System failures allowed wastewater to spill into creek for hours

FILE: Gilleland Creek in Pflugerville
FILE: Gilleland Creek in Pflugerville

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — We are learning more about how an electrical surge at a water treatment plant in Pflugerville Sunday caused a million gallons of wastewater to spill from a manhole for at least seven hours.

City staff tell KXAN since the power surge only knocked out power to a third of the plant, the back up generator did not turn on.

Most troubling, the power surge also destroyed the surge protector for the plant’s operating system and its battery back up. That meant no automated warning went out to staff. Dead fish in nearby Gilleland Creek were the first sign of trouble.

City public works bosses are now working on a process to prevent this incident from happening again.

A Pflugerville city spokesperson also indicates a day after the spill, water testing at creek showed it was back to normal.

The state environmental agency’s report into the spill is expected out by mid-September. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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