Hurricane Harvey

Sewage Overflows In Houston Caused By Harvey A Health Concern

“We watch things floating through the water that you can only imagine.”


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

Officials say sewage overflows, caused by Harvey flood waters, have already been reported in Memorial Villages, West University, Baytown, and Crosby.

Bellville resident Bruce Margolis has been volunteering with water rescues, in multiple areas around Houston.

"We watch things floating through the water that you can only imagine," said Margolis. "The water we're in, if you can imagine, the sewers back up. We watch these sewers bubble."

And advocacy group Environment Texas fears sewage overflows could eventually total in the millions of gallons; and it says many systems have yet to file reports.

At least 12 sewage spills in Houston have been reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

And Brian Zabcik, a clean water advocate with Environment Texas, said that's concerning. "Think of it. It's your toilet flowing into floodwaters, bay, and bayous."

Even though its diluted, Zabcik says the untreated sewage is a health concern for anyone who wades in the water; due to infectious organisms, intestinal bacteria, and other disease agents that may be present.

A Texas A&M analysis of Houston floodwater shows E. coli levels are 125 times higher than what's considered safe for swimming.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required