The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association has been working to protect Hill Country springs, creeks, rivers, and streams for the last 22 years. As our region continues to grow, we need to be bold and advocate for creative solutions to ensure a sustainable future for our waterways. Our pristine waters are depending on all of us to step up and take action.

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WVWA is Working to Protect our Hill Country Rivers & Streams from Wastewater Discharge

Our beloved rivers, creeks, and streams in the Texas Hill Country are currently under threat by the direct discharge of treated wastewater. As the region continues to grow, more cities and municipalities are seeking discharge permits to dump their treated wastewater directly into the nearest stream, river, or creek. Not only is this practice unnecessary, it is detrimental to the water quality and unhealthy for the aquatic life that depend on these water bodies to survive.

WVWA will continue to push back against these permits by advocating for alternatives to direct discharge in the form of beneficial reuse, decentralized technologies, small scale solutions, and land applications.

One Water Solutions

The future of our landscape across Texas is in jeopardy as population growth and climate change stretch our precious water resources thin and complicates water management during our famous weather extremes. The current water management paradigm in Texas does not adequately promote sustainable water management or place a priority on sustaining the needs of our environment.

Learn more about One Water here.

The City of Blanco is Requesting to dump 1.6 million gallons of wastewater per day into the Blanco River

The City of Blanco is currently constructing a wastewater treatment facility, which is nearing completion. Blanco has recently requested an amendment to their wastewater discharge permit that would authorize an increase in the discharge of treated domestic wastewater from 225,000 gallons per day to 1,600,000 gallons per day into the Blanco River - a sevenfold increase from their current Texas Land Application Permit (TLAP). The City of Blanco is asking TCEQ to allow them to discharge all of this wastewater into the Blanco River. The City has promised to sell and re-use as much as their effluent as possible, however, this "promise" is not binding and would not protect the water quality of the Blanco River. 

Everybody downstream will be greatly affected by this decision.

The WVWA and many other regional partners are advocating for a decentralized collection system that reuses treated effluent to offset groundwater pumping for local irrigation uses. 

TCEQ will be holding a public hearing about the details of this permit. Citizens will be allowed to sign up for a 3 minute public comment. Let's fill the courthouse and show TCEQ that we do not support the City's request. For more information on the public hearing: Public Hearing Notice

Thursday, August 23rd at 7:00pm
Old Blanco County Courthouse
(Second Floor Courtroom)
300 Main Street
Blanco, Texas 78606

Citizens can still submit public comments to TCEQ with their opposition or concern about the City of Blanco's request to discharge 1.6 million gallons of wastewater daily until August 23rd or the public hearing. The WVWA and other parties have asked TCEQ for a 30 day extension on the public comment period. Read WVWA's comments to TCEQ here.

TCEQ Website for Public Comments
Enter Permit #: WQ0010549002

Threats to Honey Creek

We recently learned that Silesia Properties, LP has applied for a permit to discharge up to 500,000 gallons per day of sewage effluent from a wastewater treatment plant in Spring Branch via pipe into “a dry tributary: thence to Honey Creek; thence to the Guadalupe River” near the HoneyCreek State Natural Area. This gorgeous natural environment is a Texas Treasure. We can't allow it to be the next victim of sewage pollution. 

The two watersheds in the Honey Creek State Natural Area are in the catchment area of the Edwards Aquifer about 25 miles north of San Antonio. The catchment area, adjacent to the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, comprises the upper parts of drainage basins of streams that lose water to the Edwards Aquifer as the streams cross the recharge zone. The watersheds are drained by ephemeral, first order streams that are tributaries to Honey Creek, a tributary to the Guadalupe River.  

You can read the permit application by clicking here and entering permit #WQ0015688001

Problems with Discharge

While wastewater discharge has undergone some treatment, it is not treated to drinking water standards and is not nearly clean enough to be dumped safely into our creeks and rivers. This effluent water contains high levels of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) which cause algae blooms and take up oxygen in the water body. The waterway may become hypoxic (lacking oxygen), causing fish and other aquatic life to perish. Algae also restricts light moving into the lower portions of the river, altering habitat. These effects can reduce biodiversity even when a river is not completely devoid of oxygen.

At high levels, nitrogen is unsafe in drinking water, restricting transport of oxygen in the blood. This is especially dangerous for babies, children, the elderly, and young livestock. [1] Additionally, effluent water contains metals, pharmaceuticals, and many other chemicals from cleaning and body care products.[2] The full effects of these products are not yet known.

Read this story about the South San Gabriel River and how its. been affected by wastewater.

No Dumping Sewage Petition reaches over 3000 Signatures!

WVWA is one of several partner organizations involved in the "No Dumping Sewage" campaign. NDS advocates for a better way to deal with our wastewater effluent through beneficial reuse, decentralized technologies, small scale solutions, and land application. 

Please consider adding your name to the petition and sharing it with your friends and neighbors to help us reach over 5,000 signatures. Only through proper legislation will we be able to save our Hill Country rivers, streams, and creeks from discharge! 

Rainwater Harvesting Underway at the WVWA Property!

This month WVWA hired Ron Van Sickle and his team at Harvested Rain Solutions to install a 30,000 gallon rainwater catchment tank to maximize water conservation on the land at Jacob’s Well. Once this project is complete, the WVWA property will be 100% on rainwater!

Rainwater contains less pollutants, salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants.  Rainwater catchment is one of the best ways to reduce demands on groundwater.  Gardens prefer rainwater to water and it is a great resource in Texas during our regular times of drought.  It can even be recycled back into the house to be used for gray water purposes and conserve water usage.

This was a project funded by the Cypress Creek Watershed Protection Plan and demonstrates best management practices for water conservation. The CCWPP has been in place for the last decade and is the first of its kind approved by the EPA to take preventative measures to keep Cypress Creek clean, clear, and flowing.

WVWA has been on the Executive and Stakeholder Committee since its inception and will continue to work with our partner organizations, such as the Meadow’s Center for Water and the Environment, to continue educating and implementing best practices in the Cypress Creek Watershed.

The Hill Country Conservation Network Helps Secure $5.15M for Landowners

In 2017, WVWA spearheaded  the formation of a coalition of organizations and agencies called the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network. Working across a 17-county region of Central Texas, The THCCN aims to advance shared goals of conservation and sustainable growth in the Texas Hill Country.

This year, the THCCN and the Hill Country Conservancy secured a $5.15 million pledge from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), part of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The award will support the Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative, which will provide funding to private landowners performing land stewardship best practices and ensuring long term conservation of sensitive agricultural lands across the Blanco, Middle Colorado and Llano River basins.

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service is pleased to partner with the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network as they have demonstrated an innovative approach and proposed lasting solutions to the state’s conservation and agricultural needs,” said Claude Ross, Natural Resources Specialist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. “The diverse array of stakeholders from the 19 partner organizations made for a very compelling application, and we’re honored to be a part of this critical investment in the protection of Central Texas’ working lands and natural resources.”

“The RCPP award allows us to channel environmental quality incentive and agricultural conservation easement dollars directly to Hill Country landowners - who are daily caring for our precious natural resources, growing our food, and keeping our land beautiful, often without recognition for their work.” said Frank Davis, Director of Land Conservation for Hill Country Conservancy.

This promises to be the first of many major collaborative efforts undertaken by The Hill Country Conservation Network in the coming years to balance out our ecological vulnerability and developmental pressures by preserving Central Texas’ diverse natural resources.

EP Updates from TESPA

As you might have heard, EP requested that BSEACD refer all of the contested cases to SOAH.  Under the law, as the applicant, they have the right to do this. This means that EP has to pay for the SOAH hearing, and they have deposited $70,000 with BSEACD to sign a contract with SOAH to conduct the hearing. Remember, the SOAH Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is just a fact finder and NOT the final decision maker.  When this hearing is over, the ALJ will issue a proposal for decision (PFD) to the BSEACD Board, and the Board will make the final decision on EP's application. However, they can only rule differently from the ALJ's recommendation if they find that the ALJ incorrectly interpreted a law or did not take into account certain evidence.

The first step is the preliminary hearing. This has been scheduled for September 17th at 10:00 AM.  (Details below).  This is where the ALJ will determine whether the protestants (those that filed contested case requests) have standing to do so.  Essentially, you have to prove that you could be injured by EP's proposed permit. EP has agreed not to challenge TESPA's standing in this case.  With over 100 landowners who could demonstrate a potential injury, EP must have realized that it would be a waste of time and money to fight TESPA on standing.  So this is a big victory!

TESPA will be at the hearing on September 17th and will support the County in their quest for standing along with some of the individual landowners who will need to prove that they will be impacted.

It would be wonderful if a lot of people came to the hearing to support the other parties.  Although it is preliminary, it is important that the ALJ know how important this is to the community.
We need to pack the room!  Please attend if you can.

The address for SOAH is:
300 W. 15th St., Suite 504
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: 512.475.4993

The docket number is 957-18-4985. The room will be posted the day of the hearing.

In case you have not heard, thanks to all of the hard work and support, TEPSA raised over $12,000 at the fundraiser on July 23rd! There will be another fundraiser scheduled for October 14th at Montesino Ranch, please save the date!

Your support matters! Donate to WVWA today!

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Wimberley Valley Watershed Association
PO Box 2534
Wimberley, Texas 78676

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