Caught on camera: Mount Vernon restaurant employees allegedly dump waste into storm drains
Public works officials in Mount Vernon are trying to put a stop to restaurants and contractors from illegally dumping waste into storm water drains.
The latest incident, caught on video from an anonymous citizen, appears to show Chicken Hut employees pouring restaurant waste directly into the drains on North Third Avenue.
The restaurant faces two summons for $20,000.
The pipes feed directly into the Hutchinson and Bronx rivers, polluting the water and costing taxpayers to fix the pipes, officials say.
In fact, the city is still in the middle of a 2018 federal lawsuit for allegedly discharging raw sewage into the rivers, similar to what the restaurants are allegedly doing on a smaller scale. The EPA is threatening the city with a $38,000 fine per violation per day unless a settlement is reached.
"The implications are very serious here from an economic standpoint and from a taxpayer standpoint. So not only is it the right thing to do, but it's also the proper economic thing to do," says Mount Vernon Department of Public Works Commissioner Mark Ederer.
The city has issued fines in 15 illicit discharge incidents as part of the 'Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program' this year.
"I'm not saying everybody's doing it, but we're only getting the tip of the iceberg," Erderer says.
Restaurant employees deny having anything to do with the illegal waste removal in the video.
The city is expected back in court in early 2020, according to officials.