GALVESTON, Texas - Equipment malfunction is to blame for the release of 135,000 gallons of partially treated, aerated sludge into Galveston Bay on Tuesday, according to the city.
At about 10:15 a.m., the City of Galveston Main Wastewater Treatment Plant at 5200 Port Industrial Road released 135,000 gallons of sludge after authorities said a unit failed.
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The city has removed the unit at which the failure happened.
The city will send water samples for testing.
No adverse impacts to aquatic life have been noted, but the city will continue to monitor the bay closely.
The release has no impact on the city's drinking water supply.
The city said people should avoid contact with the waste material, soil or water potentially affected by the spill.
Fishing in the area affected by the spill is strongly discouraged and there is a possibility that fish will die from the release, according to Sarah Gossett, with the nonprofit Galveston Bay Foundation.
Environmental advocates expressed concerns, noting this is the second 135,000-gallon leak from the new plant, which opened in 2016.
"Every time you have such a massive dumping event like this, you're going to have human health issues, such as all the bacteria, viruses (and) pathogens in this untreated sludge," Gossett said.
Anyone with questions or concerns can call the City Public Information Office at 409-797-3546.
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