Mercury Safeguards Continue to Face Attack in South Houston

Kristen Schlemmer | May 8, 2019

UPDATE 11/18/2019: This morning in Austin, Bayou City Waterkeeper and Caring for Pasadena Communities (represented by Lone Star Legal Aid) participated in a preliminary hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings and obtained official party status. Our challenge will go to trial (in a proceeding called a contested case hearing) in March 2020. We’ll ask the judge to retain current testing requirements. To show your support, please sign our petition.

Late last year Bayou City Waterkeeper opposed the TCEQ’s decision to allow the City of South Houston to amend its wastewater permit. The city sought to remove all safeguards on mercury discharges passing through its wastewater treatment facility – despite having past permit violations relating to its mercury discharge. The change reportedly will save South Houston $12,000 each year, and potentially allow mercury to pass undetected from the facility into Berry Bayou and on to Galveston Bay.

Although the Executive Director acknowledged Bayou City Waterkeeper’s comments, no changes to the draft permit were made. Today, we requested a contested case hearing and reconsideration of the decision to address key factual and legal issues missed by the TCEQ. Bayou City Waterkeeper urges the TCEQ to reject the permit amendment and require continued testing and monitoring for mercury.

 

Kristen Schlemmer is Legal Director for Bayou City Waterkeeper.