This week's water and wastewater news is dominated by the fallout from Hurricane Harvey
Editor's Note: Here are a few of the top water and wastewater treatment headlines this week surrounding Hurricane Harvey. We're talking to some treatment plant operators in the area and should have some more detailed stories about the aftermath and cleanup process in the coming days.
As of Monday, Sept. 4, more than 800 wastewater treatment plants still suffered from setbacks related to Hurricane Harvey making landfall throughout southeastern Texas and Louisiana.
According to the U.S. EPA, 1,656 of approximately 2,469 wastewater plants were fully operational Monday.
Officials also reported wastewater releases from sanitary sewers that could be public health risks.
The EPA also estimated that at least 13 toxic waste sites in Texas were damaged by Harvey, and that industrial waste from petrochemical companies, acid compounds, solvents and pesticides could be mixing with flood waters.
Water Service Returning to Beaumont
Water service is coming back in the city of Beaumont, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey knocked its drinking water system offline late last week.
A population of nearly 120,000 in eastern Houston, the residents of Beaumont were without water for most of Labor Day Weekend.
Crews worked to fix the city’s water treatment plant after the Neches River flooded its main intake system and the plant experienced a failure of its backup pumps.
On Friday, Sept. 1, Beaumont residents waited in a line longer than a mile long to get bottled water.
Source: WREG News
Army Reserve Rescues Treatment Plant Workers
The U.S. Army Reserve saved the lives of four wastewater treatment plant employees in Conroe, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey.
Soldiers from the 1-158th Assault Helicopter Battalion, Army Reserve Aviation Command responded to the stranded employees during emergency evacuation of the area.
The road leading to the plant was flooded with turbulent water, and the plant was only accessible via helicopter. Local officials called the Army Reserve when they realized they couldn’t rescue the workers.
Source: Army Reserve News
Corpus Christi Plants Up and Running
Two water treatment plants in Corpus Christi, Texas, were among the first to get knocked offline as Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 26.
Power was restored to the facilities late that evening, although boil-water notices remained in effect.
Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb reported power was online for the O.N. Stevens Water Plant and the Staples Street Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Evacuees from the city started returning to their homes Aug. 27, although most of the area was still without electricity.