Prison Sewage Overflowing into Big Spring Neighborhood

Prison Sewage Overflowing into Big Spring Neighborhood

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - A blocked sewage main connected to a Big Spring federal prison has been overflowing near Mobil and Boeing for more than two years, infuriating residents and reportedly causing health problems.

Christina Valenzuela, a Mobil Street resident who said raw sewage regularly saturated her driveway and yard, told NewsWest 9 her family had unsuccessfully contacted "at least half a dozen" public officials about the problem since 2013.

"We called the city and they [referred] us to Public Works," she said. "We talked to our district manager, then our district manager [went] and talked to somebody over his head."

According to Johnny Womack, Director of Public Works, the city sent a contractor to inspect the leaking sewer line on Monday morning.

"We are considering replacing that sewage main near Mobil and Boeing," he told NewsWest 9. "But there are a lot of things to consider, and the cost of replacing that whole thing would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million."

Valenzuela filed a report with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in January, prompting an investigation of the sewage flowing from the Boeing Street manhole.

Investigators found no environmental violations, but consulted with city personnel on-site and confirmed the overflow was due to a blockage.

"The sewage main was built in 1942 and the City of Big Spring is considering replacement of the sewage main," Commissioners wrote in a letter to Valenzuela, dated February 5, 2015.

"We know they all know there's a problem here," she said. "But it's been years and they're still not fixing it."

According to Valenzuela, her family's doctor attributed her daughters' respiratory issues to "all the dried up sewage" they had inhaled over the years.

"I have three girls and I constantly take them to the doctor. He's constantly having to put them on all kinds of antibiotics, cold medications and allergy medications."

She said her street was regularly submerged under "at least an inch and a half" of liquid from the sewage main.

"It's really only less than 200 gallons [of leaked sewage]," city officials told NewsWest 9. "That's what our contractor said, and that's really not that much."