Sewer Plant Problems Plague One North Lufkin Neighborhood

The Redland Estates subdivision is located off Highway 59 north of Lufkin. Their sewer treatment facility hasn't worked for several years, causing raw sewage to overflow into a nearby creek. Holes are left uncovered, and some have said that children play here from time to time, risking their safety and possibly their health.

Charles Mills used to be president of the neighborhood board that oversees issues like sewage treatment in the area. He says those who founded the board years ago never established a system for bill collection, so it wound up being an honor system. But many people simply did not pay their bills, which left the board without any recourse. And without customers paying their bills, there's no money for upkeep of the sewage treatment.

"With operators costing upwards of a thousand dollars a month, we don't have the payment base of cover a thousand dollars a month... And the chemicals that would be needed would have been another thousand dollars a month, there just wasn't the payment base to do it," said Mills.

So now, the neighborhood is turning to the Pineywoods Resource Conservation and Development Corporation. They're helping the neighborhood try to qualify for a grant that will help build a new facility. In the meantime, residents here will have to contend with raw sewage that flows into a creek... a creek that ultimately leads to the Angelina River.

Of course, the Angelina River ultimately feeds into lake Sam Rayburn. Besides being a top fishing and recreation area, the lake is also a major source of drinking water for some communities. Because of the size of the sewage treatment facility in question, it is not within the jurisdiction of the Angelina County and cities health district. It's a state issue, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality confirms that they are aware of the problem.