According to a Feb. 17 news release, the issue first arose in January after city officials received several reports of foul odors emanating from the Kingwood Central Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is operated by third-party contractor Inframark.
“In January, the [city of Houston] District E Office began to receive complaints from the community regarding an intrusive smell throughout the Kingwood Area,” the news release states. “Mayor Pro Tem [Dave] Martin worked with Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock and the Houston Public Works Government Relations Office to prioritize action at the Kingwood Central Wastewater Treatment Plant to remediate the odor as quickly as possible.”
While addressing the issue, officials said the Houston Public Works Department discovered irregularities in both plant operations and corresponding regulatory compliance documents that were then turned over to the HPD’s Environmental Crimes Unit and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for investigation.
Inframark officials released the following statement to Community Impact in a Feb. 17 email:
“We are cooperating with the authorities to conduct a thorough review of the wastewater treatment plant operations. We continue to take measures to ensure there is no adverse impact to the community or the environment.”
Houston Public Works officials stressed the city's drinking water is unaffected and remains safe to consume."
According to city officials, the odors reported were a result of an equipment malfunction at the wastewater treatment plant in January that led to leaks in the air distribution and header systems. Officials said the issues have been addressed, noting the facility is now under normal operations.
"The city of Houston has and will continue to work with [the] TCEQ to take necessary steps to minimize any impact to the residents of Kingwood and to the environment," officials said in the news release. "The city will continue to monitor the facility closely. Kingwood residents will not experience any disruption in water or wastewater service."