Petition Aims To Protect Local Creeks From Sewage Pollution

No Dripping Sewage

Sponsored Post – from the Save Barton Creek Association

Almost 2000 people have signed a petition against the practice of piping treated sewage into Texas creeks at nodrippingsewage.org. The “No Dripping Sewage” campaign bears the slogan “There’s a better way” referring to several alternatives to piping sewage effluent into creeks including land application and beneficial reuse. The petition asks for “a ban on dumping treated sewage into creeks above the Edwards Aquifer” and asks “public officials and candidates to stand with us against direct discharge.” Several organizations support the campaign, including some of the same groups that are fighting the Dripping Springs wastewater permit.

Why is this campaign so important? Just look at some recent news…

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is investigating reports of excessive algae growth in the South San Gabriel River. In January, the new Liberty Hill South Fork Wastewater Treatment plant began discharging 550,000 gallons per day of treated sewage into the river, and the results have horrified local residents – heavy green algae blooms in the once clear-running river, a direct result of excessive nutrients from wastewater.  Even more alarming, the Liberty Hill wastewater plant has plans to increase its output of treated sewage to 4 million gallons per day. Algae blooms are a direct result of increased nitrogen and phosphorous levels, common with wastewater discharges into waterways. Read the full Austin American-Statesman article about the San Gabriel river here.

A new study shows sewage spills are rampant and not properly reported.

A study commissioned by the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance looked at raw sewage spills located within the Edwards Aquifer region over the past five years, and the results are disturbing.  Not only are many spills not accurately reported, but more sewage spills are occurring in densely populated areas in recent years.  The results and recommendations will be presented to the TCEQ and the Edwards Aquifer Authority. View the study results here.  

A Preliminary hearing was just held about Dripping Springs’ permit to discharge sewage effluent into Onion Creek.

For those that aren’t familiar with this case, Dripping Springs wishes to obtain a permit to dump up to 995,000 gallons per day of treated sewage into pristine Onion Creek, in the Texas Hill Country.  A preliminary hearing was held May 21st by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), resulting in the addition of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) and Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) to the battle against the contested Dripping Springs wastewater permit.  These two districts now join the Save Barton Creek Association, Save Our Springs Alliance, Protect Our Water, and some Dripping Springs landowners as participants in the case against the City of Dripping Springs.

The addition of the two groundwater conservation districts to the case confirms that the underground bodies of water they manage could be negatively impacted by the proposed Dripping Springs wastewater permit.  An Onion Creek dye study recently completed by BSEACD showed conclusively that what goes into Onion Creek winds up in the local groundwater, with eight different wells showing presence of dye that was added to Onion Creek.  This hydrologic communication between Onion Creek and local groundwater, coupled with the fact that Onion Creek recharges 30 percent of Barton Springs, sits at the heart of the case against direct wastewater discharge in the Texas Hill Country.  Despite the Barton Springs connection, the City of Austin was denied standing in the case.

A final hearing is expected to be held within the next six months.  Based on this final hearing, TCEQ can then either grant or deny the permit, or change its terms.

No Dripping Sewage

Want to get involved?

Concerned citizens are invited to join Save Barton Creek Association (SBCA) on Monday, June 11th from 6:30PM- 8:30PM at the Baker Street Pub & Grill in south Austin for a happy hour on this subject. SBCA Executive Director, Angela Richter, will be providing updates on the ‘No Dripping Sewage’ Campaign, as well as where we stand in the process of the City of Dripping Springs contested case. Facebook event link here.

Can’t make next Monday’s meeting? Sign the petition at nodrippingsewage.org and share.

For those wanting to help in the fight for clear Hill Country creeks and protecting Barton Springs, SBCA has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover their legal costs in the ongoing battle against direct discharge of wastewater into Hill Country waterways.

Questions can be directed to Angela Richter angela@savebartoncreek.org


Please note – editorials and sponsored posts are written by guest writers to inform and educate the community on a variety of different viewpoints, as well as to share information about local eco-friendly businesses and organizations. However, they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Austin EcoNetwork. 

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