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On August 27, 2017, at 5:00 a.m., 17” of rainfall in a 46-hour span from Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in the lake area of the Elkins Lake subdivision. Many manholes were completely submerged, leading to an extremely large volume of rainwater/storm water that overtook the sewer collection system. The two pumps in the Elkins Lake #3 Dam Lift Station could not keep up with the amount of incoming water, which resulted in a sewer discharge of 386,400 gallons to an unnamed tributary to Lake Raven at the Huntsville State Park.
Of the approximately 386,400 gallons of water discharged from the Elkins Lake #3 Dam Lift Station into Lake Raven, calculations indicate that about 90% consisted of around 347,760 gallons of storm water (mostly rainwater) and roughly 10%, or nearly 38,640 gallons, was wastewater. Once the storm waters subsided, the lift station continued normal operation and met the demand placed on it, beginning at 3:00 a.m. on August 29, 2017.
At no time did the lift station pumps fail or stop running.The two lift station pumps pumped 4.9 million gallons of wastewater during the 46-hour time frame to be treated at the N. B. Davidson Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Please note that Lake Raven has and will remain closed through September 5th due to weather conditions as noted on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. That website also indicates Lake Raven is a 203.5-acre lake. This calculates to approximately a capacity of 1.9 billion gallons of water.
The affected area includes an uninhabited non-residential area of the Sam Houston National Forest 1-¾ miles south of the Elkins Lake #3 Dam. City officials expect the impact to the public to be minimal as there are no public or private sources of drinking water within the affected area.
Appropriate local government officials and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regional office were also notified on August 29, 2017, per state statute.
According to the TCEQ, many regional treatment plant personnel cannot get to their facilities although they are impacted, some quite severely by all indications. Many locations south of Walker County have been completely overtaken and flooded or submerged and, at best, are inaccessible. From those locations, possibly up to 100% of that sewage is bypassing plants. The City's plants, in contrast, are in full operation.