The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), on Jan. 12, released results of an investigation generated by a complaint filed with TCEQ on Nov. 3, 2020, by the Aransas Project (TAP). The TCEQ investigation found Steel Dynamics Southwest LLC violated the Texas Water Code by beginning construction of a wastewater treatment facility before obtaining an active industrial wastewater discharge permit.
Steel Dynamics is constructing a steel mill near Sinton and seeks an industrial wastewater permit from TCEQ to discharge more than 1.5 million gallons of treated industrial wastewater into Chiltipin Creek, which flows into the Aransas River near its confluence with Copano Bay.
The TCEQ’s recommended corrective action requires Steel Dynamics to cease construction on the unpermitted wastewater treatment plant and to submit proof of compliance to the TCEQ by March 15.
Steel Dynamics Southwest LLC responded that its current site construction does not yet include equipment that could treat wastewater for discharge. The construction area in question is a small part of the overall site that, as of now, has no electricity, no piping and no infrastructure to receive or discharge any wastewater to Chiltipin Creek. Also, no wastewater has been treated or discharged to any Texas waters.
Steel Dynamics indicated that it does not believe the site work to date runs afoul of the Texas Water Code, but the company stated that, as a show of good faith, it had halted any further construction in that particular area well in advance of the TCEQ’s inspection. The company stated that it is awaiting TCEQ approval before performing any additional construction in that area.
Jim Blackburn, the president of TAP, said in the group’s release about the investigation that TAP wants to work with the plant to formulate a discharge plan and would be reaching out to Steel Dynamics to propose the prospect of working together.