Non-Point Source Pollution

Development occurring in watersheds

Development occurring in the contributing watershed and over the recharge zone of the Barton Springs segment at the Edwards Aquifer
requires additional mitigation efforts.

Water in Barton Creek, the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs is becoming increasingly polluted. The water isn’t as clear as it used to be. More algae are growing in the streambed. Unsafe levels of bacteria force periodic closings of Barton Springs Pool.

Water resources are assaulted by a battery of pollutants. Some, called point source pollutants, are easy to identify and relatively simple to correct. They include leaking underground storage tanks, factory discharge, broken sewer lines and so on.

Nonpoint source pollution is directly related to the way land is used. For example, automobiles leak motor oil, gas, antifreeze and other fluids onto parking lots and city streets. Rains wash these pollutants into the watershed, where they find their way into creeks, the Aquifer and Barton Springs. Lawn care products, such as pesticides and fertilizer, also find their way into the watershed. Animals, even domestic pets, generate pollution; fecal coliform and streptococci bacteria in their digestive tracts are a significant pollutant. Loose sediment caused by construction activities is washed into the streams where it may enter the Aquifer and perhaps be discharged at Barton Springs.

In 1992, the Save Our Springs Ordinance (SOS) was adopted by citizen initiative. The ordinance, applied throughout the Barton Springs Zone, required: non-degradation (based on total average annual loading), and lowered impervious cover to 15 percent impervious surface area for all development in the recharge zone, 20 percent impervious surface area for development in the Barton Creek portion of the contributing zone and 25 percent impervious surface area for development in the remaining portions of the contributing zone in Williamson, Slaughter, Bear, Little Bear and Onion Creeks.

Roy Bedichek

Texas Naturalist

Personally, if I have to fight for this country, I will not fight for the flag, or the American “way of life,” or democracy, or private enterprise or for any other abstractions, which seem cold as kraut to me. But I will fight to the last ditch for Barton Creek, Boggy Creek, cedar covered limestone hills, Blazing star and Bluebonnets, Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos, and so on through a catalogue of this natural environment of Austin, Texas. It is through this natural environment of Austin, Texas, that I love America. . .