Public works employees in Harker Heights finished cleaning up thousands of gallons of sewage that overflowed on Wednesday after heavy rainfall, a city official said on Friday.

“Debris from the overflow was cleaned up late yesterday afternoon and again (Friday) morning,” said Mark A. Hyde, public works director for Harker Heights.

The spill of 325,000 gallons happened at the city’s Wastewater Collection System near North Amy Lane along South Nolan Creek, according to the city. The cause of the spill was due to heavy rainfall and rainwater entering the wastewater collection system.

“Storm water enters the wastewater collection system through defects in the pipes, manholes and cleanouts,” Hyde said.

Around 3.75 inches of rain fell in a 30-hour period in the area, according to the city.

Projects

Hyde said the department is preparing a list of capital improvement projects for the city’s sanitary sewer system.

“We’re meeting with the city’s consulting engineer for consideration in entering into another Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative (SSOI) with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” Hyde said.

The initiative focuses on reducing or eliminating overflows in wastewater collection systems.

“Once the TCEQ outlines the elements of another proposed SSOI program for the city, staff will take the proposal to the city council for consideration,” Hyde said.

The city already has spent around $2.5 million on rehabilitation projects.

“The city spent an average of $250,000 per year on sanitary sewer rehabilitation projects city-wide” from 2007 to 2017,” Hyde said.

The treatment plant is located adjacent to South Nolan Creek, with a 100-year floodplain surrounding the plant.

“The plant itself is elevated out of the floodplain,” Hyde said, adding that the location was approved by the TCEQ.

“Wastewater treatment plants generally are located at the lowest point of the drainage basin within cities so gravity sanitary sewers can be utilized throughout the city,” he said.

“The low points in a city are usually along streams and creeks.”

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