A case of illegal diesel disposal was reported in the Country Estates subdivision in Hutto May 30.

What happened?

Residents reported strong fuel odors and Director of Emergency Management Jake Isbell confirmed day-of testing indicated 25 gallons of diesel had been discharged in a local storm drain, which initiated city and county protocol for an environmental contaminant.

Williamson County Emergency Services District No. 3, or the Hutto Fire Rescue, discovered diesel on a neighborhood roadway and found the fuel had runoff through a storm drain as well as into nearby greenery.

Barriers were deployed quickly to contain the spread and a treatment was used to mitigate the impact. The contaminant did not impact public drinking water or any local waterways, according to city officials. The incident is still under investigation.

The impact

ESD 3 officials reported the incident to the Hutto Emergency Management team in order to begin the hazardous material response.

The contaminant flowed from its starting point for the length of nearly three football fields, approximately 300 yards, Isbell said.

An environment-friendly treatment was started the morning of May 31; however, Isbell explained that the fuel had already begun to break down the roadway in some areas.

“Hazardous material response is very costly, and excavation of material takes equipment and man hours,” Isbell said.

The Hutto Public Works team leading the remediation efforts will continue to test soil samples in the area, but samples from the contaminated area tested similarly to samples collected in a non-contaminated area, according to the city officials. The cleanup effort should be wrapped up by June 25.

Isbell said storm-drain dumping is uncommon, but other types of illegal dumping happens regularly in Williamson County.

The city of Hutto receives an average of five illicit discharge reports reports annually.

What you need to know

According to recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, out of the 292 million tons of municipal waste produced across the nation annually, 1.6 million tons are hazardous materials, meaning they are toxic, corrosive or flammable.

The Hutto Emergency Response team is working to educate consumers on plans for the disposal or recycle of these materials, which include:

  • Swimming pool chemicals

  • Oven cleaners

  • Cooking oils

  • Batteries

  • Paints

  • Motor oil

  • Antifreeze
Isbell encouraged residents to go to the Al, Clawson Disposal website, a local waste management company, to check what materials are accepted.

Williamson County sponsors bi-annual hazardous waste collection events for those items not accepted during regular trash collection.

Find more information on local and regional disposal and recycling options here.