FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It was May of 2011 when the City of Burleson experienced a massive sewage spill, now as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) levies punishment for its handling of the incident more details are coming to light.
Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter denies the city tried to hide the spill from citizens. He says officials unknowingly failed to make state required notification, through the media, of the spill.
“There was the failure to notify, which again we own that mistake [and] recognize it should have been handled differently,” Shetter said. “But certainly there was no attempt to hide it from the public.”
City leaders say vandals clogged a sewage main with garbage and furniture. The result was a 200,000-gallon sewage spill that also killed several hundred fish.
In fact, Shetter says while he did receive an alert — it wasn’t immediate.
“The city council was notified, not immediately [and] certainly not as quickly as I would have liked.”
Since the incident Shetter said failsafe standards have been enacted.
“We have no problem owning that mistake,” he said. “Almost immediately they modified the standard operating procedures to ensure that it did not happen again.”
The City of Burleson and the TCEQ are working on a final enforcement agreement.