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Rochester Investigates Illegal Oil Dumping Into Sewer System

City of Rochester
The Rochester Wastewater Treatment Facility

Officials in Rochester are investigating what they say is illegal oil dumping into the city’s sewer system.

City officials say they first detected oil in the sewer system last November, then again every month since February.

Director of City Services John Storer says it seems to be dumped on semi-regular basis and is most likely waste oil – something the city offers to properly dispose of for free.

“We just have no idea why, I mean we’re all at a loss. There are readily available options to get rid of it. I have no idea why somebody’s choosing to dump it down the drain,” said Storer.

So far, workers at the wastewater treatment facility have been able to trap and remove most of the oil. Storer says no oil has been discharged into the Cocheco River.

Meanwhile, Rochester police have opened an investigation. They’ve put monitoring equipment in the sewer in hopes of tracking down the source.

“The sewer has no secrets," warned Storer, "we’ll catch it eventually.”

Whoever is responsible could face criminal charges and steep fines from the city.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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