The City of San Angelo is now dealing with a second sewage leak.
“The secondary leak occurred at a siphon vault. It had reached levels high enough where it began discharging through a pipe installed on the side of the wall of the vault,“ said Allison Strube, Director of Water Utilities for the City of San Angelo.
City officials became aware of the leak on Monday.
“This leak occurred one mile upstream of FM 380 bridge,“ explained Strube.
Both leaks occurred at the same time, and both halted on their own.
“By the time that we were made aware of this event it was no longer leaking into the river, but we did have to put out the public notice and required notification to the surrounding area,“ added Strube.
Residents who get their water from private wells within a half-mile of the spills are being told to boil their water before using it. The duration of this notice is undetermined– it is the well-owners responsibility to check whether or not the water is safe to use.
“Well owners in the affected area should have their water tested and disinfected if possible,“ suggested Strube.
Officials still aren’t sure how long the repairs will take.
“With the amount of weather and rainfall that we’ve received, it’s very muddy in these parts of where these vaults are located. As soon as possible, we will be making repairs to that issue,“ explained Strube.
With potential rain in the forecast over the next few days, measures are being taken to prevent another spill from happening.
“We’re taking extra precautions in the event that we get nay more rain events like we saw Sunday morning,“ added Strube.
The Water Utilities Department learned Monday of a second spill of sewage into the Concho River that happened at the same time as a previously reported leak Sunday.
The second spill occurred about one mile upstream of the FM 380 bridge; the first spill was about one mile downstream of the bridge. Both were caused by torrential rains that overwhelmed the wastewater collection system.
The newly reported leak was from a siphon vault, which assists in the movement of sewage through wastewater mains. It is believed to have occurred from 12:45 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday – the same time as the originally reported leak from the Wastewater Treatment Facility. In total, 670,450 gallons of untreated wastewater is estimated to have entered the river. That equates to a rate of about 2,130 gallons per minute. Midway through the event, the river was flowing in San Angelo at a rate of nearly 900,000 gallons per minute.
The area that could be affected is the Concho River downstream from both locations, and private drinking water wells or river pumps near the river. With the heavy rains and high flows of the Concho River, the spill will be greatly diluted and the effects minimized by the time it reaches Ivie Reservoir, where it will be further diluted. Water from Ivie is pumped to San Angelo and treated at the water treatment plant before it is piped to customers. The spills have not threatened the City’s drinking water supply. No boil water notice is in effect.
Local government officials and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s regional office were notified of both spills. The wastewater discharge ended when high volumes in the pipeline reduced as rains slowed. City crews collected Concho River water samples to monitor any effects. Samples taken from the original leak were downstream of both spills and will be representative of both discharges. City crews are scheduling repairs to the siphon vault and cleaning spilled debris.
For more information, contact Water Utilities Director Allison Strube during business hours at 301 W. Beauregard Ave. or 325-657-4209.
People using private drinking water supply wells located within a half-mile of the spill sites 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. Individuals 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 water 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.