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."