FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
In October 2016, six citizen groups wrote to the Austin City Council urging them not to settle with
Dripping Springs over a proposed wastewater permit unless the result was no direct discharge into
Onion Creek, which supplies over 30% of Barton Springs flow. Today, those same organizations sent a
follow up letter to Austin City Council Members, reasserting their “no discharge” position in light of an
outline of a possible settlement agreement between Austin and Dripping Springs and new information
on the impacts to endangered species.
Save Barton Creek Association, Clean Water Action, Sierra Club (Austin Regional Group), Save Our
Springs Alliance, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, and Protect Our Water (Hays County) believe the
proposal to be far too weak on several points. Their overarching objection is that it would still allow
sewage discharges into Onion Creek.
Angela Richter, Executive Director of Save Barton Creek Association explains, "This proposed discharge would seriously affect Austin waterways and Austin citizens. Too few Austinites realize that this is happening and that pollution in Onion Creek would make its way into the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued a draft permit which would allow DS to discharge 995,000 gallons per day into the Creek, which supplies over 30% of Barton Springs flow.
Despite a November 10th TCEQ public meeting on the permit, with a large attendance of mostly Hays
County residents unanimously opposing the permit, the City of Dripping Springs’ position so far remains unchanged.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has halted the permit, stating “[I]t is not clear how this
permit conforms to the guidelines and requirements established by the Clean Water Act.” TCEQ must
now issue a response before moving forward.
A recently revealed letter, written by US Fish and Wildlife to the EPA about Dripping Springs’ permit
recommends a “no discharge solution” due to impacts on endangered species.
The coalition points out that there is no reason to strike a deal that would compromise water quality.
Some believe the settlement is being rushed due to legislative pressure. The coalition points out that
there are several more steps before any permit would be approved and premature settlement would be unwise.
The environmental coalition letter asks that Council direct staff “to withdraw the settlement proposal
and continue negotiations with a goal of no direct discharge.”
Save Barton Creek Association is asking City of Austin residents to write to their City Council members at www.savebartoncreek.org/onioncreekeffluent.
Contact: Angela Richter, Executive Director, Save Barton Creek Association
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