Liberty Hill resident discovers unauthorized wastewater release into river

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A resident in Liberty Hill recently discovered solid waste discharges in the South San Gabriel River, leading to the city admitting there had been a spill at the local wastewater treatment plant.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigators found 18 inches of wastewater solids at the river discharge point from the Liberty Hill South Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant on March 18 after being alerted to the issue by resident Stephanie Morris, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Officials of Liberty Hill, west of Georgetown, told the commission on March 27 that 3,000 gallons of treated wastewater containing some solids had been spilled from the plant, due to a construction accident that damaged the systems used to monitor and operate the plant remotely.

The newspaper noted that TCEQ reports show this was the second unauthorized discharge into the South San Gabriel River from the plant in a 10-month period, after city leaders pledged they would be more transparent in reporting future incidents.

Georgetown resident LaWann Tull told the American-Statesman that Liberty Hill Mayor Rick Hall and Williamson County Commissioner Valerie Covey said during a January meeting they would update residents about monthly discharges from the plant.

“We were never told about anything, much less 18 inches of solids,” Covey told the newspaper. “We are working to keep Liberty Hill in compliance so people can go in the river, let their dogs out in it and let their grandkids in.”

Hall did not respond to requests for comment from the American-Statesman, and Covey could not be reached for comment. The public relations firm Buie & Co. told the newspaper there was confusion about who was supposed to distribute monthly discharge reports to residents and that the city is now creating a webpage to provide updates on the treatment plant’s activities.

 

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