The city of Temple announced Monday night that more than 300,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed as a result of last week’s rainfall.
About 230,000 gallons overflowed at Lions Park, 4320 Lions Park Road, and about 73,000 gallons overflowed in the 2400 block of South 61st Street.
“Lions Park has been closed and citizens are urged to exercise caution in and around the affected areas, including nearby drainage ditches and small streams,” a city release received from the city after 5:30 p.m. Monday said. “Public works crews are on site performing cleanup and disinfection of these areas. These events in no way harm the city of Temple’s water supply. City of Temple residents should not experience any interruption of water services.”
Shannon Gowan, city director of communications and point of contact on the release, and Don Bond, acting public works director, did not return several calls from the Telegram.
“Typically in the past, what I’ve observed is if it starts raining heavily, about a day or so into it the ground gets saturated and starts building up and it gets into our sewer system,” City Manager Jonathan Graham said. “I think that’s what is happening here, it’s a combination of all the rain, the black clay soil and the park being at a low point.”
Mayor Danny Dunn said the flooding happens periodically after the city has experienced sustained amounts of rainfall.
“I heard about it late last week when checking on flood situations around the city,” Dunn said.
Dunn said he was told areas that tend to fill with water during storms were experiencing some standing water, but at the time it wasn’t a concern and there was no wastewater. He said Monday was the first he’d heard of the wastewater.
In November, 790,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed in Temple due to heavy rainfall. The overflows occurred at four locations, but the most significant was at Lions Park where 400,000 gallons of wastewater spilled. Heavy rain filled Temple’s wastewater system, causing it to reach maximum capacity, Director of Public Works Nicole Torralva said in a previous Telegram interview.
Lions Park was closed due to flooding and clean-up crews pumped the wastewater back into the system to be treated. They disinfected solid surfaces and had to clean up a mix of debris and solid waste, along with condoms, drug syringes and feminine articles.
“We do have a positive maintenance system in place,” Torralva said in November. “Water overflows are not uncommon when it rains, but we are working to reduce those.”