Just weeks after the city reported sulfuric acid waste spilling from Austin's Samsung plant into a nearby creek, the tech giant that is in the process of a Central Texas expansion has reported millions more gallons of spillage.
More than 2 million gallons of stormwater mixed with wastewater spilled from Austin Samsung Semiconductor into a tributary north of the facility in late January.
The spill was followed by another just days later, with 5.9 million gallons that contained sulfates exceeding regulatory limits set in city code. Within the downstream segment, that spill remained below the state’s surface water quality limits.
According to a city memo from the environmental officer at the Watershed Protection Department, Samsung said the releases were necessary “to avoid catastrophic impacts to the structural integrity of the stormwater pond berm.”
Samsung and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality contacted the City of Austin to report the spills last week. On Sunday, the Watershed Protection Department visited the north tributary and found no environmental impacts in an assessment that involved collecting data and biological observations.
The city report released Thursday explains that the stormwater outfalls followed two rain events that took place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.
The downpour hit the facility with seven inches of rain and a pond containing industrial wastewater filled up with an estimated 13 million gallons of stormwater. As designed for stormwater treatment, this inflow caused the pond to overflow to a second pond area on Samsung’s property.
This latest stormwater outfall stemmed from the same leak in which 763,000 gallons of sulfuric acid waste reached the stormwater pond at Samsung’s facility where uncontained portions then spilled into a tributary of Harris Branch Creek.
The fallout of that spill had a significant short-term impact on the ecology of the tributary and the Watershed Protection Department had found dead aquatic remains when visiting the site. Waste mixed with stormwater had spilled into that same stream in May 2021. Samsung did not face fines for that spill and the company told the Austin American-Statesman that it had “zero environmental impact.”
The drainage path of the latest spills has a different path. Discharges to the receiving tributary traveled about a mile before reaching the main stem of Harris Branch Creek.
The tributary passes construction for multi-family residential and commercial developments. Outside of rain events, the tributary usually holds intermittent pools and does not flow, the city memo says.
The stormwater and wastewater has been contained since Feb. 3. and is being pumped into the sanitary sewer for proper disposal with approval from Austin Water.
Samsung anticipates that all the water will be transferred Friday.
- Sulfuric acid waste spills at Samsung then into nearby creek - austonia ›
- Samsung chooses Austin-outskirt Taylor for $17 billion chip plant ... ›
- Taylor, Texas chosen as new site of Samsung chip-making facility ... ›
- Samsung is considering building a $10B chip plant in Austin - austonia ›
- Central Texas sees record job growth fueled by Samsung, Tesla ... ›
- Samsung - austonia ›
- Micron may bring chipmaking plant to Central Texas - austonia ›
- U.S. Sen. Cornyn meets with Austin chip companies amid shortage ... ›
A Union Pacific cargo train hit a man in his 40s, killing him Thursday morning, Austin police said.
The train's driver called the police after the train hit the man at around 12:45 a.m. in the 300 block of Orchard Street, near Fifth Street and Lamar Boulevard.
Police have not released the identity of the man.
Over a year after they took the stage for the first time in Los Angeles, Austin FC returned to Banc of America Stadium to snatch the No. 1 spot from LAFC in a 2-1 statement win late Wednesday night.
Austin FC, which has flirted with the top spot in the MLS West this season, has now solidly reached the summit just a year after its second-to-last first season finish. The new top dogs are now 7-2-3 overall.
Here's a look at three highlights from the match:
Flashback in LA
For many Austin FC fans and naysayers alike, the match was more than a fight for the MLS West throne: it also served as a symbol of how far the team has come.
The two clubs first met on the Banc of America pitch as Austin FC saw its first game and first loss all at once in a 2-0 battle last April. It was an exciting but shaky start to the club's first season, and the loss seemed to set the tone for the rest of its inaugural year as the club dipped to second to last in the conference.
If Austin's first season was hallmarked by its first match, then its second-year success was foretold by its back-to-back five-goal victories to kick off the season.
Since then, the club has battled its own first-year shadow, claims of "bonus games" and a few unexpected obstacles—both on and off the pitch—but it has almost always come out on top.
That fight to the top was fully realized Wednesday, even as the club played its toughest opponent yet. Even with a man down in the middle due to Daniel Pereira's red card last game, the club kept its cool through even the trickiest moments of the match. Jhojan Valencia, who patched the Pereira hole in midfield, got his first MLS start and first MLS assist as Ruben Gabrielsen scored the first goal of the game.
Gabrielsen came to Austin FC as a potential hero for the team's center back position, but the club's resident Viking has already nabbed two goals in his first season with the team.
"That's center forward material," Austin FC announcer Adrian Healey said as Gabrielsen took control of Valencia's pass, paused to fake out the defense, and calmly tucked the ball into the left corner to complete the first goal of the match.
Even as LAFC dominated possession for much of the match, Austin FC saw another wide-open goal opportunity crumble as midfielder Diego Fagundez's shot hit the corner goalpost in the 23rd minute.
But Fagundez wasn't finished. The midfielder was short on his Verde hair dye but full of surprises as he nimbly sunk a shot over LAFC defense to make it 2-0 with 10 minutes to go.
Fagundez, who has spent more time setting up goals for his teammates (becoming the No. 1 assister in the MLS in the process), finally took the center stage with his second goal this season.
Owen Wolff, head coach Josh Wolff's own son, had a scoring opportunity of his own foiled by the goalpost as he started his first MLS match as one of the youngest starters in the league this season.
But Austin FC wouldn't score again; instead, LAFC powerhouse Carlos Vela made the win a bit trickier in the 86th minute as he got past Austin keeper Brad Stuver to cut the lead in half. The other Wolff quickly subbed in a five-prong defense as the club kept steady for the final 10 painstaking minutes to win the match.
BONUS: Stuver's career-making match
Six saves on the night in LA for Brad Stuver! 🚫 pic.twitter.com/02V6hcUd3Y— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 19, 2022
After two weeks on the bench due to a knee gash, Austin's star keeper Brad Stuver had the Stuver-iest match of all time (yes, we're making it a word) as he pulled off six saves to help his team to No. 1.
Stuver looked like a pinball machine as he pulled off save after save with his feet, hands and body to keep it nearly 100% clean on the back end.
- Dominguez, summer heat shrouds Austin FC in 1-0 LA Galaxy loss ... ›
- Masks, Meh-teh and a miracle chicken: Meet the 'cryptids' of Austin FC ›
- Austin FC spends less than most first-year expansion teams - austonia ›
- McConaughey meets Ferrell: Austin FC's first match is a battle on ... ›
- From 'MLS in Austin' to Austin FC's first match: A guide to the first ... ›