South Australia’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating whether traders have tipped oil down public drains in Adelaide’s Chinatown district.
- New pavers installed as part of a redevelopment of Adelaide’s Chinatown have been stained by oil
- The EPA is investigating if it was deliberate
- Council staff said businesses had been disposing of cooking waste in public drains
New pavers that are part of a $4 million redevelopment of Moonta Street have been stained by cooking oil, making them slippery and discoloured.
The issue was mentioned at an Adelaide City Council meeting last week.
Staff said nearby businesses had been disposing of their cooking waste in the public drains, with some oil spilling on the way and from empty barrels.
However, EPA operations director Andrew Pruzinski said the agency was only made aware of the issue yesterday after it was covered on ABC Radio Adelaide.
He said a review of CCTV was underway to see if the oil was being spilt while being taken to drums that are taken away to be disposed of correctly, or if the spillage was deliberate.
Businesses risk fines of up to $30,000 for illegal oil disposal.
Environment Minister David Speirs said illegal disposal of oil was a common problem.
‘This is a compliance issue that we look at regularly,” he said.
“Not everyone does the right thing.
“We do not want these products going into our stormwater system, which appears to be what’s happening here, so [it is] very disappointing. People need to do the right thing.”
Council favours education over fines
Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said fines were not on the cards yet.
“The best approach at this point is to try and educate the traders of their responsibility rather than enforcing penalties straight away,” Ms Verschoor said.
“We’ve been working with the Chinatown Association and we’re trying to get the materials and this information in multiple languages — and language is part of the problem.”
The pavers have not yet been sealed.
“We can’t seal at this stage because the oil is there,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The main thing we’re trying to do is get rid of the oil through cleaning methods, reduce the discolouration and then we will see what we can do.”
Moonta Street connects Gouger and Grote streets in Adelaide’s Chinatown, but also includes restaurants and supermarkets from other ethnicities.
It is just west of the Central Market, which is also being transformed, with the Central Market Arcade being demolished and replaced with a new mall.