Durham County Deputies Arrest Man for Illegal Grease Dumping
Durham, N.C. – The Durham County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Jason Martin Rodriguez, 36, of Wendell NC on four counts of felony commercial littering.
In February of this year, employees with Durham County’s Department of Engineering and Environmental Services began noticing sporadic back-ups of grease at the Page Point Pumping Station off Highway 70 as well as multiple “high water” alarms caused by the backup.They tracked the cause of the problem to grease and oil buildup in a manhole on Page Point Cir. at the site of the former Kemp’s Seafood Restaurant. As commercial littering of this type has become a problem in Durham County, they set up a camera at the site to determine what the cause of the buildup might be. After a short time, the camera recorded a truck, later identified as belonging to “All American Septic”, pulling up to the manhole. The driver began to offload the contents of the truck’s tank into the sewer system. In March the Sheriff's Office was notified of the offense and a detective met staff from Environmental Services on Page Point Cir. and was shown the photos they'd collected. The Sheriff’s Office CID opened an investigation and continued to monitor the camera at the site. After observing the same vehicle arrive and dispose of grease multiple times it was determined that the owner of All American Septic, Jason Rodriguez, was the person operating the vehicle during the times the illegal disposals of grease and oil took place. Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month and is scheduled to appear in Durham County court on August 2.
Durham County Engineering and Environmental Services reminds taxpayers that improperly discarding cooking grease can have a major impact on infrastructure and the environment. The costs to negate the results of this sort of crime ends up hurting users of Durham County Services through higher rates. Thankfully, this time, it did not result in a spill impacting the environment. Had one occurred it could have cost the County upwards of $100,000 to clean up in addition to any fines from the State and Federal government. Food service businesses must follow strict guidelines for the disposal of Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) and residents should also be careful to not dispose of FOGs down the drains at home. The County has information on how to protect your pipes and what to do if you have a backup on their website.
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our partners at the County for their efforts. If you see someone improperly disposing of any kind of waste please contact environmental services at 919-560-9033 or the Sheriff’s Office at 919-560-0900.