It could have been worse for the community pool at Columbia Park in Turlock, Calif., after someone launched an open 5-quart container of motor oil into the pool earlier this week.

The pool is divided into a small children’s area and the larger general area. Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities manager Erik Schulze said the bulk of the oil was contained within the kiddie pool, though the filtration system did carry some of the contaminant into the general area of the pool. 

Because oil and water don’t mix, most of the oil floated on the surface of the water, and the city’s fire and environmental departments were able to soak up most of it with towels.

Fire officials said it was lucky that the oil was clean and not used, as that would have made it harder to clean up.

“We got the best-case scenario,” Shulze told The Modesto Bee. “We were ready for significant damage.”

A county health inspector visited the pool to ensure there wasn’t an environmental issue. None was found. A pool contractor provided an enzyme that is supposed to break down the oil. The chemical was applied Wednesday and will be run through the pool pumps for a couple of days. Then the inspector will return to approve reopening the pool.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.