Expensive oil change

Dumping in storm drains prohibited

A Minot man learned Thursday that dumping a prohibited substance in a storm sewer drain can be a very costly mistake.

Minot Police responded to a call on the afternoon of June 19 at 415 3rd Ave. NW for a report that someone had been dumping motor oil in a storm sewer. Employees of the Public Works Department working near the location reported they observed a vehicle parked over a sewer grate, saw oil on the ground and a trail of oil running into the sewer.

Police later contacted Donald Matula at his residence at which time, according to a police affidavit, Matula admitted putting “just a little bit” of oil down the sewer while changing oil on a vehicle.

Municipal Court Judge Ashley Beall accepted Matula’s guilty plea Thursday and directed he pay restitution of $1,095 and $25 in court fees, payable at a rate of $102 per month. She also placed him on unsupervised probation until July 4, 2020.

The restitution amount came as a result of the city hiring a clean-up crew to vacuum oil from the sewer that had pooled beneath the drain. The charge against Matula was a misdemeanor B that has a maximum penalty of thirty days in jail and a $1,500 fine. Minot’s Code of Ordinances prohibits discharge of oil and many other substances into the public sewer system.

Minot Code of Ordinances, Sec. 31-74.

No person shall willfully discharge or cause to be discharged any of the following described substances or waste waters to any public sewer:

(1) Any gasoline, benzene, naphtha, fuel oil, or other flammable or explosive liquid, solid, or gas;

(2) Toxic or poisonous solids, liquids, or gases in sufficient quantity, either singly or by interaction with other substances, to contaminate the sludge of any municipal system, to injure or interfere with any waste water treatment process, constitute a hazard to humans or animals, create a public nuisance, create any hazard in or have an adverse effect on the waters receiving any discharges from the waste water treatment works or from the storm sewer system;

(3) Any waste water having a pH lower than 5.5 or having other corrosive properties capable of causing damage or hazard to components or personnel of the waste water treatment works; or

(4) Solid or viscous substances in quantities or of such size capable of causing obstruction to the flow in sewers, or other interference with the proper operation of the waste water treatment works, such as, but not limited to, ashes, cinders, sand, mud, straw, shavings, metal, glass, rags, feathers, tar, plastics, wood, whole blood, hair and fleshings, entrails and paper dishes, cups, milk containers, etc.

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