Dead ducks and fish recently found on a Phoenix golf course near the Encanto Park lake has residents in the historic Encanto neighborhood on high alert.
“Walking by the water it was awful -- the garbage, the smell,” said Kat Sivolella, who’s lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years.
“The most upsetting was the dead fish floating in the water and most recently dead ducks,” Sivolella said.
George Smith, who also lives near the park, said one neighbor took it upon herself to try and save the ducks that had become severely ill but were still clinging to life.
“She’d found six of them and I couldn't believe it, I was like ‘whoa’,” said Smith.
He says the neighbor took the sick ducks to Liberty Wildlife, a wildlife rehab facility in Phoenix.
While neighbors were upset seeing all the dead wildlife, they were also worried that whatever was killing the ducks and fish might post a threat to people visiting the popular park.
Especially for anyone who fishes or paddles a boat in the water.
“Amongst ourselves we were just talking about just how awful it is,” Sivolella said.
“There's kids out here on the paddle boats and kids will put their hands in the funky water and it could be bad,” Smith said.
A city and a parks and rec representative confirmed an outbreak of bad bacteria -- botulism -- had infected the water and the wildlife.
They acknowledged the bacteria killed some ducks and left others sick and paralyzed.
However, the representative said this bacterium cannot be contracted by humans, so there is no safety risk for people at the park.
The city has since cleaned up the dead wildlife and is now doing weekly checks on the water quality.
“It does look better, the water looks cleaner so I'm hoping they took care of the problem,” Smith said.
Sivolella is also glad to see the water glistening again, she just hopes it stays that way.
“It’s pride of where we live,” she said, “that's what it comes down to.”
The city says current water quality is good. They're working with state and local wildlife authorities to try and prevent an outbreak like this from happening again.