Plans for treatment plant raise worries about impact on San Marcos River

Huddled into a small 1930s-era high school auditorium, dozens of people this week declared their opposition to letting a yet-to-be-built residential development dump treated wastewater into Dickerson Creek, a tributary of the San Marcos River and a typically dry waterway that feeds private wells in Caldwell County.

The proposed Cherryville development, which would have 10,000 homes on a 1,200-acre plot off Texas 80 and Texas 130, requested a permit to dump up to 160,000 gallons of treated wastewater per day into the creek. Cherryville’s developers and experts from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — the regulatory agency that issues treated wastewater dumping permits — met with area residents Tuesday night to discuss lingering questions and concerns about the permit before TCEQ decides whether to approve it.

The two-hour meeting was held at Prairie Lea High School and included Caldwell County commissioners, a Martindale City Council member and residents with property along the creek or the connecting San Marcos River. Attendees expressed concerns about water quality, flooding and potential damage to public water supplies if the permit is approved.

“I want a guarantee that you won’t have a mishap, like San Marcos has,” said R.W. Grantham, a representative for the local public Tri-Community Water Supply, referring to a raw sewage spill into the San Marcos River in 2014. He added that the river already has to deal with pollution from other treated wastewater dumping sites and people who use it for recreational purposes. “How much can the river take? I’ve lived here all my life, and it can only take so much.”

Read more from Chase Karacostas with The Austin American-Statesman here.