What would 995,000 gallons of wastewater mean for Barton Creek?

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Even though Central Texas is made up of dozens of cities, counties, and towns, there is one thing that connects us all – water. Rivers and streams do not abide by municipal boundaries, and as more and more people continue to move into the area, this fact only becomes more and more obvious.

The latest example of this comes from the City of Dripping Springs. They have asked the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a permit to discharge up to 995,000 gallons of treated sewage into Onion Creek each day. While this wastewater would be treated, local nonprofit organization Clean Water Action warns that it would still contain nitrates and phosphates that cause unsightly algae blooms and choke off oxygen that fish need to survive.

So why does that matter to us, all the way in Austin? Onion Creek flows into the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and provides much of the water that feeds into Barton Creek and Barton Springs.

Dripping Springs is asking for the permit so that it can handle the massive amounts of wastewater that are expected to be generated by new subdivisions in northern Hays County. To prevent this from negatively affecting Austin and our recreational crown jewel, Clean Water Action is calling on the city to pursue an expanded permit to apply the wastewater to land instead. The idea is that this would allow the wastewater to be used for non-potable purposes, like irrigating lawns and parks, instead of being dumped entirely into Onion Creek. More information, as well as details about how you can get involved, are available here>>

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