Saturday, September 27, 2008

Update on Contamination of Bear Branch Creek

We'll bring you up to date here on steps being taken to address the Bear Branch Creek contamination, both short and long-term.

Kings Forest President Kevin Morley met this past week with Pat Meyers from Severn Trent, the company that manages the wastewater treatment plants throughout Kingwood. (They also manage all the fresh water and fire hydrant systems.)

Pat explained that these systems are owned by the City of Houston, and Severn Trent is the contract manager. Pat has been in charge of these facilities for 25 years.

As Pat described it, there are 42 lift stations throughout Kingwood and three processing plants in the area. The lift stations pump the sewage to the appropriate treatment plant. All three of the treatment plants have generators that kick in to keep the plant operating after a power outage.

For the 42 lift stations, however, Severn Trent has eight mobile generators -- enormous by homeowner standards – ranging from 150,000W to 500,000W depending on the size of the lift station. (The 500,000W generator is the size of an 18-wheeler). Severn Trent hauls these generators around to power up the lift stations.

In his 25 years in Kingwood, Pat said they've never had such a prolonged power outage that impacted so many of their stations. As a result, they were scrambling to move the generators around to try to prevent an overflow. Obviously, they were unable to keep up with it until the power began to come back online throughout Kingwood.

Pat said their first priority was to keep the fresh water sanitary (no 'boil-first' warnings had to be issued) and to keep the fire hydrants pressurized.

He also said that Severn Trent has been asking the City to provide more generators for backup without success.

Speaking for Kings Forest, Kevin said we'd work with Severn Trent to get what's needed to fix this problem once and for all. We'd raise awareness of the problem with downstream HOA's, KSA and/or the Super-neighborhood Council.

Severn Trent flushed Bear Branch Creek by opening up several fire hydrants and spread powdered chlorine to eliminate the odors and contamination. As of Saturday, September 27, the water is blackish, but clearer. It still exudes a sewer odor, but it's a significant improvement from last week. Kingwood Lake is showing signs of the contamination stagnating in the finger of water where the creek exits.

Kevin briefed City Councilman Mike Sullivan on the situation and the Severn Trent quick fix. Mike has promised his support in working toward a solution. The Kingwood Chronicle will publish an article this coming week in an effort to call attention to this problem.