News Flash

City Newsroom

Posted on: July 21, 2022

Oil Dumped in Storm Drain Recovered Thanks to Resident Tip

TDEC States One Gallon of Oil Can Potentially Contaminate One Million Gallons of Water
in Old Hickory Lake

GALLATIN –Gallatin’s Stormwater Utility was notified of an illicit discharge in a subdivision northwest of downtown Gallatin. Oil had been poured down the storm drain by a homeowner after changing oil in their car. Stormwater inspector Rick Roark was dispatched to the scene and verified the oil in the storm drain.

“What many people don’t understand is stormwater drains send water directly to creeks, streams and the lake where we also happen to swim, fish and get our drinking water,” said Mayor Paige Brown. “Polluting our water is unacceptable, and I commend the resident who immediately notified the Stormwater Utility this was going on.”

Because the affected storm drain was located in a new development still partially under contstuction, there was a protective inlet bag under the storm grate which captured most of the dumped oil. The homeowners association has notified the home owner that they will be expected to repay the HOA for the costs associated with the oil-waste removal. Additionally, the HOA distributed information to all residents about the importance of keeping household products, trash and vegetation clippings out of our storm drain systems.

Residents who witness oil or other illicit discharges into stormwater drains are urged to contact the Gallatin Stormwater Utility at 615-451-5965 or email

According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, spilling a single gallon of oil can contaminate as much as one million gallons of water, and a pint of oil in a lake could cover the surface area of an acre of water. Tennessee law (TCA 68-211-1016) prohibits discharging oil into sewers, drainage systems, septic tanks, surface waters, groundwaters, water courses or marine waters. Violators can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor for each day the violation continues, which can include a daily fine and jail time.

The Used Oil Collection Act of 1993 was enacted by the General Assembly in April, 1993 to reduce the amount of improperly disposed used oil by providing incentives to increase the number of public collection facilities for used oil. Today, do-it-yourselfers in Tennessee have access to more than 1,100 used oil collection sites.

Examples of Used Oil Collection Sites in Gallatin

O’Reilly Auto Parts on 447 E Broadway (615) 442-0542
 AutoZone Auto Parts 110 E Broadway (615) 452-2200
Advance Auto Parts 160 W Broadway (615) 230-9896
Resource Authority of Sumner County 625 Rappahannock Wire Road (615) 452-1114