by Katy Langley, Lower Neuse Riverkeeper
On April 2nd an oil spill was reported in Kinston along the Neuse River; a similar incident had occurred on March 7th in the same location. According to Lenoir County Emergency Management, it is believed the oil came from a garage that does oil changes. Since it cannot be proven that the oil came from this garage or if it was intentional, no fines have been issued. The name of this garage has not been released to the public.
The owner explained that he collects the used oil in barrels out back and never pours it out, however, at the beginning of the month he sprays the pits and excess oil is washed down the drain. This is consistent with both spills occurring at the first of the month. Though oil is not directly being poured down storm drains, the method of cleaning is still very damaging to the environment.
Out of sight, out of mind is a problematic mindset. Anything that is washed down a storm drain goes directly to the river, untreated. Thankfully, the spill was quickly reported and clean up efforts began soon after. An estimated 800 gallons of oil and water were removed from the river. This does not account for the oil that had already settled in the sediment that can be detrimental to aquatic life.
Read the follow-up article in the Kinston Free Press here.