On Friday, June 17, the City of Round Rock found and reported an unauthorized discharge of raw sewage from a manhole located along Brushy Creek. The spill is believed to have occurred as the result of a contractor error the day before, during ongoing expansion work at the East Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is located at 3939 E. Palm Valley Blvd.
Employees with the City’s Utilities and Environmental Services Department were conducting a regular inspection along Brushy Creek Friday morning and noticed dead fish at the low water crossings at Red Bud Lane (County Road 122) and County Road 123. The employees inspected the area and found a manhole located upstream of the wastewater treatment plant that showed signs of having previously overflowed. City staff notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and began cleanup efforts of the dead fish; a TCEQ official on site provided a rough estimate of approximately 250 fish that were killed as a result of the discharge.
At this time, it appears that the contractor working for the City had been working on a line between the plant’s preliminary treatment unit and an aeration basin beginning Thursday morning, and the flow to that line had been shut off during the work. Due to the length of time that the flow was reduced, wastewater backed up into the collection system’s main interceptor along Brushy Creek and overflowed from the manhole into the creek. City staff believes the spill occurred in the evening hours on Thursday but are still reviewing records to determine the duration and the volume of the spill.
The spill was an isolated event related to the expansion construction at the wastewater plant. The plant has recently experienced other issues related to increased flow that the City of Round Rock and its partner cities that have ownership in the regional plant have been making strides toward addressing. For more information on that issue, visit roundrocktexas.gov/wwtpexpansion.
Signs have been placed along a portion of Brushy Creek downstream from the plant since March due to the previous increased flows to the plant, advising residents to stay out of the creek. That advisory remains in effect, and any further guidance from TCEQ related to this event will be provided by the City if advised to do so.