TCEQ Schedules Thursday Hearing on Wastewater Permit Affecting Canyon Lake
A public hearing on a controversial wastewater permit that would allow SJWTX to discharge 260,00 gallons of treated domestic wastewater daily into the Guadalupe River above Canyon Lake begins 7 p.m. Thursday at Smithson Valley Middle School’s cafeteria, 6101 FM 311, Spring Branch.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will facilitate the hearing on proposed Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Permit No. WQ0016052001.
SJWTX, formerly known as Canyon Lake Water Service Company, and co-applicant Mary Jane Cielencki need TCEQ’s approval to build a new TPDES located a quarter of a mile northwest of the intersection of Rebecca Creek Road and U.S. Highway 281 North in Comal County.
Cielencki owns the property where the anticipated wastewater treatment plant would be located.
Discharge would move from the proposed plant site via pipe to Cypress Creek and into Segment No. 1806 of the Guadalupe River Basin. The Guadalupe River feeds into Canyon Lake.
Lennar Homes needs permit approval before it can proceed with plans to build 718 homes on 4,000-square-foot lots and a 31-acre business park in Spring Branch, according to TCEQ.
Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA), an environmental group which represents 56 member organizations, asked TCEQ for a contested-case hearing for the permit, which would allow an administrative judge to rule on the permit instead of TCEQ.
In comments submitted electronically to TCEQ on March 16, she said her members have serious concerns regarding the permit application and the degradation the plant and its effluent would cause to Cypress Creek and the Guadalupe River above above Canyon Lake.
However, GEAA said it would consider “beneficial reuse” of the wastewater that would eliminate the need to discharge effluent into Cypress Creek.
“Jumbo Evans Sports Park is located less than two miles away from the proposed Simmons Valley WWTP and would benefit from municipal reclaimed water for irrigation of its athletics fields and other parklands,” Peace said in GEAA’s comments on the permit. “GEAA urges the applicant to incorporate Title 30 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 210 Reclaimed Water use into its current application.”
Peace said she spoke with SJWTX President Tom Hodge, who told her plans are in the works to contract with Comal County to purchase the wastewater and use it to irrigate Jumbo Evans Park.
“While we are concerned about the impacts of such a dense development on drainage and the impact of polluted stormwater runoff from the development on our ground and surface water supplies, we would consider a beneficial reuse of the waste water to irrigate the park as an appropriate component of the project,” she told MyCanyonLake.com in an email today.
Larry Jackson, SJWTX’s director of Communications & Customer Service, said there are no contracts or commitments with the county at this time.
“Before anything like that can happen we must have the permit approved by TCEQ to operate the treatment facility,” he said. “However, if applicable, we always intend to provide the treated discharge effluent for reuse. This can be irrigation, commercial use. We currently operate five wastewater treatment facilities and the effluent is used for irrigation or bulk haulers (construction).”
Peace said any water not used to irrigate Jumbo Evans Park should be disposed on land purchased for this purpose by SJWTX and Cielencki.