State judge sides with Dripping Springs in wastewater permit hearing

A state judge has sided with the city of Dripping Springs on all 12 issues raised in the contested case hearing with local nonprofit Save Our Springs Alliance.

A state judge has sided with the city of Dripping Springs on all 12 issues raised in the contested case hearing with local nonprofit Save Our Springs Alliance.

The city of Dripping Springs will proceed with its wastewater permit application after a state judge sided with the city on all 12 issues raised by Save Our Springs Alliance—an Austin-area environmental nonprofit.

The State Office of Administrative Hearings conducted the contested case hearing and concluded that the city’s application for a wastewater permit should be granted, according to a Nov. 26 news release.

The ruling concluded that the draft permit:
• Contains provisions to protect wildlife in the area
• Will protect water quality under applicable Texas Surface Water Quality Standards
• Is protective of groundwater in the area

The decision clears the way for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, to issue a final permit.

“We know we have one last step to take with TCEQ in order to expand our wastewater treatment plant, but today’s SOAH ruling is incredibly important for us,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds in a Nov. 26 news release. “Our responsibility is to care for the citizens of our community, to be good stewards of our environment and to plan for the growth that we know is coming. It would be easy to stick our heads in the sand and avoid making tough decisions; that is not what our city is about.”

In 2015 the city approached the TCEQ seeking a permit to discharge up to 995,000 gallons of treated effluent per day. Since then, environmental groups, wastewater conservation districts and others have protested the permit.

The city of Dripping Springs reached a settlement agreement with all but one designated party—Save Our Springs Alliance—in its effort to obtain a wastewater discharge permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in early July.

“We’re obviously disappointed in the administrative law judge’s recommended decision,” Bill Bunch, Executive Director of Save Our Springs Alliance, told Community Impact Newspaper Nov. 26. “We don’t agree with it.”

Bunch said the organization plans to articulate their objections during the formal briefing process when the judge reads the decision.

The permit will allow the city to begin expansion of its wastewater treatment plant, in order to continue providing for its citizens and to accommodate the rapid residential and commercial growth in the area, Foulds said.

“We knew this process would be challenging and would cause concern among some
stakeholders,” Foulds said. “I am incredibly proud we reached a compromise with just about everyone involved.”
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


MOST RECENT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Photo of Cypress Springs Elementary
Dripping Springs ISD approves new attendance zones for 2021-22 year

The new zones accommodate the addition of Cypress Springs Elementary School, which joins the district this fall.

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
Austin Public Health coronavirus vaccine portal opens to all adults April 12

APH will continue outreach efforts to high-priority groups.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Tavel Bristol-Joseph has started a scholarship fund that will provide $6,000 to two Austin Community College Culinary Arts students and give them opportunity to be mentored by Bristol-Joseph and to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants. (Courtesy Emmer & Rye)
Austin chef starts scholarship and mentorship program for Austin Community College students

Tavel Bristol-Joseph started the scholarship fund, which will provide $6,000 to two ACC students and give them the opportunity to stage at one of the Emmer & Rye group's five restaurants.

Slaughter Lane will be extended east to US 183. (Courtesy Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam)
Slaughter Lane extension being designed for Easton Park in Southeast Austin

The transportation project could break ground in 2022.

Snow and ice cover the pond on the southeastern side of the Mueller development in East Austin in February. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
After winter storm, Austin puts together a plan for better temporary shelters

The locations, which could be schools, libraries or recreation centers, would be disconnected from traditional infrastructure and be able to sustain operations if the city were to experience widespread power or water outages.

Jersey Mike’s Subs opened its newest shop in South Austin on March 31. (Courtesy Jersey Mike's Subs)
New dog park, cafe on the way; Jersey Mike’s adds local location and more South Austin business news

A new pet shop has opened in South Austin, and a dog park is also on the way later this month.

Austin ISD is holding community conversation sessions April 12-May 6. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD community conversation sessions continuing through May 6

The series offers AISD families an opportunity to learn about the district’s strategic plan and ongoing budget planning.

Vacancy Brewing is located across the street from The Yard development in the St. Elmo neighborhood. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin

Vacancy Brewing is located across the street from The Yard development in the St. Elmo neighborhood.