Speedway, Indiana, officials said they need the public’s help to identify the source of large amounts of industrial oil being dumped into the town’s water system.
Town officials told the Indiana Environmental Reporter that the dumping is putting an added strain on the town’s water treatment system and is causing safety concerns within the plant itself.
“This could be motor oil, cutting oil… We’re not sure, but it is a significant volume,” said Mike Davis, assistant superintendent of the Speedway wastewater treatment plant. “It’s enough to where it’s creating issues as far as being able to treat it.”
The treatment facility relies on microorganisms to absorb and break down waste materials in the wastewater and require oxygen to stay alive.
“The large amount of oil being dumped is causing a molecular breakdown of oxygen before it reaches the microorganisms,” said Norm Berry, Speedway wastewater treatment plant superintendent. “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.”
The dumping is believed to happen in the early morning hours of the weekend. Speedway police said it is possible the dumping is happening through a manhole in a residential or hidden area.
Town officials have not said whether there are any suspects, but said the person or business involved in the dumping will be charged the recovery cost of the oil cleanup. If the dumping is found to be intentional, criminal charges may be filed.
Residents with any information should call 911.