is some type of acrylic polymer, but said the county is still waiting on lab results.
A property owner in the area said the milky white chemical flowed into his artificial pond fed by the irrigation ditch. He said the substance has killed fish and an algae he was growing in the pond.