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Lake & Rivers Local News

TCEQ Schedules Public Hearing on Honey Creek

Guadalupe River State Park is immediately downstream of the confluence of Honey Creek, shown here, and the Gudalupe River. Image courtesty of Texas Parks & Wildlife.

The public gets to weigh in tonight on a controversial wastewater permit that would allow developers of Honey Creek Ranch, a planned subdivision with 2,396 new homes on 592 acres, to discharge 500,000 gallons of treated water-per-day into the environmentally sensitive — and sluggish — Honey Creek in Spring Branch.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has scheduled a hearing on Silesia Properties’ TPDES Permit No. WQ0015688001 for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20 at Rahe Bulverde Elementary School, 1715 East Amman Rd., Bulverde. To review the permit, click here.

The non-profit Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) urges residents and recreationalists who enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing and tubing at Guadalupe River State Park to protest the proposed wastewater-treatment facility at 26226 State Highway 46 West in Spring Branch. The discharge route is from the plant site via pipe to a dry tributary leading to Honey Creek, which feeds into the Guadalupe River.

Guadalupe River State Park is immediately downstream of the confluence of Honey Creek and the Gudalupe River.

For more information about the region’s environmental sensitivity, click here. To learn more about Honey Creek State Natural Area, visit Texas Parks and Wildlife by clicking here.

Annalisa Peace, executive director of The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA), said TCEQ’s permit “represents poor public policy in the extreme.”

“GEAA has been asking the state to prohibit this type of permit to discharge waste water into waterways that recharge the Edwards and Trinity aquifers since 2005,” she said Monday. “Absent action by the State legislature, we are forced to fight these permits on a case by case basis. Really, the people of Texas deserve better.”

The nonprofit organization GEAA promotes effective broad-based advocacy for protection and preservation of the Edwards Aquifer, its springs, watersheds, and the Texas Hill Country that sustains it.

Peace said thousands of Texans already oppose the permit.

According to information supplied by GEAA:

  • Preliminary water-quality testing of the receiving water body conducted by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment indicate that Honey Creek is one of the clearest-flowing streams in the Texas Hill Country, with low levels of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) and a unique aquatic habitat resulting from these low nutrient levels.
  • Streamflow discharge measurements made near the mouth of Honey Creek indicate that often there is no flow in Honey Creek, especially in summer months, which means at certain times the entire flow in the creek would be wastewater, creating an algae-filled stream.
  • Even during average flow conditions, almost half of the streamflow would consist wastewater because there isn’t enough natural flow in Honey Creek to offset the proposed 500,000 gallon/day wastewater discharge.
  • The wastewater flow would remain largely intact as it enters the Guadalupe River from Honey Creek. During average Guadalupe River flow conditions, a substantial portion of the flow would consist of nutrient-laden effluent, impacting recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, canoeing, and inner tubing on the river.

Peace said both the natural area and Guadalupe River State Park represent enormous taxpayer investment and serve as both recreational destinations and as sanctuaries for native aquatic species.

“Issuance of a discharge permit will degrade both public and private property assets that bring considerable value to countless local residents, visitors, and the citizens of Texas who benefit from the long-term economic prosperity provided by the clean waters of the Honey Creek State Natural Area and Guadalupe River State Park,” she said in a press release issued today. “A large crowd, including local area residents, citizen’s groups, and Texans from all over who treasure Honey Creek State Natural Area are expected to attend and protest this permit.

For comments from the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance on this permit click here. To learn more about this issue on GEAA’s Waste Water Page by clicking here.

According to Hill Country Alliance, deadline for submitting comments is Aug. 20.  Citizens can submit written comments online at https://www14.tceq.texas.gov/epic/eComment/.  To submit comments on-line refer to Permit No. WQ0015688001.

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