Illegal grease dump cost the city more than $17,000 in cleanup

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.

The cleanup of several thousand gallons of cooking grease that was illegally dumped into a city manhole cost the city — and by extension its taxpayers — more than $17,000.

The cleanup of the grease took several days, and city had to hire plumbers, a hazardous materials crew and septic service, with the cost of all three services costing a little more than $15,000, according to information provided to the Journal-World by City Stormwater Engineer Matt Bond. Bond said another $2,200 was spent in city staff time, including some overtime hours.

The extensiveness of the cleanup had to do with the amount of cooking grease dumped into the manhole, which subsequently contaminated the storm sewer system and nearby waterways. Bond said the city wasn’t able to estimate the quantity of the cooking grease beyond the initial estimate of “several thousand” gallons.

The grease was dumped into a manhole near the intersection of West Sixth Street and Monterey Way. It has been six months since someone dumped the grease, and Lawrence Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads told the Journal-World last week that the incident is no longer an active investigation.