An oil change usually costs less than $30, but Signal Hill taxpayers recently shelled out $15,345 for one.
That's how much it cost the city to clean up after a man changed the oil in a friend's car while it was parked at the northeast corner of Hill Street and Walnut Avenue.
The oil flowed into a storm drain inlet at the intersection and spread to a rainwater detention basin at the northeast corner of Walnut and Pacific Coast Highway. It also got into another storm drain beyond that holding pond.
"We caught him in the act," said Public Works Director Richard Lundahl. "His five quarts of oil caused a $15,000 problem." Police declined to identify the man, saying the incident is under investigation.