Officials: Stanley Lake near Conroe may be contaminated after sewage leak at Walmart

CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- Homeowners in an idyllic Conroe area neighborhood are frustrated they can't use the small lake behind their homes.

Cape Conroe is a small subdivision that sits next to a Walmart off highway 105 and Stanley Lake near Lake Conroe.

The Municipal Utility District (MUD) posted notices on the doors of homeowners, telling them not to use Stanley Lake for any reason until further notice.

"My concerns are I have two, four-year-old boys that play back there. It's in our backyard," said Gretchen Murray, one of the area's homeowners. "I don't know what kind of effect it could have on them."

The problem began on Tuesday when the Walmart on Highway 105 found sewage coming out of a manhole in its back parking lot.

The store found some of the sewage flowing into its retention pond, also on the store's property. However, that retention pond then flows into nearby Stanley Lake, which also then flows into the much larger Lake Conroe.

Walmart notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Stanley Lake MUD, and the City of Conroe. The store says parts of a waste lift station were broken. It has since been fixed.

However, Stanley Lake MUD is uncertain how much sewage leaked from Walmart's retention pond before the problem was discovered. That's why they put notices on people's doors.

"It's a major thing that getting a notification that you can not go into your backyard," said Murray. "We just bought this house because of its location and because it has a backyard for my children."

The MUD says it will begin testing in the coming days. Once it is certain that the lake isn't polluted, it will notify residents. Local drinking water is not affected.

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