Sanitary sewer overflow impacts Sims Bayou

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HOUSTON, Tx. -  The bad news bayous in Houston keep stinking up the place. This time it's Sims Bayou, where almost 125,000 gallons of untreated wastewater comingled with storm water from this weekends` rains.

Even more gross, some of it was bubbling up out of a manhole cover off of I-45 near 610, on the southeast side of town.

Gary Norman with the City of Houston Public Works explains. “We had a relatively large amount of rain, about 2 inches of rain over a very short period of time, that ended up surcharging the system....compounding that was the fact that we`re doing some work on the input into our plant and had we know the rainfall was going to be of such an intensity, we would have made an adjustment… The construction was a contributing factor, but the main cause of this particular sanitary sewer overflow was the intense rain over a very short period of time.”

This happened on a much larger scale back in October, with nearly 2 million gallons effecting 5 bayous - including Sims. This time just enough seeped out to require a report for the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

No one`s drinking water was ever at risk, and there was no need to boil your water.

“This is not a Houston-centric problem, this happens in all cities, especially those that are older cities with aging infrastructure,” says Norman. “You got to remember too, we have put $1 billion into the sanitary sewer system over the last ten years in rehab and upgrade work. We’re going to put another $925 million into the system going forward in the next 5 years, and here just in this fiscal year, we’ve put an additional $38 million over and above what we had budgeted.”

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