Protect Our Blanco


With no wastewater discharge, the river is healing itself! Photography credit: John Brown for WVWA.
[Editor’s note: This article has been updated with further Protect Our Blanco Board and Blanco City Council information.]
 
It has been over seven months since the City reported its last Blanco Wastewater Treatment Plant direct discharge into the Blanco River, and the water conditions show it! Downstream of the discharge point, the algae blooms have cleared.
 
The WVWA and Protect Our Blanco (POB) have also seen some very positive signs for our anticipated negotiations with the City of Blanco:
 
    • This week, our legal team discovered that the City of Blanco wastewater discharge permit has been remanded – that means it is removed from the court’s docket and the draft permit will be sent back to TCEQ for changes! The City’s filing indicated they plan to make changes to the permit request that may include issuing new notice and starting the TCEQ permit process over again. This potentially opens up another round of public comments and opportunities to refine the permit details to be more protective of water quality.
    • In recent months, the City replaced its previous legal counsel and its prior waste water engineering firm. We are hopeful this change signals a shift towards a better direction for the City’s wastewater future.
    • The City FINALLY allowed two POB Board Members to tour the water treatment facility. POB has asked that a second tour be scheduled for our consultants to have a firsthand view.
    • The Engineering Firm that POB retained has identified millions of dollars in unfunded infrastructure that the City would need in order to utilize its current Wastewater Treatment Center outside the current City Limits.  This adds a very strong incentive for the City to give real consideration to the alternatives we are proposing.
    • The City has not discharged wastewater into the Blanco in over seven months, and the river is clearing up and algae-free!
The Blanco River connects all communities in its watershed. All watershed residents and visitors have an interest in protecting water quality.

CALL TO ACTION!

Please contact the Blanco City Council members and ask them to work with POB and other affected parties before amending the permit application to agree to:

    1. Eliminate the possibility of discharge in to the Blanco River forever by adopting a Texas Land Application Permit and reuse permit (TLAP);
    2. Lower the overall permit capacity to an amount based on reasonable growth projections and land available for irrigation; and
    3. Appoint a One Water Planning task force to create a sustainable land use, water and wastewater plan for the future of the City of Blanco. 
Send an email to the Blanco City Council HERE.
 
POB continues to test water quality monthly. These reports can be utilized for our negotiations and planning efforts, and if it becomes necessary, a Contested Case Hearing or any other lawsuit.
 
As you can imagine, the cost of consultants and testing are substantial and we are asking that all of our members make a tax deductible donation.  If you prefer to send a check, it should be made payable to Protect our Blanco and sent to P O Box 520, Blanco, Texas 78606. If you have friends and neighbors who care and who can help us financially, please ask them to join this fight.
 
 

[Updated 8/7/2020]


Background:

The City of Blanco is requesting a permit from TCEQ to discharge 1.6 million gallons of treated wastewater daily into the Blanco River. Read more about the effects of such a permit below. 

The proposed discharge permit will add pollution to the Blanco River, which provides essential, clean recharge water for the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers – the primary sources of drinking water supplies for more than 3 million residents of Central and South Central Texas. The Edwards Aquifer and its Great Springs – Comal Springs, San Marcos Springs, and Barton Springs —support a major tourism economy and are much loved by Texans from across the state. This discharge proposal threatens these irreplaceable natural waters, the beautiful creeks and rivers that replenish their flows, and state and local parks located along these interconnected waterways.   

The WVWA is partners with Protect Our Blanco and are working to encourage the City of Blanco to adopt One Water practices and explore alternatives to direct discharge of treated wastewater, including land application and beneficial reuse, and to serve as a model for other Hill Country communities as they grow.

 

Visit Protect Our Blanco’s Website

 

Useful Links and References: