WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCBD) – Clean-up efforts are underway after Charleston officials said cooking oil and grease from a West Ashley restaurant ended up in a nearby pond.
According to city officials, Rio Chico Mexican Restaurant on Magwood Drive was issued a Notice of Violation on Friday for discharging cooking oil and grease into their parking lot. The restaurant has seven days to clean up and correct the issue.
Matthew Fountain is the Director of Stormwater Management for the City of Charleston. He said the oil and grease in the parking lot were picked up by water and then flowed into an inlet before eventually traveling down a pipe and into the nearby pond along Ashley Crossing Dr.
“Once that’s in the environment it’s hard to get it to break down,” said Fountain.
City officials said if the issue is not resolved in the seven-day window, the business will be issued a summons and will be taken to court.
News 2 visited Rio Chico and spoke with the manager. He did not want to go on camera but said the incident happened because a line that leads from the kitchen to the outside area was broken and therefore leaked the materials. He said the oil and grease are usually disposed of in a designated dumpster behind the restaurant. The manager told News 2 that the leak has been fixed.
On Monday, an environmental recovery company hired by Rio Chico was at the pond, cleaning up the mess.
Meanwhile, for volunteers like Lynn Parker, it is crunch time to save the animals who call the pond home.
“We’ve just been going around by water, by land, and shaking trees if there are any birds in there. Doing what we can,” Parker.
Parker credits Christopher Jordan with the Carolina Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for spearheading the rescue efforts.
According to Parker, Green Herons, Ospreys, and turtles are just a few of the animals feeling the impact of this. She said some have even died as a result.