By Moses Leos III
Buda last week became the latest entity to pass a resolution outlining its concerns over Dripping Springs’ proposed permit to discharge treated effluent into Walnut Springs, a tributary of Onion Creek.
The Buda City Council July 19 adopted a resolution supporting the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District’s (BSEACD) stance on Dripping Springs’ proposed permit.
Council member Angela Kennedy encouraged council to approve adoption of the resolution based on the studies done by BSEACD on possible environmental consequences associated with the discharge.
Kennedy said the Dripping Springs discharge permit issue came up at a water/wastewater committee meeting, which she is a part of. Much of the concern stemmed from Buda citizens receiving water from the Edwards Aquifer, which is recharged by Onion Creek.
“It’s a regional issue,” Kennedy said. “Buda supports BSEACD’s recommendations to hold off on discharging into that creek until researchers can provide more scientific data on the long term impact to the aquifer and the creek itself.”
BSEACD presented council with a memorandum prior to the July 19 meeting outlining its opposition to the proposed permits discharge site.
Dripping Springs seeks a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to discharge close to 1 million gallons of effluent into Walnut Creek, which is a tributary of Onion Creek. The permit is part of the city’s wastewater treatment plant expansion project. TCEQ has not approved or denied the permit at this time.
The resolution by BSEACD cited studies showing the danger of increased nutrient levels in Onion Creek, which could affect the trophic status of the creek.
Onion Creek is a recharge zone for the Trinity Aquifer, which places it under “Aquifer Protection,” according to the memo.
The BSEACD’s resolution also claimed the Dripping Springs’ proposed treatment facility expansion was larger than necessary to accommodate for future growth.
Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said even though discharging into Onion Creek may be less expensive, the creek is considered more of a source of drinking water, and should be off-limits for discharge.
Both Kennedy and Ruge encouraged Dripping Springs to communicate openly with stakeholders about this issue in order to find an agreeable solution.
But Ruge said he has attempted to reach out to Dripping Springs Mayor Todd Purcell about this and other regional topics in the past, with little success.
Ruge said he extended invitations to Purell for a Meeting of Mayors, a committee of city mayors along the I-35 corridor.
Purcell has declined both invitations via Dripping Springs’ city Administrator Michelle Fischer, Ruge said.
After Buda approved to support the BSEACD’s resolution, Fischer reached out to Buda City staff on behalf of Purcell to meet with Ruge about this issue.
“Mayor Purcell is the one mayor that I can’t pick up the phone and call personally,” Ruge said.