Dripping Springs appeals court reversal of wastewater discharge permit

The TCEQ permit would have allowed Dripping Springs to dispose of treated wastewater into Onion Creek, which runs through Hays County and southern Travis County. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
The TCEQ permit would have allowed Dripping Springs to dispose of treated wastewater into Onion Creek, which runs through Hays County and southern Travis County. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

The TCEQ permit would have allowed Dripping Springs to dispose of treated wastewater into Onion Creek, which runs through Hays County and southern Travis County. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Dripping Springs and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality appealed a ruling Nov. 16 by the 459th Texas District Court that reversed a wastewater discharge permit that was granted to the city in early 2019.

The TCEQ permit would have allowed Dripping Springs to dispose of treated wastewater into Onion Creek, which city officials have said is necessary to expand its treatment plant’s capacity to serve the city’s growing population.

The reversal of the permit was handed down by Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who ruled in favor of South Austin nonprofit Save Our Springs Alliance. In the lawsuit, the nonprofit claimed that the allowed 800,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater could negatively impact Onion Creek’s native species and the area drinking water.

“[The ruling is] an important step towards preventing Hill Country streams from being used to flush sewage downstream, which ultimately contaminates groundwater wells and endangered species habitat, including Barton Springs,” Save Our Springs Alliance said in a statement after the Oct. 29 ruling in favor of the nonprofit.

Dripping Springs City Council discussed the ruling in an executive session Nov. 3 before reconvening and unanimously voting to appeal the ruling.


In a Nov. 16 news release, the city stated that evidence and expert witness testimonies used when initially applying for the permit will be used during the appeal. Evidence shows compliance with Texas Surface Water Quality Standards and environmental protection, according to the release.

“As I mentioned when we heard the news of the district court’s decision, we are confident in our ability to move forward,” Dripping Springs Mayor Bill Foulds said in the release. “We are confident that our appeal to the Third Court of Appeals will confirm that the city is doing everything in its power to accommodate the wastewater needs of our growing community in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible, and that our permit will stand."
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


MOST RECENT

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Austin Public Health leaders say gatherings with people outside one's household held indoors and without masks pose the greatest risk.

erthjtul

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

ACC’s Pinnacle Campus has been closed since 2018. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Community College: There’s 'excitement' for a new Pinnacle campus

The Southwest Austin campus has been closed since 2018 due to poor facility conditions.

A new pedestrian path was build along Sawyer Ranch Road this fall. (Courtesy Hays County)
Sawyer Ranch Road shared-use path completed in Dripping Springs

The project is one of the first completed through Hays County's 2016 bond.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

The Bridge at Turtle Creek apartment complex will provide more than 300 affordable units upon completion in 2022. (Rendering courtesy Journeyman Group)
Austin development updates: Apartments could replace two Rainey Street bars, 307 affordable housing units coming to South First Street area

A 569-foot apartment complex could replace Javelina and Craft Bar. Meanwhile, development continues in the St. Elmo area.

Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Holiday markets, strolls, tree lightings and Trail of Lights: 18 events in the Austin area in November and December

The Trail of Lights has gone drive-thru this year, while the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is taking free, ticketed reservations to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Austin voters approved a $7.1 billion public transit expansion Nov. 3 that will add bus and rail in Austin. (Design by Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
After historic public transportation vote, here is what's next for Project Connect in Austin

Shovels won't be hitting the ground on the light rail and downtown tunnel for years, but work is getting started now after Austinites approved the $7.1 billion plan Nov. 3.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Friends and co-owners (from left) Chris Blumentritt, Debbie Mylius and Phil Harding share a space in South Austin for Old School Liquor & Market and Cannon Coffee. (Photos by Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Old School Liquor & Market, Cannon Coffee keep it local in Southwest Austin

Three friends opened the neighboring businesses in 2019, showcasing local breweries, distilleries and coffee roasters.

Festival attendees will have access to augmented reality artworks throughout the galleria. (Courtesy Bee Cave Arts Foundation)
Inaugural interactive light festival coming soon to Bee Cave and more Central Texas updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.