Spill Investigation Not All Bad News for Kinston
Posted October 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
KINSTON — The State Bureau of Investigation has been looking at evidence of sewage spills in the city of Kinston for several weeks with the probe focused on tthe spills themselves, and the way the plant documented them.
Monday, investigators partially cleared the city of blame, so that part of the news is good for Kinston. But, an investigator with the SBI's Environmental Crimes Unit says the case isn't closed yet. They're still investigating city sewage workers in connection with charges of falsifying records.
Kinston has had its troubles keeping sewage where it's supposed to be. From June 1996 until April 1997, five spills were discovered at city wastewater treatment plants. The state said the spills went unreported, and it called in the SBI's environmental crimes unit.
At the time, according to Neuse River Keeper Rick Dove, environmentalists charged a crime had already been committed.
The state did something about it. The result of its investigation is that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on Kinston's part. The report also states there is no evidence of raw sewage from Kinston's plants making it to the Neuse.
Kinston City Manager David Walker says the city was a victim of bad timing.
Kinston is not off the hook, however. The SBI confirms it is continuing a second probe, possibly involving falsification of records.
The state fined Kinston 72,000 dollars months before the SBI report came out. The city says it will use that report to help fight for a repeal of at least part of that fine. Investigators say their second probe into Kinston's sewage practices will be finished in the near future.