Central Texas residents fight new permits for wastewater discharge

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Residents and environmental advocates are fighting against a plan to allow a wastewater treatment plant to dump up to 160,000 gallons of treated wastewater per day into Dickerson Creek near Lockhart in Central Texas, only the latest in a long list of such requests in the region.

A hearing on the permit for the new Cherryville plant is slated for Tuesday night at Prairie Lea High School’s auditorium, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Dickerson Creek feeds the San Marcos River as well as private wells.

“Those people, they don’t have treatment plants. They’re using the drinking water out of their wells,” Dianne Wassenich, executive director of the San Marcos River Foundation, told the newspaper. “That’s a water quality health issue that I really think our state does not yet have a grip on.”

Advocates say that treated wastewater is better used for land irrigation. It costs more than discharges into waterways, but the soil can filter out any remaining particles of waste and reduce groundwater contamination.

Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, is currently fighting seven other permits being considered by the Texas Commission on Environment Quality to discharge treated wastewater into Central Texas waterways, the Statesman reported.

Peace said rapid development of the region has led to a record number of such requests.

“The proliferation of them — it’s just kind of staggering at this point,” she told the newspaper.

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