Bayou City Waterkeeper’s monthly Poo Report monitors the City of Houston’s compliance with the consent decree.
In Spring 2021, a federal judge in Texas approved a legal settlement requiring the City of Houston to spend $2 billion on major upgrades to its sanitary sewer system over the next 15 years. As the City invests, our Monthly Poo Report aims to help our community to see how this investment is (or is not) making a difference across Houston and closely monitor the City’s compliance with the consent decree. In 2018, Bayou City Waterkeeper uncovered these violations after combing through five years of data submitted by the City of Houston to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. We identified thousands of illegal overflows that had occurred across the City’s massive sanitary sewer system and had polluted our local bayous and creeks, as well as neighborhood parks and school playgrounds. This led us to serve the City of Houston with a notice of intent to sue under the Clean Water Act, which prompted the United States and the State of Texas to file an enforcement action two months later.
This map looks at the data received so far from the city through its consent decree-mandated reports, alongside the U.S. Census Bureau data reflecting income and race or ethnicity. These visualizations reveal ongoing sewer overflows across the city, both from the city-owned system and problems on private property, for which the city has disclaimed any responsibility.
September & October 2021
Impact Fund: After Years of Suffering By Low-Income and BIPOC Communities, Court Orders Houston to Obey Clean Water Act and Invest $2BN on Major Upgrades to Sewer System
Houston Chronicle: Judge OKs federal consent decree requiring Houston to make $2 billion in sewer upgrades
Sierra Club: Houston to Upgrade Sanitary Sewer System
Houston Public Media: How is the City Addressing Thousands of Sewage Overflows?
Texas Observer: Government Asks Court for More Time To Fix Houston’s Decades-Long Sewage Problem