Water from Banquete and Petronila Creek was contaminated from waste water discharge by Nueces County Water Control and Improvement District No. 5, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has confirmed.
Susan Clewis, the regional director for TCEQ offices in Corpus Christi, said a wastewater treatment plant in the western part of Nueces County was found to have accidentally released untreated wastewater into the creek.
"We had done a routine investigation and did a follow-up on that," she said. "As a result, we found they had an incident of untreated wastewater sludge being released into the (creek)."
The contamination, Clewis added, did not appear to have spread beyond the site of the initial release.
"It was an isolated incident," she said. "It didn't appear to travel downstream."
District 34 State Rep. Abel Herrero said in a prepared statement that his office was made aware of the situation late last month and is awaiting a ruling from the TCEQ on what action might be taken against the WCID. In the meantime, he said, residents in the Banquete and Petronila areas should exercise caution with their drinking water.
"Until more information is known on the effects of this contamination, we are asking residents to avoid using their creeks," he said. "Although additional information is still pending, we want to give immediate notice for the safety and well-being of the families and children who live near those creeks."
Clewis said enforcement action against the WCID was submitted to TCEQ offices in Austin for review last week. A ruling could be issued within the next three to six months.