Buda not recommending wastewater discharge into Onion Creek

The city of Buda is more than doubling its wastewater treatment capacity. The expansion means the city needs somewhere to discharge the wastewater.

It will not be released into Onion Creek if Buda City Council follows a committee recommendation.

"We're pleased to announce the city of Buda is not going to recommend any discharge into Onion Creek,” Mayor Todd Ruge said during an Oct. 13 City Council meeting.

The city’s water/wastewater steering committee, made up of council members and staff, issued the recommendation after Buda City Council indefinitely tabled consideration of discharging wastewater into Onion Creek, Ruge said.

“Onion Creek is really kind of the heart and soul of Buda and this region,” he said. “We know there are other communities in the county that are struggling with [whether to discharge wastewater into Onion Creek].

“For us it was an easy one. Sometimes doing the right thing is more expensive, but I feel in this case it will be money well spent—not only for our neighbors but for the county and our environment.”

As part of the planned expansion of wastewater treatment facilities, the city is exploring designs to execute that expansion, which would bring the city’s wastewater treatment capacity from 1.5 million gallons per day to 3.5 million gallons per day. Ruge said expanding the city’s wastewater treatment plant is about two years away.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rules stipulate the city must amend its permit for discharge of treated wastewater so the treatment plant expansion may occur.

According to a city of Buda news release, Onion Creek’s proximity to its treatment plant relative to Plum Creek “would have allowed for substantial savings in infrastructure costs” while also having minimal to no effect on Onion Creek’s ecosystem.

Ruge said the city will move forward with a plan to discharge wastewater into Plum Creek, which will cost $2 million more than discharging into Onion Creek would have. He said the next step is to file a permit application with the TCEQ.