NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk restaurant is accused of leaking sewage into Knitting Mill Creek.
According to a press release, Norfolk’s Department of Public Works- Storm Water Environmental Division notified the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) about the spill on September 1 when a city inspector found a smell and cloudy water in the creek.
DEQ informed the owner of Mack’s Barge, located at 4300 Colley Avenue, of a sewage discharge into the creek, and issued a request for corrective action.
City inspectors and the Norfolk Department of Public Health also issued notices of violation when the discharge was discovered.
A plumber, hired by Mack’s Barge, was observed making corrections on September 1.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) worked with a wildlife rehabilitator to collect wildlife carcasses from the area for testing. Test results are still pending.
After follow-up site visits on September 2 and 6, DEQ confirmed that no new discharge was occurring.
Residents can report sick or dead wildlife in connection with the spill using a link HERE.
In an exclusive interview with 10 On Your Side, the owner of Mack’s Barge disputed the claims.
“First of all it is a manufactured bold-faced lie and that person needs to be held accountable,” said Geoff Fout, stating he did not dump sewage into Knitting Mill Creek as inspectors claim.
“We never had sewage or waste going into the water,” Fout told 10 On Your Side.
Fout said he had a sanitary system issue with a small crack in what is called the “clean out” cap of a pipe that is underground next to his restaurant.
He is adamant no raw sewage or anything like it went from that pipe to the creek.
“That is 30 feet from the rip-rap, and there was no way in hell we would have allowed waste to get in the creek.”
Fout says the pipe in question had a small crack that would only squeeze out liquids.
“It’s our dishwater, hand sink water, it could be whatever. Human waste? Yes, there could be some in there. It all gets pumped out, and it all stayed in a two-by-two foot area by our clean-out pipe.”
The ground there has new dirt put down replacing the dirt that was impacted by the leaking.
“If it were the case that we were dumping sewage into the creek … we would have been shut down and rightfully so … but we weren’t.”
Fout pointed to his plumbing receipts. Knowing he had an issue on August 16, before inspectors came out, he called a plumber and thought the cracked pipe was fixed.
After the city inspector comes out last Thursday, September 1, that same day Fout gets the plumber to come back out, to again, fix the pipe.
Fout claims the pipe problem was fixed the same day the inspectors came to the site.
“That was taken care of, and now it is fixed 100%.”
Fout has until Monday, Sept. 12, to fix what inspectors think is wrong.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.