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Volunteer Lake Alta Park Cleanup Results in Oil Spill

A recent volunteer effort to clean trash, tires and debris from the tiny Lake Alta Park resulted in the recovery of a huge mound of garbage, but the spilling of gallons of used motor oil, apparently by a city crew.

Alex Clemons

More than a dozen tires, a cable spool, and a large bucket of used motor oil were among items recovered from Lake Alta Park during a recent volunteer cleanup by local resident Alex Clemons. The oil was accidentally spilled after a city crew apparently used mechanical means to remove the bucket.

Resident Alex Clemons has lived on nearby Wiltshire Avenue his entire life and has conducted cleanups a half-dozen times. "I grew up in that park," Clemons said. "I've seen all kinds of wildlife there. There's a gopher tortoise burrow about a hundred feet away from the oil spill."

His most recent cleanup effort recovered 16 tires, some with steel rims attached. He has also retrieved cans of used oil from the park "six or seven times."

Alex Clemons

A black stain from spilled motor oil remains on Lake Alta Street where a large bucket of used oil was apparently crushed by equipment being used to remove tires and other debris collected from Lake Alto park by a volunteer.

Someone repeatedly dumps oil and tires there, Clemons said, adding he wished that the area could be monitored with a camera to identify the culprit.

Ironically, used oil can be recycled free at multiple garages and auto parts stores in town. On previous occasions he has brought the oil to Advanced Auto Parts, but this time assumed that city crews would do that.

The oil was in a large container that Clemons estimated contained at least six gallons of used motor oil, but it was apparently crushed by the equipment used.

"I reported it (to the city) on their website," Clemons told Lake Wales News. "I figured that the city was going to be smart enough to see that it's a bucket of oil. It had a lid and common sense says that you should just pick that up with your hands, not use a claw-truck. It's just laziness."

Tom Paulson

The spilled oil was spread by the vehicle's tires along Lake Alta Street to the intersection of Kissimmee Avenue, where the photo was taken.

The spilled oil left a black stain on the pavement and blackened soil nearby. The tires of passing vehicles have spread the oil to nearby streets. Clemons didn't witness the incident but said that "you could see the claw-truck marks on the pavement."

Of his repeated efforts to clean up the park, Clemons said "it's city owned property, why aren't they doing this?"


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