Westfield Estates

H-GAC is facilitating the progress of a locally-led effort to reduce bacterial contamination in the Westfield Estates Watershed. The watershed is a small urban drainage area comprising the community of Westfield Estates, in an economically disadvantaged area of northern Harris County. The waterways of the Watershed are a series of open, linear drainage ditches which flow directly into adjacent Halls Bayou.

Wastewater service for the Westfield Estates community is provided solely by OSSF, and its drainage is provided by open ditches rather than an enclosed storm water sewer. A Failing Septic System Initiative study identified this area as having a high number of failing OSSFs, contributing to high bacterial contamination in the linear ditches. Combined with fecal waste from feral animals, domestic animals (chickens, geese, etc.) and domestic pets, the bacterial contamination in the open ditches often registered significantly higher than the State standard for contact recreation. While a future sanitary sewer project will eventually alleviate much of the human source bacteria, local stakeholders felt interim solutions were necessary to address the acute public health risk and potential to exacerbate bacteria levels in adjacent Halls Bayou.

H-GAC applied for and received a non-point source grant from the TCEQ to evaluate the extent of bacterial contamination and facilitate the stakeholders' development and implementation of a Watershed Protection Plan (WPP). The recommendations in the WPP include a comprehensive set of educational and structural program elements, including installation of low-flow devices to reduce overflows from failing OSSF, pet waste stations, and education on OSSF maintenance and pet waste disposal. The WPP was submitted to the EPA for approval in August 2010.

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