Diamond De Leon Attorney Corpus Christi

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Diamond De Leon Attorney Corpus Christi – The bodily waste aeration tank at the Oso sewage treatment plant on Corpus Christi’s south side is oddly striking. The brownish-brown liquid in the 181-foot-long and 25-meter-deep rectangular bowl is in continuous motion, and its surface is broken with large bubbles and foam that makes the stool drink look like cappuccino.

The metal platforms surrounding the noxious clump are devoid of anything that could catch a finger, but lifebuoys are fitted here—just in case. “This is the last place you want to travel and fall,” says Sigifredo De León, Oso’s president, as he guides me around the city’s largest sewage treatment plant whose sewage disposal deficiencies have angered the federal government. over the past decade.

Diamond De Leon Attorney Corpus Christi

Diamond De Leon Attorney Corpus Christi

The EPA sued the city in 2012 for improper sewage maintenance, following a chronic sewage spill in Corpus Christi Bay. It took eight years for the EPA, the state and the city to settle the lawsuit in late 2020. The city must pay a $1.14 million fine and spend $725 million to improve the sewer system. The implementation of this agreement began in January, and work will begin in Osu.

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“These improvements were needed ten years ago,” said De Leon, a 17-year veteran of the city’s water department. “Other departments were just looking for ways to save money, fix something that could work for a few years and then have to be replaced.”

Now, however, a federal court has ordered sweeping upgrades to the miles of sewer lines that run under Corpus Christi, as well as improvements at Oso and five other treatment plants. For the Corpus Christi Water Department, it’s a bit like having a parole officer. The administration must regularly submit detailed reports of any sewage spills and progress reports on the schedule for infrastructure improvements to state and federal regulators. The EPA will conduct inspections periodically.

With all that said, you can expect those working on wastewater in Corpus Christi to feel the pressure. But as I strolled through Oso with De Leon and chatted casually with workers at the smoke break, nearly everyone told me their jobs had improved since the EPA broke the whip. Now, they say, what has been broken for so long can finally be fixed.

Standing atop a thirty-foot building in the Oso plant, De Leon is the biological and chemical waste water disposal placed in front of him. He wears a polo shirt with a buttoned-up top, is short, squat, and bespectacled. His shoulders are surprisingly broad, and his face is clean-shaven. He doesn’t look like a rough-and-tumble guy, but he does run a dirty piece of city property.

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The building below, which houses the swirling mass of stool, is built high to allow gravity to begin separating the solids from the liquids. The plant’s ultimate task is to clean the toilet and sewage water well enough to safely drain into Corpus Christi Bay. However, the point at which the treated water ends up is at the other end of the plant where it is finally released into the bay. This odd design is probably the result of the factory’s custom expansion over decades. “We’re dealing with the system’s Frankenstein,” de Leon says. “The flow pattern here is not normal. But we cannot eliminate what is here and start over.”

Frankenstein’s factory monster includes a new main water plant and an elevator, both of which were completed shortly before the EPA lawsuit was settled. Jianang “Daniel” Deng, the city’s assistant director for wastewater treatment, insists that their presence and other investments made prior to 2020 prove that Corpus Christi has long been trying to properly clean wastewater and maintain septic systems.

However, construction of the water mains and lift station at the Oso plant was only approved after an EPA lawsuit was filed in 2012. City. Corpus Christi officials are expected to say that is not the case, though they acknowledge that improvements made since 2012 may have helped their negotiating position.

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Councilman Greg Smith points to the city’s progress in reducing the amount of raw sewage spilled from Corpus Christi’s sewage system into the bay—something called “sewage overflow” or “SSO” in utility terms—as one example. He says SSO operations today are less than 10 percent lower than they were in 2012, though the city does not release data to support that claim. Still, Smith insists, the reduction he saw in SSO “was very helpful in getting the EPA a much lower cost plan than was originally proposed.”

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In 2019, the city offered to spend $655 million over fifteen years to fix the sewer problems, while the Environmental Protection Agency was asking for $808 million and a ten-year time frame. Final settlement calls for $725 million spent over fifteen years. Some of the largest projects have to be done quickly; Corpus Christi officials have an $80 million capital improvement program for 2022 — roughly 7 percent of the city’s $1.2 billion annual budget for the current fiscal year. Another $350 million is expected to be spent on sanitation in the next five years.

Corpus Christi isn’t alone among Texas cities struggling with EPA orders. The agency also successfully sued Houston in 2018, resulting in a $4.4 million fine and a promise of $2 billion in upgrades. That’s a bigger bill than Corpus Christi, but the repairs needed in Corpus Christi are in some ways more difficult. Sewage systems often rely on gravity to push waste through their pipes – lift stations lift wastewater and then dump it through sewer lines. In Houston, which has an average elevation above sea level of about fifty feet, this process obtains a good natural elevation which did not occur in Corpus Christi, where the average elevation is only seven feet.

Corpus Christi relies on more than a hundred lift stations to move waste through its sewer lines, many of which are five decades old, making them vulnerable to breakdowns that can cause sewage spills. These ancient lift stations are relatively new compared to other parts of the Corpus Christi system. Some of the city’s underground sewer lines were installed 90 years ago, and the Environmental Protection Agency found that 450 miles of city sewer pipes were prone to bursting or clogging, which also contributes to raw sewage flowing underground during rains and ending up Finally in the Gulf. Wastewater treatment plants have old bones, too. (Oso, the largest, was built in 1941.) The EPA found that the city’s six utilities violated federal law several times by allowing enough rainwater into their systems to wash the feces before it was treated.

Corpus Christi residents and businesses will pay to fix all of those problems, mostly in the form of sewage fees that are set to increase annually through 2029.

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The Oso plant sees a lot of action. More than half of the city’s population lives on the south side, and the plant discharges an average of 12 million gallons of water per day into the bay. On rainy days, it can drain three times.

Oso has six bubble tanks to do the job. Each of them breeds bacteria that feed on dirt. At the bottom of the tanks, jets spew out oxygen, giving the stove the appearance of a hot tub and encouraging the growth of those bacteria that got to the plant with human excrement, as well as a small retinue of protozoa, rotifers, viruses, fungi, and algae.

This colony of microorganisms feeds on the toilet waste before draining it into what’s called a filtration tank, where the remaining solids are drained to the bottom. This sludge is drained and sent to landfills. Meanwhile, the still contaminated water is given a chlorine bath, which kills bacteria, and then subjected to another chemical bath of sodium bisulfite to neutralize the chlorine. The resulting water is not potable, but it is clean enough to drain into Corpus Christi Bay. Two nearby country clubs also use treated effluent, which is funneled directly from the sewage treatment plant into the fairways of the golf course.

Diamond De Leon Attorney Corpus Christi

Thanks to court-ordered investments, one of the oldest tanks is slated to be replaced, along with other equipment, at a cost of $56 million. This work is expected to start later this year and be completed in 2025. Other improvements have already been made. For example, de Leon told me his crew no longer had to come to the surface when the system that separates raw sewage from debris like toilet paper collapsed, a process that would have required a giant shovel to be manually forced through the water. tanks. A more reliable mechanical rake is installed.

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Job site Fact.com lists the average salary for a sewage treatment operator in Texas as $24.28 an hour, plus about $6,700 annually in overtime. At the moment it is not enough to fill in all the positions available in Oso. The city has planned for 25 workers, however