Somebody’s used cooking oil is presenting a slippery, smelly and potentially deadly dilemma on the streets of Red Deer.
On Monday, wastewater superintendent Geoff Stewardson issued a news release stating that someone has repeatedly and intentionally poured used fat, oil and grease from a moving vehicle rather than using proper disposal methods.
“The aftermath resembles a dark stain stretched along the . . . road, sometimes for hundreds of metres,” Stewardson said in his release.
The stain smells strongly of deep fried food that has gone rancid, he said.
There is a multitude of reasons why this form of dumping has been outlawed.
The stain presents a hazard to vehicles, especially motorcycles, said Stewardson. It attracts animals and there is concern that grease washing into the storm sewers will pollute the Red Deer River, he said.
Under the city’s Utility Bylaw, any person releasing “deleterious” substances into storm sewers is subject to a fine of up to $2,500 and may face up to six months in prison. Deleterious substances include water from pools and hot tubs, paint, solvents, grouting, water used to wash equipment, oil, fuel, other petroleum products and any other substances that may block or disrupt operation of storm sewers.
Violators may also be charged under federal and provincial traffic, environmental, fish and wildlife and watercourse laws, said Stewardson.
He and his department are now asking for help identifying the person or people responsible for dumping grease on city streets.
Anyone who has useful information on these or any other spills is asked to call the Environmental Services Source Control Section at 403-350-8867 or 403-304-4815.