DAVENPORT, Fla.-- A man illegally dumped about 10,000 gallons of used cooking oil in a Polk County vacant lot, deputies say, which one company says is the largest ever oil spill in the county.

  • Peter Rodriguez, 50, charged in illegal dump of cooking oil
  • 10,000 gallons of used cooking oil dumped in vacant lot
  • Environmental company said it's largest spill ever in Polk County
  • Davenport man told deputies he had to do it to keep his job

Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives on Thursday arrested 50-year-old Peter Rodriguez of Davenport on two counts of commercial dumping.

According to ACT Environmental, it's the largest spill ever found in Polk County.

Deputies said they found the pump truck near where the used oil was leaking from a drain spout behind a Dollar General store. Walgreens and Duke Energy own the adjoining property where the "oil sludge" was found, near the area of Sand Mine Road and U.S. Highway 27.

Deputies determined the truck was owned by Brownies Septic and Plumbing, and Rodriguez was the operator.

The Sheriff's Office said that Rodriguez admitted to dumping the sludge but said he had to do it to keep his job.

A representative from Brownies said they're not sure why Rodriguez dumped the oil in the vacant lot, as it's picked up from various locations and then disposed at a business location in Orlando to be refined and sold.

Sheriff Grady Judd said the "super spill" isn't hazardous to the public. There was no word on impacts to the environment or land.

Rodriguez was released from jail on $2,000 bond.