Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thousands of gallons of grease dumped into city sewer still a mystery

Various health advisory signs, pictured July 3, 2017, were posted around a creek just west of Monterey Way between Sixth and Eighth Street where unauthorized dumping of used cooking grease was discovered.

Various health advisory signs, pictured July 3, 2017, were posted around a creek just west of Monterey Way between Sixth and Eighth Street where unauthorized dumping of used cooking grease was discovered.

January 4, 2018


Whoever illegally dumped several thousand gallons of cooking grease into a city manhole has yet to be held accountable.

It has been six months since someone dumped the grease, which contaminated the city’s storm sewer system, nearby waterways and resulted in a dayslong cleanup for the city.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads told the Journal-World this week that the grease-dumping incident is no longer an active investigation.

“(It) does not appear there are any current leads being investigated,” Rhoads said in an email. “Certainly, if anyone has any new information related to the grease dumping or suspect identification, we would encourage them to contact us.”

The grease was dumped into a manhole near the intersection of West Sixth Street and Monterey Way. The manhole is between Hy-Vee grocery store and a strip mall with several businesses.

Following the dumping, city engineers told the Journal-World that the city had to hire plumbers to clean the city sewer lines; a hazardous materials cleanup crew to decontaminate a nearby creek; and a septic service to collect runoff from the cleaning.

The Journal-World has requested, but not yet received, an estimate from the city of the total cost of the cleanup, which will likely include the cost of the contracted services as well as city staff time.

Dumping oil of any kind is illegal under federal law and city ordinances that regulate pollutants. Cooking grease (both animal fat and vegetable oil) is as damaging to the environment as petroleum oil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Businesses are required to collect cooking grease and dispose of it properly, and they typically pay outside companies to perform the task.


David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

"thousands of gallons" 2, 3, 10 how many thousands? A truck just pulled up and started unloading grease?

Contract services will be needed and Mr. Markus can authorize the spending of how much without city commission approval?

When that car wash goes in the water from it can flush it down...

Is it near Applebees...inquiring minds want to know?

Paul Jones 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Thousands of gallons would be amazing.

Did the grease happen to have the any curly fries in it?

Perhaps a few years old?

This also doesn't make sense given the street value of restaurant grease nowadays.

Brian Hershey 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I saw the story about the grease dumping in Lawrence... I hope there was a crosscheck of all the restaurant violations in the area with the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) to see if anyone had any cooking oil storage violations prior to the dumping. I wonder if the cops did that work... who knows what resources they allocated. I hope they talked directly to the inspectors! The KDA website doesn't allow bulk text searching of violations... perhaps someone there can help out. Something this big (thousands of gallons) has to be a multiple person crime/coverup. The oil would be stored in 50 gallon drums, so 20+ drums, one or more large flatbed trucks! I can't think of any reason a contractor for oil pickup would dump it, it's worth money! Any national chain restaurant owner would know it's worth money so someone had a reason to get rid of it quick... I'm thinking a large local restaurant who was going through some transition... like a death, a store relocation, owner change or closing. Conrad Swanson, you should be all over this one!

Armen Kurdian 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wonder if the city requested invoices, receipts, etc., from local restaurant showing when they contracted out for said services. Would have to be voluntary obviously, but that would seem to be a place to start when you don't have a lead.

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