- 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!
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:
- Eliminate the possibility of discharge in to the Blanco River forever by adopting a Texas Land Application Permit and reuse permit (TLAP);
- Lower the overall permit capacity to an amount based on reasonable growth projections and land available for irrigation; and
- 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.
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.
Useful Links and References:
- City of Blanco Wastewater Collection System Improvements for Proposed Service Area, (Preliminary analysis and report by Smith-Turrieta Engineering, January 2020)
- Review of Conventional Centralized System Collection System Costs in Area South of the Blanco River and Analysis of Costs to Provide Service with a Decentralized Concept Strategy, (David Venhuizen, 2020)
- Nutrient and biological assessment of the Blanco River, 2019 (Dr. Ryan King, Baylor University, presentation to Blanco City Council, August 2020)
- Preferred Wastewater Systems for the Texas Hill Country and Over the Edwards Aquifer: Economic and Environmental Considerations, (Meadows Center, March 2019)
- TCEQ Surface Water Quality Monitoring Data Viewer, Monthly data collection sites upstream and downstream of current direct discharge: 12669 & 12668