BCWK Files Lawsuit Against City of Houston

City of Houston violates the Clean Water Act with over 9,300 sewage discharges in public waterways.

HOUSTON, TX – Bayou City Waterkeeper filed suit against the City of Houston in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston for over 9,300 potential Clean Water Act violations on Friday, 21 September 2018. For at least the last five years, the City has failed to comply with its permits by allowing raw or partially treated sewage to be discharged from its wastewater treatment and collection systems into our public waterways throughout the Houston area.

The City of Houston has long been aware of its Sanitary Sewage Overflows (SSO) and bypass problems, yet has failed to eliminate, or significantly reduce, them from its wastewater system. Over the last five years, the City has self-reported more than 9,300 discharges of untreated wastewater in violation of its water quality permits. Untreated wastewater can contain bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants that can impact public health and cause property damage. Bypass and SSO discharges like the City’s contaminate waterbodies and cause serious water quality problems.

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Bayou City Waterkeeper Threatens Suit Against the City of Houston

City of Houston violates the Clean Water Act with over 9,000 sewage discharges in public waterways.

HOUSTON, TX – Bayou City Waterkeeper served the City of Houston with a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue (NOIS) over 9,000 violations under the Clean Water Act on Monday, 23 July 2018. The City has failed to comply with its permits by allowing untreated sewage to be discharged from its wastewater facilities into our public waterways throughout the Houston area.

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A Sage Alternative

3398987663_611e68a980_o.jpgWhile discussions of how to protect our coastal communities on the Upper Texas Coast is nothing new, the Hurricane Season of 2017 has strengthened the need and rhetoric around providing protection from ever-increasing storms and its surge impacts.

For years, the silver bullet coastal barrier option has centered around the coastal spine – commonly known as the Ike Dike – and what could be one of the costliest public infrastructure projects in U.S. history. Recent articles in the Houston Chronicle and the Galveston Daily News outline the lauded benefits and challenges of these "grey" infrastructure projects, but little attention has been given to the alternative solutions that integrate the need for our protection with nature's own barrier systems.

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Houston's Zoning - Don't throw the baby out with the floodwater!


Dr. John Jacob, Bayou City Waterkeeper Board Chair, Director of the Texas Coastal Watershed Program and Professor with the Texas A&M penned a discussion on Houston's land-use regulations - and how it affected the impacts of Hurricane Harvey.

This story was originally published by Texas A&M's Texas Watershed Coastal Program and is reproduced here with permission of the author.

Read more here!

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Will Houston Learn from its Mistakes?


Nick Anderson, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, illustrated a great feature on the importance of wetlands in the face of natural disasters like Harvey -- featuring our own John Jacob, Board Chair of Bayou City Waterkeeper!

Featured in the Texas Tribune: Trib Talk - Perspectives on Texas, Nick outlines how this disaster wasn't just about urban planning, but also how we protect and restore our wetlands for the future of our coastal communities.

Check out the full cartoon!

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Bayou City Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance Respond to Harvey Devastation

Hurricane Harvey - NOAA/NASABayou City Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance are responding to Hurricane Harvey, working to assess the damage the record-breaking storm has brought to southeast Texas. Deploying the Waterkeeper Alliance’s Rapid Response Protocol, Bayou City Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance staff are working to support local communities and are developing a long-term cleanup and water monitoring plan for when flood waters recede.

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A Message from the Board: Hurricane Harvey & Bayou City Waterkeeper

harvey_together.jpegHurricane Harvey has hit the Greater Houston area, and the Galveston Bay Watershed, hard. As the waters recede, thousands of people remain evacuated, homes are left destroyed, and at least 50 lives were lost. All this destruction due to the “new normal” – more frequent historic flooding in coastal Texas.

We are working to assess the damage the record-breaking storm has brought to the Lower Galveston Bay watershed, supporting local communities, as well as developing a long-term clean-up and water-monitoring plan. Those of us who live in the coastal prairie must recognize that the choices we make today will have major impacts on future generations. We must prepare and plan for this new reality. And while we can’t reverse what happened to residents and communities across greater Houston, we can demand that it doesn’t happen again.

You may have noticed that we’ve gone through our own change. Formerly known as Galveston Baykeeper, the organization has been undergoing the process of changing our name for the last year to better reflect the work we do across the Lower Galveston Bay watershed. With approval by our Board of Directors in April 2017, we chose the name Bayou City Waterkeeper to demonstrate our connection and dedication to the health of bayous and waterways that connect with Galveston Bay. Additionally, we have hired a new Executive Director and Waterkeeper - Jordan Macha. A Houston native, Jordan comes to us by way of Louisiana having worked with Gulf Restoration Network and the Sierra Club on restoration issues across the Gulf Coast. We are excited to have her join Bruce Bodson, our lead scientist, as we continue to protect our communities through watershed advocacy and education. 

In closing, Houston is a can-do city, and we can build a more resilient community. In the coming weeks and months, Bayou City Waterkeeper is committed to working with our supporters and allies to address the significant issues within our region that Harvey laid bare. Please follow our facebook page for our latest news and updates on Harvey, as well as our blog. We appreciate your ongoing support.

Photo Credit: National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West