February 18, 2014 at 3:08 PM
More extensive tests reveal no PCBs in Belmont, NC, sewer system
WBT Radio News


After initial testing revealed the potential presence of PCB's in a substance illegally dumped in the City of Belmont's sewer system Monday, Belmont City Manager Barry Webb issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying more extensive testing had revealed no PCB's in the substance.

The newest statement continued to emphasize that there was no danger to the drinking water supply, even with the substance dumped into the system's sanitary sewer system.

"There is no problem at all in the public's use of water for drinking or any other purpose," the City's statement said.

Police Chief Charlie Franklin earlier Tuesday stopped short of definitively linking Monday's incident with the activity in Charlotte where PCB's were found in recent weeks in the sewer system there.

The substance Monday in Belmont was found in a grease trap at an Arby's restaurant on Park Street near I-85. Belmont utilities director Chuck Flowers said the department stepped up inspections of traps after the incident in Charlotte.

Initial test results determined the potential presence of PCB's, which have been outlawed since the 1970's. While the more extensive tests ruled out PCB's, the city's statement said there is a presence of fuels such as benzene, ethanol and toluene. But it said these materials result in a much less severe impact on the City's wastewater treatment plant.

The flow of wastewater into the Catawba River was shut off as tests continued on the water.

"You can't come into contact with it unless you douse yourself in our system," Flowers said.

The city had said earlier Tuesday that it would form a task force to investigate, similar to the city of Charlotte's response after PCB's were found Feb. 6 at the Mallard Creek wastewater treatment facility. In the later statement, the City Manager said Belmont will continue testing until all illegal substances are no longer present.

Franklin, Belmont's police chief, said the group would request surveillance video from the Arby's, as well as grease trap service records from other restaurants.

"It's just a matter of tracking the information down," Franklin said.

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