TCEQ Fines Quadvest for 48,000 Gallon Sewage Spill in Colony Ridge

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has fined Quadvest $5,625 for a 48,000-gallon sewage spill in Colony Ridge, a large and growing development in Liberty County near the San Jacinto East Fork and Plum Grove. Quadvest supplies water and sewer services for the development.

The violation occurred in Camino Real, a Colony Ridge subdivision with almost 3500 lots. It happened at a lift station approximately 1,000 feet north-northeast of the intersection of Paul Campbell Loop Road and Plum Drive.

Discharge with Bluish Color Kills Fish

The complainant alleged that the discharge had a bluish color and killed fish. The TCEQ complaint says people were exposed to unsafe levels of pollutants, however, no deaths were reported in relation to the incident except for fish.

Photo of discharge in Maple Branch Creek

TCEQ says Quadvest “failed to prevent the unauthorized discharge of wastewater into or adjacent to any water in the state. Specifically, on July 22, 2019, an electrical failure at Camino Real Lift Station-H located at 342 Road 5002 caused the pumps to fail, resulting in approximately 48,000 gallons of wastewater being discharged into Maple Branch Creek, killing approximately 30 fish.”

Cleanup and Fine Cost Quadvest More Than $105,000

In July, 2019, Quadvest cleaned up the mess. TCEQ estimated the cost at more than $100,000. Then in June 2020, Quadvest CEO Simon Sequeira agreed to pay an additional penalty of $5,625.

Previous Related Violations

During the year before the unauthorized discharge, the TCEQ issued four other notices of violations to Quadvest for:

  • Sewage overflowing from a manhole at an estimated rate of 10-25 gallons per minute
  • Failure to maintain an operational alarm system for emergency conditions
  • Twice failing to secure its lift station from intruders (August and November 2018)

None of the violations was self-reported. Click here for the full TCEQ report.

Part of Larger Problem

Since this incident, other sewage problems have occurred in Colony Ridge. Stormwater can wash this fecal contamination into adjoining streams and bayous which empty into the East Fork and Lake Houston, the source of drinking water for 2 million people.

More Colony Ridge fecal contamination bubbling up from underground and flowing toward Tarkenton Bayou. Photo taken in June 2020.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/4/2020

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The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.