BANGS — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued an “all clear” letter to the city regarding an incident involving the waste water treatment plant.

During the labor day holiday last year, the plant was temporarily closed due to diesel fuel penetration. The source of the infiltration was located near underground sewer lines in Bangs.

According to the investigation findings prepared by TCEQ, the city “failed to promptly notify the TCEQ Regional Office within 24 hours of becoming aware of a hydrocarbon flowing into the waste water treatment plant.”

In the letter sent to Mayor Carrol Wells, Abilene Regional Director Winona Henry explained the reason for the investigation and the steps needed to rectify the situation.

“The city is required to notify the TCEQ within 24 hours of becoming aware of any noncompliance which may endanger human health or safety, or the environment,” Henry stated. “The city first observed a hydrocarbon flowing into the treatment plant on Labor Day weekend and did not notify the regional office until Oct. 2, 2006.”

The letter also recommended the city “modify its standard operating procedures to ensure proper notification, as required by the permit, and submit those changes to the TCEQ regional office.”

Although the only “outstanding alleged violation” listed in the letter was failure to notify TCEQ, the city made several changes, according to a letter drafted by City Attorney Mark Bessent.

First, the city will ensure the employees who work at the plant are “knowledgeable about the rules and regulations of the TCEQ which pertain to proper procedures in the event of a noncompliance at the plant.”

Other changes include the following:

Plant employees working at the plant will maintain accurate records regarding operations and conduct more process control. Attempt to locate and obtain a microscope and Hach LDO Meter for use at the plant to examine what kind of “bugs” the plant may have. The hiring of a second licensed operator.

Wells said a second operator has been hired. “A new employee is working at the plant and working on receiving licensure,” she said. “Hiring another employee was important because we needed someone to be able to fill in for Jerry (Greenwood) when he needs to be away.”

The clearance letter, dated Jan. 19, stated no further action from the city was necessary.