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Environment Texas advocates for nature-based infrastructure to lessen water pollution

The group delivered petitions to the Austin City Council on Wednesday, calling for new water quality requirements on development.

AUSTIN, Texas — Environment Texas, a group working to improve environmental conditions, is pushing the Austin City Council to pass new water quality requirements on development.

The group has been running a door-to-door campaign and delivered petitions to the Council late Wednesday morning. Environment Texas wants the City to add more nature-based infrastructure, including rain gardens and permeable pavement.

The group says storms like the ones that came through the area Wednesday morning are carrying pollutants into waterways. 

According to a release from the organization, storm water isn't soaked into the ground throughout the city and is forced to run over parking lots, roads, roofs and packed-in soil of suburban yards, picking up fertilizers and fecal waste from pets and leaking septic systems. The runoff can then flow into nearby lakes and creeks, contributing to fecal bacteria pollution in creeks and algae bloom in lakes.

Environment Texas says the proposed infrastructure would help absorb and filter storm water to avoid such pollution.

"The toxic algae in our lakes is just so bad that it's sickened and killed dogs," Claire Ganschow, canvass director, said. "This is just what happens when more and more of the city gets paved over. With the rainfall that happened just last night, rain exacerbates this issue because with storm water everything just runs off into the waterways, which just makes the problem worse."

The organization says the infrastructure they are proposing can help reduce storm water pollution by up to 85%.

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