Federal Government Files Lawsuit Against City of Corpus Christi Over Wasterwater Discharge Violations

A sign warning of bacteria in the waters around Corpus Christi Bay in Corpus Christi, Texas on September 1, 2020. (Matt Pierce/Getty Images)

Federal authorities filed a lawsuit against the city of Corpus Christi on Friday in Federal Court that alleges that the city violated terms and conditions of the city’s Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and discharged potentially harmful bacteria into area waterways and onto public and private property around the city.

The suit says that from at least 2007 the city discharged untreated sewage and harmful pollutants into area waterways that impacted nearby beaches and beaches within the City of Corpus Christi. In their complaint, the federal government says that the city contributed to the high level bacteria in the waters causing beach contamination.

Authorities say in their filing that the bacteria discharged by the city causes dysentery, gastroenteritis and cholera in humans, and it can also be harmful to aquatic life.

Federal Authorities say that the Corpus Christi’s failure to operate and maintain the Corpus Christi wastewater treatment facilities resulted in a substantial number of blockages in the pipes and other conduits that comprise the Corpus Christi Wastewater Treatment System.

The government says that on more than 6,000 occasions since at least 2007, the city has released untreated sewage at locations other than wastewater treatment plant outfalls. they say that such releases from a collection system are referred to as “sanitary sewer overflows.”

Evidence gathered by the government shows that on numerous occasions since at least 2007, blockages, structural defects, line breaks, or other deficiencies in the city’s system led to violations.

As for where the federal government say the water ended up? They claim that water ended up in places like the Nueces River, Corpus Christi Bay, Oso Creek, Oso Bay, and Laguna Madre.

The penalties for all of this could get pretty steep and the federal government believes that “unless restrained by the court,” the city will continue violating the terms of their agreements entered into with the state and will continue violating federal regulations.

The government is asking that the court assess civil penalties against Corpus Christi of up to $32,500 per day for each violation occurring after March 15, 2004, through January 12, 2009; of up to $37,500 per day for each violation occurring after January 12, 2009, through November 2, 2015; up to $54,833 per day for each violation occurring after November 2, 2015; and, pursuant to the Texas Water Code, assess civil penalties of no less than $50 nor greater than $25,000 for each day of each violation of the Texas.

Those numbers could add up quickly….

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