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EPA Withdraws Interim Objection to City of Dripping Springs’ Discharge Permit

EPA Withdraws Interim Objection to City of Dripping Springs’ Discharge Permit
City Clears Major Hurdle for Expansion by Successfully Meeting Federal Government’s Stringent Requirements

DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEXAS – July 10, 2017 – The City of Dripping Springs was informed last week by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn its interim objection to the City’s discharge permit application in connection with the City’s plans to expand its wastewater treatment facility.  In a letter to the TCEQ, EPA acknowledged that the City of Dripping Springs has successfully resolved all of the issues the agency identified late last year as part of its review. 

On December 1, 2016, EPA submitted a letter to the TCEQ citing six issues for further examination relating to the City of Dripping Springs’ wastewater treatment plant expansion and discharge permit and potential impacts to Onion Creek.  After months of thorough analysis, EPA has determined that Dripping Springs’ proposal successfully meets the environmental governing body’s rigorous standards.  

The EPA’s letter includes several key findings:

“With the significant amount of population growth in this area, EPA believes having a wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) is necessary to maintain the high quality waters in Onion Creek.  A large amount of discharge from this facility will go toward beneficial reuse in the form of subsurface irrigation, so the actual amount of discharge from the facility will be much lower than what is permitted.  Based on the information provided, EPA withdraws its objection to the issuance of TPDES Permit No. TX0136778.”

“Additionally, a wastewater treatment facility will contribute significantly fewer pollutants, nutrients, etc. to Onion Creek than individual septic systems, which are currently being used by existing homes in the area.”

“Contributions from non-point sources (i.e. runoff from bordering fields, etc.) may have a larger effect on nutrient additions to Onion Creek than the discharge from this facility.  Additionally, individual septic systems may have a much greater negative impact to Onion Creek than the discharge from this facility.”

“It’s incredibly gratifying to receive the kind of feedback we just did from EPA,” said Dripping Springs Mayor Todd Purcell.  “The country’s leading environmental regulatory agency has validated the hard work we’ve put in to develop the most environmentally sensitive plan for expansion possible.  I hope this signals to our community how committed we truly are to doing everything we can to protect our community’s quality of life.”

The City will continue working through the TCEQ process, as well as meeting with various stakeholders throughout the region.  “I think EPA took note of how stringent our permit requirements are and how committed we are to beneficial reuse,” said Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds.  “We’ve conducted years of research to identify this proposed plan as the best option to meet our growing wastewater needs.  We’ve done our homework.”


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