Open letter to Dripping Springs council

Dear Mayor Purcell and Dripping Springs City Council Members,

No one ever said public service was easy.  Often, it’s a thankless job that requires tough and sometimes unpopular decisions to be made for the good of the community.  Our city’s wastewater expansion is such an issue.  

Please accept a note of gratitude for your leadership and willingness to make these tough, but necessary, decisions.  While those in opposition to the proposed expansion have certainly held a louder microphone, there are many of us that stand squarely behind you and your efforts.  Your track record on this issue is one of delivering on promises. 

 You’ve been deliberate in your exploration of wastewater disposal options.  We’ve watched you vet these options, land application and discharge, through a variety of lenses – environmental, financial, long-term sustainability.  You’ve not rushed the process, nor have you skipped steps.  You’ve not shied away from rigorous public dialogue or criticism; and you’ve made your decisions based on science and facts.

 We’d like to recognize your efforts in one particular area of this process.  From the very outset, you committed to as much beneficial reuse as possible, minimizing the need to discharge treated effluent, which none of us wants, including this Council.  We recognize discharge is always a possibility under certain circumstances, such as periods of prolonged rain, but you’ve worked tirelessly to secure as many beneficial reuse contracts as possible.

 The proposed permit the City is seeking to accommodate our immediate and long-term wastewater needs would allow for the legal discharge of 995,000 gallons-per-day of highly treated effluent into Walnut Springs, a tributary to Onion Creek.  That has never been your intent, however. 

 You recently signed contracts with Caliterra and Howard Ranch to accept 500,000 gallons-per-day of treated effluent.  Combined with the plans to irrigate city-owned land, you’ve already accounted for approximately 600,000 gallons-per-day, putting a significant and proactive dent into the proposed allowable maximum of 995,000 gallons-per-day. 

 You’ve been incredibly consistent in your position:  Wastewater disposal is not the City’s goal; wastewater reuse is where we’re going, and we’re confident we’ll get there.  

On behalf of many of us in the community, thank you for your leadership and perseverance on this critical need.  Dripping Springs is very well served by your proactive approach.

Patrick Rose

Dripping Springs

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