SANGER — City officials have until March 22 to submit plans to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on how they expect to prevent future sewage overflow near Lois Road, south of the Walmart Distribution Center.
TCEQ investigator Karen Smith made an unannounced visit to Sanger on Feb. 14 to investigate a resident’s complaint that sewage was overflowing from a manhole into a pasture south of the distribution center.
“During the on-site visit, no active overflow was observed,” TCEQ spokesman Terry Clawson said.
But during the investigation, rags and debris from a recent overflow were observed near the manhole, and two nearby manhole covers were cracked, according to a report by Clawson and Smith.
The city was cited for an environmental violation and given a deadline to repair the damaged manhole covers, devise a plan to prevent future spillage and improve the way the city informs customers of sewage spills.
“The investigation documented a violation for failure to maintain manholes in the collection system and for not adequately cleaning up sanitary sewer overflow,” Clawson said.
The overflow occurred north of several acres of land where livestock graze and a small creek flows.
The resident who made the complaint to the TCEQ said the sewer spillage was flowing into the creek, but the TCEQ investigator found no evidence the spillage impacted the creek or the livestock, according to the report.
Since the violation, the city has repaired the manhole covers and cleaned the spill.
In Smith’s report, she told city officials she was concerned about a 6-inch gravity line that serves the area south of the distribution center.
She asked the city to assess the condition and grade of the sewer line in light of the recent blockage.
City Manager Mike Brice said he is aware of the city’s overflow and infiltration issues and that the city joined a TCEQ outreach program in 2010 that helps the city design, rehabilitate and secure funding for maintaining and improving the collection system.
He said the city is correcting the problems by replacing sewer lines and conducting a study this spring to identify additional steps that can be taken to prevent future spillage.
Recently, the city received a $316,000 community development block grant to replace and install a trunk line along Willow Lane into the sewer plant.
The line serves the older part of town and is a source of much of the rainwater infiltration. The line is expected to be replaced during 2013-14, Brice said.
According to Smith’s report, city officials said they believe building a new plant and conducting rehabilitation projects will resolve the city’s sewer system problem.
But Brice said some of the projects are on hold, pending better economic conditions.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is email@example.com.