Viral Video Claims To Show Raw Sewage In Lake Lavon

A viral video accuses North Texas Municipal Water District of dumping raw sewage in Lake Lavon

  • Joey Ledbetter posted a video to his Facebook showing the thick black material

  • In April a similar claim was made by fisherman Joshua Barry

  • In 2013 NTMWD was hit with $47,000 in fines for two incidents that occurred in 2011

A viral video posted on Facebook on Saturday claims to show raw sewage in Lake Lavon that has been dumped there by North Texas Municipal Water District.

Joey Ledbetter posted the video in a paddle boat showing the thick black substance he believes to be raw sewage from NTMWD. Ledbetter uses his paddle to give a closer look at the thick back material in the water.

North Texas Municipal Water Treatment Plant is dumping raw sewage into Lake Lavon this is disgusting.

Ledbetter’s viral video is not the first time Lake Lavon has brought negative attention towards NTMWD this year. In April, Fisherman Joshua Barry interviewed with FOX 4 after being overwhelmed by a rancid smell and seeing what appeared to be “floating poo” in the water.

NTMWD received multiple complaints about the condition of the water. Barry and others said the lake would randomly bubble, followed by what appeared to be raw sewage coming to the top of the lake.

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A statement from NTMWD over the April incident said they had alerted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to aid in monitoring and determining what actions were needed. The April incident was said to be located near the discharge point for the Wilson Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment plant. NTMWD said the material was not raw sewage.

According to the statement, TCEQ visited the plant on April 17 and did not observe any issues with the plant’s operations. The condition of Lake Lavon was said to be due to heavy floods in February and March that resulted in organic material not being completed treated and filtered before leaving the plant. The materials were said to have settled and were naturally decomposing which was causing gas bubbles and materials to surface in the lake. Warmer water temperatures were said to be speeding up the process.

In March of 2013, TCEQ hit NTMWD with $47,000 in fines for violating state wastewater standards. The fines were related to two separate incidents that occurred in 2011. In the spring of 2011, a wastewater plant located in south Mesquite was under construction. Spokeswoman Denise Hickey said during the construction a part of the plant was shut down, but the amount of wastewater was not decreased which resulted in some ammonia violations.

As part of the construction, we had to take part of [the plant] out of service. The problem is we had the same volume [of wastewater] but less capacity [to treat it] and there were some ammonia violations.

What they do is take samples of the effluent — each plant has certain parameters it must meet — and we exceeded the parameter for ammonia.

The expansion project at the Mesquite plant was completed soon afterward and we’ve been in compliance ever since.

The second incident occurred at a Preston Road lift station. This lift station collects raw sewage in an underground waste pit called a wet well. A level indicator alerts employees when the well is full and needs to be pumped out through a force main which pushes it to the Wilson Creek treatment plant near Lavon Lake.

In September of 2011, 34,000 gallons of untreated sewage spilled into the surrounding area after a rat had chewed through a cord causing the indicator to show the wet well as empty. Since the wet well was thought to be empty, wastewater continued to pump through it. Hickey said the violation came from being an hour or two late on the 24-hour notification deadline for a spill.

That was cleaned up and the indicator repaired, but we missed the state’s 24-hour notification deadline by an hour or two. Since then, we’ve re-evaluated the process and improved it to ensure that the 24-hour notice is met.

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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