ROCHESTER - Rochester Police are investigating the illegal dumping of oil into the city's wastewater system, city officials confirmed today.
Oil was first detected in the system last November and then again every month since February, a press release today said. The wastewater system is completely separate from the city's drinking water infrastructure, which is not impacted.
Rochester Police are investigating the dumping as a criminal act and are actively working to determine the source. In addition, the City of Rochester has contacted the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to assist in its investigation going forward.
"Dumping oil into the wastewater system is a serious criminal act that we are actively investigating," Rochester Police Chief Paul Toussaint said. "The person or business involved in this illegal dumping will be held responsible in accordance with New Hampshire laws."
Illegal dumping into the wastewater system is punishable by termination of sewer service, fines of as much as $1,000 per violation from the Department of Public Works and additional civil and criminal penalties. Violators are also required to reimburse the city for the costs of the investigation.
The DPW accepts waste oil free of charge during its normal business hours.
"The DPW goes to great lengths to properly dispose of oil and other potentially harmful substances because simply dumping it down the drain places a significant burden on the system," Storer said "There is absolutely no need to dump it into the city wastewater system when the DPW will take it for free."
Rochester's wastewater system consists of 90 miles of sewer piping, 28 pump stations and 10 locations that require almost an entire day's work from two crews to inspect and maintain once oil dumping has been confirmed. The cost to the city is estimated at $1,500 to $3,000 per incident.
Rochester police are asking anyone who may have information that could assist with this investigation to call the Rochester Police Department at 603-330-7128. Residents can also provide information and remain anonymous by calling the Rochester CrimeLine at 603-335-6500 or Text tips to: CRIMES (274637) Body of Text: TEXT4CASH + your tip.