Power Outage Results in Wastewater Overflow and FAQ

A power outage near the intersection of Saratoga Boulevard and Greenwood Drive has caused a sewage overflow into the La Volla Creek (Oso Creek Tributary No. 10) from the lift station at the City of Corpus Christi’s (the “City’s”) Greenwood Wastewater Treatment Plant, at approximately 3:00 AM on Saturday, March 19, 2016. 

It is estimated that the spill resulted in a discharge of approximately 250,000 gallons of domestic wastewater into the adjacent area.  City crews responded to the spill area and the City has contacted appropriate officials, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Regional office.

The waters of La Volla Creek in the vicinity of the overflow will be tested and monitored by the City to determine the extent of pollution.  Additional advisories will be issued on the status of the water quality and when it is safe to resume normal use of the La Volla Creek.

Discharge of untreated sewage to La Volla Creek may adversely affect the quality of the surface waters. Citizens are advised to avoid swimming or fishing in the areas where warning signs are posted.

This spill does not affect the City of Corpus Christi customer’s drinking water.

The City is required by 30 Tex. Admin. Code Section 319.303(c) to issue the following precautionary statements:

  (1) Persons using private drinking water supply wells located within 1/2-mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing. Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling.

  (2) Persons who purchase water from a public water supply may contact their water supply distributor to determine if the water is safe for personal use.

  (3) The public should avoid contact with waste material, soil, or water in the area potentially affected by the spill.

  (4) If the public comes into contact with waste material, soil, or water potentially affected by the spill, they should bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.


Frequently Asked Questions About Incident

Was there any immediate danger to the public, and was there flooding in the La Volla Creek area?

No, there was not any immediate danger to the public, and the Police Department reported there was no flooding in that area. Also, the overflow did not affect the City of Corpus Christi public drinking water supply.


What is the extent of the overflow, and how much was leaked into the creek?

The overflow and amount that leaked into the creek was approximately 250,000 gallons.


What time did the power outage occur, and when was power restored?

The power outage occurred at 12:40am, and power was restored at 10:15am on 03/19/16.


What kind of sampling was done by the City in response to this leak?

The City collected bacteriological and chemical samples at the site of the overflow as well as upstream and downstream from the overflow.


What is the required timeline to send out public notification and how long did it take for the City to do so?

Based on Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) guidelines, the City must issue a public notification for sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) within 24 hours after having knowledge of an overflow of at least 100,000 gallons along with signage alerting the public. The City issued a public notification within 7 hours to the TCEQ, assessed the site and volume of the SSO, put up signage, and issued a news release within 9 hours after having knowledge the overflow exceeded 100,000 gallons.


What direction does the creek flow, and in which direction did the overflow go?

The creek flows from the Greenwood Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) southeast into La Volla Creek, and downstream towards Oso Creek, which is the direction of the overflow.


Are we currently working at the spill site to contain the leak?

No, after power was restored, the leak ceased. City crews have worked to clean up the site since the power restoration and cessation of the leak.