48,000 Gallons of Fecal Contamination Found in Liberty County’s Colony Ridge Ditches, Streams; Problems Persist
Last year, the TCEQ found sewage coming from a lift station and sewers in Liberty County’s Colony Ridge development, the world’s largest trailer park. TCEQ estimates Quadvest, the water and sewer supplier in Colony Ridge, released as much as 48,000 gallons of sewage into Maple Branch Creek, a tributary of the East Fork, at a minimum, causing a fish kill (Page 51).
More recent independent laboratory testing has verified fecal contamination in at least two drainage ditches in Colony Ridge. Moreover, residents claim they have found fecal contamination in other Colony Ridge ditches and streams, too. It’s not clear whether those additional spills have been tested.
During heavy rains, fecal contamination can quickly wash downstream and eventually wind up in Lake Houston.
A major concern of residents is the frequency of sewage leaks.
Results of TCEQ Investigation
TCEQ cited Quadvest L.P., the sewage and water provider for Colony Ridge, for “unauthorized discharge of wastewater which resulted in a documented serious impact to the environment.”
A month after TCEQ documented this discharge, 33 inches of rain fell on nearby Plum Grove during TS Imelda.
More Recent Tests by Eastex Environmental Labs
Eastex Environmental Labs in Cold Springs collected and analyzed at least two sets of samples this year. The first was for Liberty County. The second was for Maria Acevedo, a concerned resident.
Both show significant fecal contamination.
First Eastex Report shows Fecal Contamination
Here are results of the first test and pictures of the sewage.
The first site on a ditch next to County Road 5023 showed 3090 and 3130 units of fecal coliform, with none detected in the control sample. Maria Acevedo photographed this problem on June 4, 2020.
Second Eastex Report Shows VERY STRONG Fecal Contamination
In the second lab report obtained by ReduceFlooding.com, Eastex Labs found 5120 units of fecal contamination per 100 milliliters in Frances Ditch on 6/19/2020. A second sample taken from the same location found 4870. A control sample detected none.
Residents who wish to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, contacted me about this site a week before Eastex sampled it.
Location of Second Sample Photographed on 6/12/2020
I photographed that ditch on Friday, 6/12/2020. It’s on the southeast corner of Colony Ridge. While there, I photographed cloudy water bubbling up out of the ground and running down a ditch toward Tarkington Bayou (see photos below).
Photos Taken Two Days Later Show Attempted Coverup
I came back two days later on 6/14 to explore the same area some more. The foul water still bubbled up, but someone with a bulldozer attempted to cover up the evidence in the ditch.
The Leaks Go On
If the incidents above were isolated, one might dismiss them. But they seem to be part of a larger, recurring pattern that neither Colony Ridge, Quadvest, nor Liberty County have stopped.
The largely Hispanic residents complain among themselves. But few reportedly file reports for fear of raising their profiles with authorities and perhaps answering difficult questions in court. Meanwhile, the sewage leaks go on. Both Colony Ridge residents and those downstream pay the price.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/23/2020
1029 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 278 since Imelda
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.