Bourbeuse River Clean Stream Team No. 3 is offering a $1,000 reward to find the person responsible for dumping oil into the river.
The group announced it was offering $1,000 for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the parties responsible for the illegal dumping of oil.
About 20 gallons of used motor oil was dumped into the river from a 55-gallon steel drum.
Missouri Conservation agent Ben Pursley told The Missourian he discovered the illegal spill Saturday, Nov. 24, while on his regular patrols.
Missouri Conservation Department crews worked to remove oil from the Reiker Ford Conservation Area.
“The barrel was spilled on the gravel bar right on the shoulder of the road,” he said. “The barrel was partially open and it looks like about 20 gallons of what appears to be used motor oil had spilled into the water.”
Pursley added the barrel and its contents were intentionally dumped and may have come from a mechanic shop or other industrial facility.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was contacted along with the Environmental Protection Agency to assess damages and begin the cleanup of the oil, which Pursley said has involved removal of gravel and topsoil in the river crossing area.
Although the immediate hazards to wildlife were unknown and there are no current hazards to the public from the oil, Pursley said if there was a fish kill due to the contamination, it can’t be proved at this time.
If so, the responsible parties, if convicted, could be forced to pay restitution to the state of Missouri for the dead fish.
Clean Stream Team No. 3 is advising anyone with information to contact Pursley, 636-744-2974; the Operation Game Thief, 1-800-392-1111; or the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, 636-583-2567.