City of Mart works to make changes after TCEQ investigates wastewater treatment facility

Mart wastewater facility
Truck carrying sludge
Debris at Mart wastewater facility
Debris from overflow at Mart wastewater facility
Posted at 2:10 PM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 15:10:23-04

MART, TX — The City of Mart is working to address issues with its wastewater treatment facility after an investigator with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality noted a few violations.

After the Waco Regional Office received two complains about the facility, the TCEQ scheduled an investigation in early January.

The investigator found debris scattered throughout the property from unauthorized discharge and overflows that were not reported to the TCEQ.

The investigator also found some machinery that wasn't operational, preventing the treatment of the wastewater.

According to the report, sludge was also placed in a city dump truck and parked at a compound by city hall. The investigator said the city does not have a license to haul or store sludge.

In a meeting Monday night, the Mart City Council talked about how the city would respond to the allegations.

Mayor Len Williams said they take responsibility for dropping the ball. He said the findings were the result of two broken pumps, residents flushing articles down the toilet and a record amount of rainfall in a short period of time.

Mayor Williams also promised to keep a better eye on the facility. He said they plans to hire an additional operator to focus solely on the wastewater plant.

City Administrator Kevin Schaffer said the city corrected the violations as soon as they were brought to their attention. He said they will formally present the corrective actions to TCEQ in the next few days.

Schaffer added that the city has applied for a $9.25 million grant from the Texas Water Development Board for upgrades to the facility.

Schaffer said the following in a statement provided to Central Texas News Now. It reads, in part:

The City of Mart is taking active steps to correct the issues. We are doing short-term fixes and long-term fixes. We are looking at more than $9 million in grants and actively searching to hire another worker. As Mayor Williams said, we take responsibility. The issues were a result of a perfect storm – both literal and figurative.

Mart's wastewater treatment facility was also investigated by the TCEQ on March 13, 2014. A few violations were noted and by March 27, they had been resolved by the city.