Home / News / Raw sewage flows into Killeen creek and Lampasas River, residents say

Raw sewage flows into Killeen creek and Lampasas River, residents say

Mar 15, 2023Mar 15, 2023


Killeen residents along a stretch of Reece Creek say they are concerned about dead fish, water quality and other costs associated with a sewer leak that spilled about 125,000 gallons of raw sewage, including toilet paper, into the local water way.

The sewage spill began early last week, according to southwest Killeen residents — days ahead of when city officials say the leak happened.

The City of Killeen issued a news release at 4:59 p.m. Monday saying they had contained a sewage leak into Reece Creek caused by the "rupture of a domestic force main pipe" at "Wastewater Treatment Facility: City of Killeen, Lift Station #20."

"Crews responded at 5:30 p.m. on June 4 and conducted a thorough inspection in the area southeast of Texas A&M Central Texas, which is adjacent to Reece Creek where the sewage was entering," according to the city's release.

Local resident Michael White said he was "dumbfounded by the lack of response and how long it took to get the situation brought to the public eye."

White does not believe that the City of Killeen had completed the containment process when the release was issued.

"I had TCEQ and City of Killeen reps on my property yesterday (Monday) and heard what was said and saw the measurements they took," White said in an email to the Herald. He believes the waste has reached Stillhouse Hollow Lake by way of the Lampasas River from Reece Creek.

"(It) killed everything in the creek, fish, turtles, frogs," White wrote in an email to the Herald. He said it has affected all other wildlife that depend on the water source.

According to White, nothing was "contained."

"They stopped the leak maybe, but zero containment nor effort to do so," White said.

Tony Estes, another property owner on the creek, said he noticed signs like murky, smelly water as early as May 28.

"I have a low water crossing and I noticed the water becoming murky where it is usually crystal clear," Estes said. "I thought maybe someone had dumped garbage upstream or perhaps a sewer pipe leak from Fort Cavazos."

Estes’ land backs up to property owned by Fort Cavazos, so his first thought was to contact officials on post to find out what had happened upstream from him.

"Someone from DPW (Fort Cavazos Directorate of Public Works) came out to look and could find nothing on the Fort's property," Estes said.

By Sunday, Estes said the smell coming from the creek and visible pieces of toilet paper were obvious signs that something was definitely wrong. He hiked up the creek about four miles, following both forks — south and north — and came upon a hole in the ground where raw sewage was spewing out.

Estes first called the Killeen Police Department, then the City of Killeen.

"Within the hour there were representatives from the City at my house," Estes said.

White sent emails to the city Sunday afternoon when he noticed the discolored water and odor coming from the creek. White said he spoke to city representatives about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when they came to his home. White's property abuts Estes’ land and carries about 400 meters of creek on his property.

"I believe this to be a direct safety hazard to humans, wildlife and our watershed," White said in an email to the Herald. "(It runs) into Reece Creek which runs through our property and into the Lampasass River three miles downstream, which becomes Stillhouse Hollow Reserve."

According to the release from the City, they have had staff working continuously since the discovery and are working closely with environmental agencies and additional contractors to resolve the leak.

"This spill is contained, however, crews will be sampling the site until all test results return in the clear," the release said.

The Herald reached out to the City of Killeen, City Engineer Andrew Zagars for an update on the situation, but as of midday has not received a response.

The Herald also submitted questions regarding the handling of the leak to TCEQ, but as of midday has not received a response.

[email protected] | 254-501-7551


Interesting that when you read about problems like this, "Killeen" is always mentioned

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