The United Nations has designated November 19th World Toilet Day. GEAA celebrated by joining hundreds of citizens at a meeting with the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality to protest a discharge permit for a new sewage treatment plant in Comal County. You can see GEAA’s presentation here and read our comments here. You can read more about the meeting here.
This new treatment plant will serve the 4S Ranch subdivision just outside Bulverde that will put 1880 homes on 780 acres. The plant will treat 460,000 gallons per day to be discharged just north of the confluence of Dripping Springs and Lewis creeks, which flow into the nearby Cibolo Creek – a major source of recharge for the Edwards Aquifer. Given that this subdivision will sit on the Edwards Aquifer Contributing Zone, very near the Recharge Zone, GEAA will be working with local citizens to promote measures to mitigate negative impacts to the Aquifer.
Recharging the Edwards with sewage effluent that is not treated to drinking water standards will introduce emerging contaminants such as unmetabolized drugs and personal care products into our drinking water supply. Local wells will be at risk in the event of a sewage leak. The cumulative impacts of urban growth and new sewage infrastructure in this area will ultimately degrade the quality of our Edwards water.
We realize that sanitation is an important issue for the developing world. Likewise, appropriate, and inappropriate uses of sanitation infrastructure as it impacts the Edwards Aquifer has been a major focus of GEAA’s resources of late. Local municipalities and folks in the unincorporated area really need the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the State of Texas to act on their behalf by coming up with regulations that will address these issues region-wide.
Because Edwards water is not pretreated prior to use and distribution, we must be ever mindful of ensuring that water that recharges the Aquifer is clean and high quality. Toilet to tap can be a good alternate water supply. But, is this really what we want for the Edwards Aquifer?
We think the people of Bulverde and Spring Branch made their point last night. Let’s hope the TCEQ got it. Stay tuned for more on this important issue.