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Contact: Gretchen Reuwer, NBU Public Affairs Manager, (830) 629-8486

Heavy rains lead to sewage overflow

NEW BRAUNFELS—The extremely heavy rains created excess runoff into NBU’s North and South Kuehler Wastewater Treatment Plants. This resulted in a manhole overflowing this morning between 12:30 and 5:30 a.m. Approximately 450,000 gallons of diluted domestic sewage overflowed from the manhole and discharged directly into a tributary feeding into the Lake Dunlap area of the Guadalupe River. Once the issue was discovered, NBU crews took immediate steps to relieve the flow coming into the plants and have been working to clean up the affected area.

“An estimated five inches of rain fell in the area of the Kuehler plants last night,” Water Treatment & Compliance Manager Brent Lundmark says. “That created more runoff into the sewer system than the plants could contain. A lid came off a manhole within the plant and that was the source of the overflow. Once the heavy rain abated, the runoff decreased and the overflow ended as well.”

Lundmark says that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has been notified about the issue and NBU was working with them to ensure that all proper steps were taken to mitigate the results of the overflow. The manhole was secured and the area surrounding it is being treated and disinfected as needed. In addition to the TCEQ being notified, NBU officials have reached out to the offices of the City Manager and Mayor of New Braunfels to make them aware of the overflow.

The public should avoid contact with waste materials, soil or water in the area potentially affected by the spill. Residents are urged to limit activities that would involve contact with the water in Lake Dunlap for the next 24 hours in order to minimize any risk of exposure to elevated levels of E. coli. This includes swimming, boating, fishing and other water recreational activities. If the public comes into contact with waste material, soil or water potentially affected by the spill, they should bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.

The plants are located at 1922 Kuehler Road, approximately 0.5 mile east of FM 725 and 0.5 mile south of IH-35. The treated effluent from the plants is discharged to an unnamed tributary that feeds into the Lake Dunlap portion of the Guadalupe River in Segment No. 1804 of the Guadalupe River Basin. Persons using private drinking water supply wells located within ½ mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing. Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling.

Customers with questions may contact the Water Treatment & Compliance Division at (830) 608-8901.