Feb 17, 2022

2.2 Million Gallons of Storm Water & Wastewater Spill from Samsung Facility

This is in addition to the roughly 763,000 gallons of wastewater that spilled into a tributary south of the facility

storm water

Approximately 2.2 million gallons of storm water mixed with wastewater from Texas’ Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s facility spilled into a waterway north of the building.

This is in addition to the roughly 763,000 gallons of wastewater of which some had spilled into a tributary south of the facility stemming from the same leak, which was discovered on Jan. 14, according to Samsung's memo.

According to the memo, over a four-day period between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, 2022, the Samsung site received a total of approximately seven inches of rain from two separate rain events. Approximately 13 million gallons of storm water filled the wet pond where industrial wastewater was contained, undergoing treatment, and being pumped away for disposal. As a result, the inflow of storm water caused the pond to overflow to a secondary pond area on Samsung’s property, which is designed for the site’s normal storm water treatment, reported the memo.

According to values reported by Samsung, the recent storm water discharge was within regulatory limits set by applicable water quality rules. The second discharge that occurred on Feb. 3, 2022 was a volume of approximately 5.9 million gallons, and was a slight exceedance of sulfates above regulatory limits set in Austin, but below state of Texas surface water quality limits within the downstream segment. 

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Samsung reported the releases were necessary to avoid catastrophic impacts to the structural integrity of the storm water pond berm, according to the memo. 

The Watershed Protection Department 2 assessed the north tributary on February 6, 2022, to collect physicochemical data and biological observations. No environmental impacts were recorded based on the findings. 

Since Feb. 3, 2022, the combination of storm water and wastewater has been contained again and is being pumped to the sanitary sewer for proper disposal with approval from Austin Water at a rate up to 1,000 gallons per minute, according to the memo. 

Samsung anticipates that all of the water will be transferred by Feb. 11, 2022. Questions and concerns can be directed to Katie Coyne, Environmental Officer; Assistant Director, Watershed Protection Department, at 512-968-5176.

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