The Town of Speedway, on Indianapolis's west side, thinks someone has been dumping hundreds of gallons of oil into its wastewater system. It’s costing the town $2,000 to $3,000 a week to keep the oil from reaching a nearby creek.
Norman Berry is the wastewater superintendent for the Town of Speedway. He says for the past month, the plant has had to buy extra oxygen to help the microorganisms in the treatment facility stay alive and break down the oil.
So far, he says it’s working. The oil hasn’t threatened the health of Eagle Creek — which is where treated water from the plant goes.
“But that can change if the illegal activity increases, the quantity increases,” he says.
Speedway Town Manager Jacob Blasdel says wastewater customers in Speedway could end up paying for those extra treatment costs.
“Eventually, that gets passed on to the people that pay their sewer bills, but those costs have to come from somewhere," he says. "And certainly, that's not fair to those people.”
Berry says based on the amount of oil, it’s likely coming from a business. Officials are asking for the public’s help to catch who’s responsible. They say oil has been dumped in the early morning hours on weekends.
Town officials say the person or persons responsible could face criminal charges and fees to pay for the extra treatment costs of cleaning up the oil.
Residents near the Town of Speedway should contact police if they see something suspicious that may be related to illegal oil dumping.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.