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Heavy rain causes underground pump to fail, leads to sewer problems for Beaumont residents

City officials received over 100 complaints during the Thanksgiving holiday with many residents saying they couldn't flush their toilets for hours.

BEAUMONT, Texas — The City of Beaumont released a statement regarding recent sewer issues, assuring the community that there is no need to worry. 

Recent heavy rainfall in Southeast Texas inundated the city’s sewer system, according to a City of Beaumont release. What city officials called an “unusual weather” event brought 4-5 inches of rain.

City officials received over 100 complaints during the Thanksgiving holiday with many residents saying they couldn't flush their toilets for hours. 

Tricia Premeo didn't experience the sewer problems herself, but she is speaking up on behalf of people living in the Amelia neighborhood in Beaumont. 

"The infrastructure, it just stopped. It's not working properly and it's time that we start asking the hard questions and figuring out why," Premeo said. 

Director of Beaumont's Water and Wastewater Department Mike Harris says his crews have been working since Saturday, to address this problem.  

"I did get a call from them Saturday saying that we had an unusual large number of sewer calls, we went into checking, into finding out what's going on the thing we run into is heavy rainwater," Harris said.  

On Tuesday, crews found a pump in Tyrrell Park that was overwhelmed by the excessive rain water and impacted neighborhoods in the Amelia neighborhood.

"A lot of the issue that we've ran into with these sewer mains holding water. Basically the pump was not putting out what it was suppose to. We do have crews and we do have people working on the pump as we speak," Harris said. 

Harris says he asks citizens be patient, as the city works towards a solution. 

"I do understand when you can't flush your toilet and you have a house full of people, it's hard to be patient I get that we are working towards a solution," Harris said. 

Some Beaumont City Council members have vowed to address this issue with city leaders. 

"We spent a lot of money on pipe bursting, we should have diminished the infiltration to the sewer lines, but apparently water still coming in," Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz said. 

Harris says if the pump takes too long to repair, they will install a bypass pump as a solution to the problem.

MORE | Read the City of Beaumont's full release here

“There hasn’t been a storm that simultaneously affected so many areas of the city sewer system at the same time in quite a while,” officials said in the release.

Those living in the North End, West End and Amelia have been the most affected by the issue.

Officials believe a lot of misinformation has gone around regarding EPA and TCEQ requirements. TCEQ is required to be notified within 24 hours every time there is an unauthorized discharge.

The city has done this and there are no violations.

“We’re also nowhere near the levels that would designate public health concern — rest assured, there is no need to worry,” officials said.

Crews are working to work through the calls and resolve them as quickly as possible now that water levels have receded. Team members are going to every residence that reported an issue to investigate and ensure it’s resolved.

“We understand the frustration and appreciate your patience as we work through the call log,” city officials said.

The city of Beaumont manages more than 750 miles of sewer mains, more than 10,000 manholes and more than 43,000 sewer taps. Crews are making repairs daily, working to better the system.

Officials will enact more city-wide preventative measures to identify lines that may have issues due to the current incident. Those experiencing sewer problems or any other non-emergency city issues should report them to 3-1-1.

“Again, thank you for your understanding and your patience as we work to provide the best service possible to our citizens,” city officials said.

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