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Energy & Environment

Uptown Building Owner Fined For Nov. Fuel Spill

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue volunteers rescued ducks after the spill into the Little Sugar Creek.

The City of Charlotte has fined owners of the NASCAR Plaza building in uptown Charlotte for a November fuel spill that killed and injured wildlife in nearby Little Sugar Creek. City officials say cleanup costs for building owner Parkway Properties totaled about $83,000 - including a $4,200 fine.

About 1,000 gallons of diesel leaked November 24 from an emergency generator atop the 20-story building. The oil flowed out of the building through storm drains, and into the creek. Volunteers later found ducks, turtles and fish dead. They rescued other turtles and ducks covered in oil.

Parkway said in December its contractor had cleaned up the spill. The costs included nearly $38,000 for the cleanup and $36,000 to upgrade the generator’s fuel storage and supply system. The company also donated $5,000 to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, which rescued the ducks and turtles.

Parkway was fined under the city’s Stormwater Pollution Control Ordinance, which guides penalties based on the environmental impacts of a spill, the violator’s responsiveness and past history.

Money collected from penalties like this one goes into a state fund that eventually goes into the state public schools budget.

City officials said Charlotte Fire Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services were first on the scene after the spill. Most of the spill was cleaned up within three days. Officials estimate that 90 percent of the oil was recovered.