Texas Commission on Environmental Quality provides safety tips following wastewater discharge

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

The discharge of wastewater following an internal pump failure at the city’s wastewater treatment plant led workers to quick action.

Mayor Thurman Bartie said he was informed of the incident and that work began immediately to correct it. He was also informed the discharge was contained, he said Tuesday.

Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 Manager Phil Kelley said he was also notified of the spill and after inspections there didn’t appear to be any abnormal impacts.

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The unauthorized spill of wastewater from Port Arthur’s main wastewater treatment plant at 6300 Procter St. Extension occurred at noon Sunday, according to information from the city.

A Texas Commission on Environmental Quality public notification form for wastewater discharges was posted on the City of Port Arthur’s Website on Monday.

Approximately 2.5 million gallons of sewage is estimated to have been spilled with between 200,000 to 500,000 gallons overflowed offsite into Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 canal.

No impact to aquatic life was observed as a result of the overflow, according to the news release.

The overflow remained primarily onsite at the treatment plant and the offsite was treated with chlorine tablets, city officials said.

The suspected cause of the spill is internal pump failure.

At the time of the news release, the overflow was being vacuumed off the ground and returned to the treatment process followed by chlorination of the impacted area.

TCEQ provided information on the safety of the water:

  • People using private drinking water supply wells located within one-half mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing and tooth brushing. People with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling.
  • People who purchase water from a public water supply may contact their supply distributor to determine if the water is safe for personal use.
  • The public should avoid contact with waste material, soil or water in the area potentially affected by the spill.
  • If the public comes into contact with waste material, soil, or water potentially affected by the spill they should bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.