Bulverde developments threaten local water supply by discharging treated sewage into the Edwards Aquifer

Bulverde developments threaten local water supply by discharging treated sewage into the Edwards Aquifer

The past decade has seen numerous developments sprouting up in the area around Bulverde, Texas. Driven by close proximity to the one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., the sprawling development in the Bulverde area is going largely unchecked, causing all sorts of problems for local residents. Winding through the Bulverde area is Cibolo Creek, a tributary of the San Antonio River. Cibolo Creek is unique in that it contains numerous faults and fractures that recharge the Edwards Aquifer.…

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A creek flowing to the Colorado River turned black. Now the state has sued the alleged polluter.

A creek flowing to the Colorado River turned black. Now the state has sued the alleged polluter.

ALTAIR — For more than two months, the waters of Skull Creek have flowed black, its surface covered in an iridescent sheen. Yellowed fish skeletons line the pebbled banks of the Colorado River tributary, and a dizzying chemical odor hangs in the air. The odor is so strong that Julie Schmidt says she can smell it inside her house. She and her husband bought 10 acres along the creek in December with visions of an idyllic country upbringing for their…

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Across the Hill Country, sewage plants threaten to turn clear streams into algae pools

Across the Hill Country, sewage plants threaten to turn clear streams into algae pools

  • April 15, 2019
  • News

BULVERDE – When Michelle Molina heard about plans for a sewage treatment plant to start discharging wastewater into Indian Creek, she organized her neighbors and started raising money to hire a lawyer to fight the developers behind the plan. They called their group Bulverde Neighborhoods for Clean Water, and they planned to fight the discharge of up to 300,000 gallons per day that would flow through the often-dry creekbed that winds through ranches and properties on large lots, eventually snaking…

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Algae infestation is causing an upset among residents along the Blanco River

Algae infestation is causing an upset among residents along the Blanco River

  • March 26, 2019
  • News

BLANCO, Texas — Homeowners near the Blanco River say there’s an algae problem that’s damaging the quality of the river, and it’s gotten a lot worse in just a few weeks. “It makes me sick,” said Joe Theriot, owner of The Blanco Settlement Riverfront Lodging. “Once a river or stream is failed in Texas, it’s hard to get it back.” Theriot’s business consists of 20 RV sites and about 10 cabins. He said it’s upsetting to see the water turn…

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Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Texas Stream Team honored by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

  • March 13, 2019
  • News

The Texas Stream Team, part of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, received a Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Governor Greg Abbott and TCEQ commissioners selected 10 winners in nine categories. The awards recognize efforts to use less water or energy, educate the public about natural resources and reduce pollution. “I am proud to announce this year’s winners,” said TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann. “Not only are they innovative,…

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TCEQ OKs Dripping Springs discharge permit

TCEQ OKs Dripping Springs discharge permit

  • March 5, 2019
  • News

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a wastewater discharge permit to Dripping Springs on Wednesday, giving the city authority to expand its existing wastewater plant and discharge up to 822,500 gallons of effluent per day into Onion Creek. However, Dripping Springs has committed to beneficial reuse of the effluent in an effort to avoid polluting the aquifer, as Barton Springs environmentalists have long feared might happen. Area landowners, the Save Barton Creek Association, a Hays County group called Protect…

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Conservation easement program preserves ranches for local water quality and nature benefits

Conservation easement program preserves ranches for local water quality and nature benefits

Gary Puryear said he did not know much about nature conservation when he inherited his father’s 423-acre ranch near Hamilton Pool Road in Western Travis County. Members of his family had owned and lived on the working ranch since 1880, and Puryear said the emotion of losing his father made it difficult to decide whether to keep the land or sell it to a developer. However, when he learned of the vast environmental benefits maintaining the land would bring to…

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Defenders: Thousands of Texas wastewater treatment plants dump into waterways

Defenders: Thousands of Texas wastewater treatment plants dump into waterways

  • February 28, 2019
  • News

AUSTIN, Texas — As part of Boomtown 2040 we are looking into growth and the impact it has on the places we call home. One of the biggest concerns about our area’s growth is water. The KVUE Defenders discovered a growing number of cities are dumping treated wastewater into the very places we enjoy and get our drinking water. We had a difficult time finding a city or suburb willing to talk about it until we mapped out all the…

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Permit for popular Float Fest on San Marcos River denied

Permit for popular Float Fest on San Marcos River denied

The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court voted on Thursday to deny a permit for Float Fest, just days after a study commissioned by organizers of the annual music festival showed it generated $12.3 million in total economic impact last year. Without a permit, which is required for gatherings of more than 5,000 people, the event cannot be legally held. Commissioners voted 3-2 during a special meeting that lasted more than three hours to deny the request by festival promoter Marcus Federman. He had…

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Liberty Hill wastewater treatment plant accused of dumping chemicals into river

  • January 27, 2019
  • News

LEANDER, Texas — The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is investigating after getting a complaint about foam and a bleach odor being discharged from the Liberty Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant outfall into the San Gabriel River. Chemicals discharged Thursday Water became foamy Wastewater treatment plant cited last year “This probably was a process failure. I’d be surprised if it was intentional,” Mike Clifford from the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, said. Clifford was contacted by a resident in the area who noticed foam and…

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