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Wastewater spill enters Garlic Creek

By Moses Leos III

An estimated 195,000 gallons of domestic wastewater spilled into Garlic Creek Tuesday following a suspected pump malfunction at a lift station that is currently under construction.

The spill happened at approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday at the FM 967 Lift Station. Domestic wastewater comes from  homes and road runoff.

According to a city of Buda press release, the location of the spill is FM 967, north of Hayley’s Way. 

The spill has no impact on Buda’s public water supply system, according to the city.

The domestic wastewater, however, spilled into Garlic Creek, east of FM 967. A portion of the spill, according to the release, may have been infiltration and inflow from the recent rain event. 

City Manager Kenneth Williams, along with Mike Beggs, Director of Public Works, and other government officials have been notified. 

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was notified and conducted an investigation at the site. 

The TCEQ has detected “no adverse effects due to this incident,” according to the release, along with no solids released. TCEQ also observed no fish kill.  

As a precaution, the TCEQ is asking those who use private drinking water supply wells located within a half-mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only distilled water or water boiled for one minute. 

Distilled or boiled water should be used for personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing and tooth brushing. 

Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling. 

In addition, people who purchase water from a public water supply may contact their water supply distributor to determine if the water is safe for personal use.

According to the TCEQ, 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.

Buda Water Specialist Brian Lillibridge said Mark’s Overlook’s Lodge was issued notification required by the state regarding the spill. 

But according to Lillibridge, due to recent rainwater runoff, there were no solids in Garlic Creek that needed to be cleaned up. 

Lillibridge said recent rains diluted any solids that may have spilled. 

“We don’t want something like this to happen,” Lillibridge said. “But runoff from the recent rain event helped a lot. With the overflow, no solids were observed. It was liquid, so there’s no solid to clean up.” 

The suspected cause was due to work conducted by a contractor installing new equipment when a bypass pump malfunctioned.

A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) line was also accidentally cut by the contractor and there was no alarm notification, according to the release. 

The bypass pump has been restored to operation and the SCADA communication line has been repaired and tested. 

The SCADA line, which is a land based line that transmits a high level alarm in case of emergency, is installed in all lift stations in Buda. 

The contractor performing the work will hire qualified personnel to obtain water quality samples of Garlic Creek.

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