Belmont officials said Tuesday that an illegal substance dumped into a grease trap connected to the city’s sanitary sewer system posed no threat to drinking water.
Authorities said tests of the material showed the presence of fuels such as benzene, ethanol and toluene.
City staff discovered the substance Monday at a grease trap at Arby’s restaurant on Park Street. Authorities said the substance had no connection to the restaurant operation.
Authorities said that as a precautionary measure, Belmont staff immediately blocked all sewage flow from the grease trap. This action was an attempt to keep the substance from reaching the sanitary sewer pipeline and wastewater treatment plant that discharges into the Catawba River. Officials said the wastewater flow was being diverted to a holding tank.
An initial news release said the substance contained PCBs, but authorities said Tuesday afternoon that a more extensive test showed there were no PCBs in the material and that the fuels would result in a much less severe impact on the city’s water treatment plant.
Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin suspected the dumping was an attempt by someone to avoid having to pay the costly fees for getting rid of compounds.
“The main thing is we need to find the culprit who did this,” he said. “We need to prosecute and see this person repay any of our expenses.”
Anyone with information about the illegal dumping should call the Belmont Police Department at 704-825-3792.