Belmont Wastewater Treatment Plant Back To Normal After Third Illegal Chemical Dump In Charlotte Area


by Kirk Hawkins

BELMONT, N.C.--The Arby's fast food restaurant near Browntown Road and Park Street in Belmont remained closed Tuesday night after an illegal dumping was discovered in a grease trap. Test results showed ethanol and other fuels instead of PCB's. "It'll probably be a few weeks before we eat much fast food," said Belmont resident Justin Tadlock.

It's unclear how long the chemicals may have been sitting in the city's water system. Belmont Utility workers discovered them after a random check of the restaurant Monday morning. "One of our employees at the waste plant in our pre-treatment smelled the smell, and basically we reacted from there," said Belmont Utilities Director Chuck Flowers.

The Arby's grease trap was last checked in December. It's normally inspected every two to three months. But because of the incidents in Charlotte, Utility Officials in Belmont weren't taking any chances.

Belmont Police believe the suspected dumper got right off the freeway, in a large tanker type truck, 16 miles away from the site of another illegal dumping earlier this month in Charlotte. "I'm sure that plays a part in it. I'm sure that does," said Belmont Police Department Chief Charlie Franklin.

Police are now analyzing surveillance video from the restaurant and other nearby businesses.

They are trying to track down whoever is responsible for an extremely rare illegal dumping that hasn't happened in this city in at least 14 years. "I can't understand the mindset of some low life that would take this type of activity and do it," said Belmont City Manager Barry Webb.

Belmont City Officials say there is no threat to the water system. Belmont's City Manager told WCCB that the cleanup will cost the city no more than $100,000. If the dump had involved PCB's, it would have cost more than $500,000.

The first illegal dump happened at a shopping center on West Sugar Creek Road in Charlotte on February 6. The second was discovered at the Sugar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant on February 9. And the third was on Monday morning in Belmont.
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