Speedway, Ind., officials are searching for people responsible for illegally dumping “large amounts of industrial oil” into Speedway’s sewer system, placing undue strain on the wastewater treatment plant.
According to WTHR, anyone in the Speedway area that sees suspicious activity or has information about the oil dumping is asked to call 911 or the Speedway Police Department.
“This illegal activity is causing a significant financial burden to our town as well as safety concerns within our plant itself,” Mike Davis, assistant superintendent at Speedway Wastewater Treatment Plant, said in a video alert from the Speedway Wastewater Treatment Plant.
A statement also said criminal charges will be pursued if the dumping was intentional, and the recovery costs associated also would be charged to the individual, according to WishTV.
“The large amount of oil being dumped is causing a molecular breakdown of oxygen before it reaches the microorganisms,” the statement said, according to WishTV. “Because of this, we’ve had to supplement our natural processes by purchasing additional oxygen, which is costing thousands of dollars a week to maintain.”
According to WTHR, officials said the microorganisms that are needed to break down waste to treat the water need oxygen to survive. Oil poured into the wastewater system is breaking down the oxygen before it gets to the microorganisms, leading the municipality to the additional oxygen purchases. This expense is totaling thousands of dollars each week, according to WTHR.
The additional charge of the cleanup will be charged to those found to be responsible for dumping, Davis said. According to the Speedway video, the dumping is reportedly happening in the morning during the weekend, possibly into a manhole in a residential or hidden area.