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Faulty valve causes 135K gallons of sludge to be released into Galveston Bay

GALVESTON, Texas – A control system failure is to blame for 135,500 gallons of partially treated domestic sludge being released into Galveston Bay on Aug. 21, according to a press release.

The incident happened around 10:45 p.m. at the domestic Waste Water Treatment Plant at 5200 Port Industrial Road.

Reports said there have been no visible adverse impact to aquatic life.

The city of Galveston notified the appropriate local government officials and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's Regional Office.

TCEQ said a "faulty valve caused the release of some settled solids through a plant outfall that discharges directly to Galveston Bay."

The agency said samples in the area were clear "with no observable settled sludge or sewage debris," and many mullet were swimming around the outfall.

There are no known groundwater wells within a half mile of the spill site.

Officials are advising the public to avoid contact with waste material, soil or water in the area. They also advise the public to bathe and wash clothes as soon as possible if they come in contact with the waste material.

Fishing in the area is being strongly discouraged.

The WWTP is currently in operation and public drinking water is safe for consumption and use.

The unauthorized discharge is still under investigation by TCEQ.