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

Samsung's proposed $17 billion chip-making plant would dwarf other recent megaprojects that sought tax incentives in the region.
Samsung’s request to pay no property tax on $17 billion plant tests Austin’s incentive policy

Samsung is asking for 100% property tax reimbursement over 25 years, which would mark the most aggressive corporate tax break in Austin history.

A new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could help expand vaccination availability in Travis County, according to local health officials. (Courtesy Pexels)
Johnson & Johnson vaccine could mean additional supply, easier distribution rollout in Travis County

If approved, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be a valuable weapon against the ongoing pandemic, according to local health officials.

Austin ISD students will begin the 2021-22 school year Tuesday, Aug. 17. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Take a look at Austin ISD’s newly approved calendar for the 2021-22 school year

Austin ISD trustees have approved the academic calendar for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

Austin ISD students are scheduled to return to classrooms March 1 for the first time since Winter Storm Uri. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Winter storm damage could prevent 10 Austin ISD campuses from reopening next week

Austin ISD students are scheduled to return to classrooms March 1 for the first time since Winter Storm Uri.

A tree's branches fell on a car in North Austin in the midst of Winter Storm Uri in February. With downed tree limbs and burst water lines causing property damage across Austin, the city has directed additional funds into programs to help some homeowners with emergency home repairs. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Still in crisis mode, Austin City Council initiates recovery following winter storm

With 200 to 400 apartment and condo complexes in Austin still without water, City Council is aiming to direct aid and relieve some of the financial burden felt by residents following the devastating winter storms.

ArborView is a 62-plus active-living community. (Courtesy ArborView)
Southwest Austin active-living apartment community set to open March 1

The 62-plus active-living community will have 151 total apartment units for rent.

Jo's Coffee opened a North Austin location in January. (Courtesy Chad Wadsworth)
Jo's Coffee opens in Central Austin; new restaurant coming to Georgetown Square and more Central Texas news

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

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

Photo of a snowy residential street
'Bad data is worse than no data': Austin health officials unsure how storm affected coronavirus spread

Weekly testing and hospitalization averages will not be updated by Austin Public Health until Feb. 27.

If approved, the bill would also establish goals for emissions reductions by 2030, 2040 and 2050. (Courtesy James Talarico)
After Winter Storm Uri, Rep. James Talarico files climate action plan in Texas House

The Texas Climate Action Act would require the development of a climate action plan to help alleviate future climate-related disasters and establish goals for reducing emissions for 2030, 2040 and 2050.