Denton Still Cleaning Water Treatment Chemical Spill

Spill happened at Lake Ray Roberts Water Treatment Plant

By Sara Story
|  Thursday, Nov 17, 2011  |  Updated 8:49 PM CDT
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The City of Denton is cleaning up after a chemical spill at a water treatment plant at Lake Ray Roberts.

Sara Story, Denton Journalist

The City of Denton is cleaning up after a chemical spill at a water treatment plant at Lake Ray Roberts.

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The City of Denton is busy cleaning up a chemical spill that happened at the Lake Ray Roberts Water Treatment Plant. The spill happened at the end of July.

"We had a temporary line down on the ground. We didn't realize that the temporary line had a leak on it," City of Denton Public Information Officer John Cabrales said.

Cabrales said Sodium Hydroxide seeped into the soil. This chemical is common at water treatment plants, but since this incident was a release of a regulated material, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been involved in monitoring the cleanup effort. The contaminated dirt has been removed.

"Fortunately, nothing got into the drinking water. It was just a leak that was out here on the grounds," Cabrales said.

People living near the plant say they're concerned, but the city and a local biologist are calming those fears.

"I really do think it is okay," UNT Biology Professor Thomas La Point said.  "At most, some soil organisms were maybe killed."

Cabrales said the leaked chemical is contained to one spot.

"Once TCEQ comes and gives us the green light that we have taken care of all the contaminated soil, then we will bring in clean dirt and fill in the hole," Cabrales said.

The water treatment plant has been open since 2003, and there has never been another chemical spill or safety violation. The City of Denton expects to finish the cleanup efforts in the next two weeks.

"We want to make sure this doesn't happen again," Cabrales said.

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