A restaurant in Owen Sound that faced unfounded allegations of dumping grease down a sewer has been vindicated by a contractor's report.
Bayshore Broadcasting News obtained a copy of a report prepared by the contractor who pumped out the catch basin near Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on 16th Street East in Owen Sound. It confirms there was no visible evidence of any oil.
The contractor pumped out the catch basin on July 2, 2019 -- days after investigations by the city's by-law department and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks were prompted by a social media video of a cameraman confronting employees of the restaurant. The cameraman alleged restaurant employees had poured used cooking oil, or grease, down a catch basin behind the restaurant.
The video did not actually show employees dumping anything.
The report prepared by the contractor who pumped out the catch basin concludes there was water, sand and loose aggregate material present and no visible evidence of any other contaminants.
"We take our responsibility to properly dispose of waste very seriously, and have strict protocols governing how waste is disposed," a Popeyes spokesperson says in a statement. "We are committed to ensuring that these procedures are followed properly, and are pleased with the recent findings indicating waste was properly disposed of."
In a statement, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks says it takes all threats to the environment very seriously.
"Ministry staff respond to active incidents as soon as possible to assess the nature and extent of any potential environmental impacts that may occur as a result of a spill," the statment explains. "Ministry staff continued to follow this issue closely."
The Ministry confirms its response to this incident is now closed.
"The contractor advised that there was no visible evidence of any oil in the catch basin," the Ministry statement says.
A Popeyes spokesperson says the restaurant's internal investigation also confirmed no staff member dumped any used cooking oil into the catch basin.
The city closed its bylaw investigation into the complaint long ago after no evidence was found that any oil was present in its storm water collection system.