Save Barton Creek Association (SBCA), Protect Our Water, Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, and several landowners have entered into a settlement agreement over Dripping Springs' direct discharge wastewater permit, according to a press release.
The KVUE Defenders first reported on this issue in October 2016. Dripping Springs asked the state for a permit to discharge into Onion Creek.
“There are more than 200 water supply wells near or downstream from the proposed sewage effluent discharge within a mile of Onion Creek. Four of these are public supply wells. If treated sewage is discharged into Onion Creek, the only water supply for hundreds of homes is at risk,” said Dr. Lauren Ross, P.E., Ph.D. in a January press release to KVUE News.
According to SBCA, the permit faced strong opposition over its impact on Onion Creek, drinking water wells, and Barton Springs. The permit would have allowed 995,000 gallons of treated sewage per day to be discharged directly into Onion Creek, the release stated.
“As a result of the efforts of SBCA and the other protestants, Dripping Springs has agreed not to dump sewage into Onion Creek for the immediate future and create a Utility Commission that will help them meet their goals of wastewater re-use. A permit will still be issued but, if Dripping Springs stands by their commitments and the community continues to work together to protect our creeks and aquifers, we might be able to hand down to future generations a legacy we can be proud off.” said Clark Hancock, SBCA board president.
“What this agreement says is ‘No Discharge for now’,” Hancock continued. “What we need is ‘No Discharge forever’. SBCA is committed to continued engagement with Dripping Springs to help them meet their pledge of 100% reuse of wastewater. Our greater concern is that this issue isn’t limited to Dripping Springs. Region wide, there are others who are greedily looking at their local creeks as easy and cheap answers to complicated questions. They are wrong. Discharging sewage into local creeks is short-sighted and environmentally devastating, destroying the very essence of what makes the Hill Country so special. SBCA will continue our campaign against the practice of direct discharge, continuing to support sound science and wise engineering for Central Texas. We can do better, we must do better, we will do better, for we have no choice!”
The Dripping Springs Mayor, Todd Purcell, said in January that he stands by the permit.
"Even if this study ends up definitively showing connectivity, we have no information that would suggest that any discharge of wastewater effluent would negatively affect wells or water that is currently suitable for drinking," he said in an online statement.
You can read the mayor's full statement by tapping here.
For more about the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, tap here.