As of this month, Save Barton Creek Association has issued a resolution on The City of Dripping Springs’ application to discharge wastewater into Onion Creek.
The City of Dripping Springs wants to dump almost a million gallons per day of treated sewage into Onion Creek! This water would still contain nitrates and phosphates that cause algae blooms and reduce the oxygen that fish need to survive. Also, this creek supplies more than 40% of Barton Springs flow. SBCA, together with Clean Water Action, and others are asking the city to pursue a permit for land application instead. Land application is more environmentally sound and cost effective, making the city’s current sewage disposal plan both unnecessary and unreasonable.
TAKE ACTION: Please tell the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that you oppose this sewage disposal plan and its polluting effects on Onion Creek and Barton Springs.
Take Action for Onion Creek Now
SAVE BARTON CREEK ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION ON PROPOSED WASTEWATER DISCHARGE APPLICATION BY THE CITY OF DRIPPING SPRINGS
“WHEREAS the Save Barton Creek Association is a citizens organization formed in 1979 and devoted to the protection and preservation of Barton Creek, Barton Springs, and all of the watersheds that contribute to the Barton Springs Aquifer, including Onion Creek, which provides about 45% of the total recharge; and
WHEREAS, the Barton Springs Aquifer is the sole or primary source of drinking water for more than 50,000 people living in Travis, Hays, and Caldwell Counties, as well as an important economic and recreational resource and the only known habitat of two endangered species, the Barton Springs salamander and the Austin blind salamander; and
WHEREAS, Onion Creek in Hays County is currently a pristine Hill Country creek with low nutrient levels, and the Barton Springs Aquifer is a karst aquifer that is especially vulnerable to pollutants from the surface because water flows rapidly through large underground conduits that do not attenuate the constituents; and
WHEREAS, the City of Dripping Springs has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a permit to discharge up to 995,000 gallons a day of treated municipal sewage directly into Onion Creek in the contributing zone only a few miles upstream from the Barton Springs recharge zone; and
WHEREAS, scientific analysis and modeling show that such a discharge of effluent into Onion Creek as proposed would greatly increase the nutrient loading of the Creek, causing algae blooms for many miles downstream from the discharge point that would deplete the dissolved oxygen and degrade the quality of the water, including the water recharging the Barton Springs Aquifer; and
WHEREAS, a recent study of the interaction between surface water and groundwater along Onion Creek by the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, and an independent geologist shows that Onion Creek also recharges the Trinity Aquifer, the source of Dripping Springs Water Supply Company’s public water supply wells, in the vicinity of the proposed discharge point, suggesting that the drinking water could be contaminated by the effluent; and
WHEREAS, the volume of the proposed permit is more than ten times the amount of Dripping Springs’ current wastewater production, indicating that the application is sized to serve expected future growth and the capacity will not be utilized for many years, while the permit would set a precedent for additional direct discharges into Hill Country streams that are unable to assimilate the pollutant loads; and
WHEREAS, the outcome of a petition for rule-making recently granted by the TCEQ would provide a way for Dripping Springs to get credit in a Texas Land Application Permit (TLAP) for dedicated reuse of its treated wastewater, a saving that could make discharge unnecessary; and WHEREAS, the TCEQ has designated the use of the affected segment of Onion Creek as “Aquifer Protection,” a designation that would be absolutely contradicted if the permit were issued as proposed;
THEREFORE, it is resolved by the board of directors of the Save Baton Creek Association that
(1) the Save Barton Creek Association opposes approval of the currently submitted direct discharge permit application (WQ0014488003) of the City of Dripping Springs,
(2) in the alternative, the Save Barton Creek Association asks the TCEQ and the City of Dripping Springs to delay action on such permit application until after the rulemaking process to implement wastewater reuse is concluded; and
(3) the Save Barton Creek Association requests party status to oppose any draft effluent discharge permit proposed for streams crossing the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones.”
Again, please show your support for our cause by telling the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that you oppose this sewage disposal plan and its polluting effects on both Onion Creek and Barton Springs.