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City of Dripping Springs reaches two major milestones in approval process for wastewater discharge permit

DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEXAS – November 13, 2017 – The City of Dripping Springs received good news on two fronts last week.  The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and Dripping Springs have approved an agreement regarding the City’s application for a wastewater discharge permit and its plans for beneficial reuse.

The agreement with the LCRA recognizes the City’s plans and existing contracts for beneficial reuse and provides Dripping Springs with the ability to operate its treatment plant in such a way as to maximize its reuse opportunities.  It does include an infrastructure commitment, including a minimum of 12 million gallons of treated effluent storage by the City during the life of the permit.  Once the City demonstrates that discharge will only occur in limited unavoidable circumstances, no additional infrastructure will be required.  If avoidable discharges do occur beyond the agreed-upon circumstances, the City will be required to invest in and build additional infrastructure.

“We greatly appreciate the LCRA’s willingness to meet with us over the last year in an effort to find common ground,” said Dripping Springs Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds.  “Our plan from the start has always been for beneficial reuse.  LCRA’s support of this effort should speak volumes as to how committed we are as a city to fulfilling that goal.”

Dripping Springs has signed reuse contracts with groups to accept close to 500,000 gallons per day of treated effluent.  This, combined with plans the City has to irrigate city-owned land, accounts for approximately 600,000 gallons per day, which puts a significant dent into the proposed allowable maximum of 995,000 gallons per day.   The City Council also has signed a letter of intent with local landowner Scott Roberts as it relates to a proposed development in Driftwood.  A feasibility study is now being conducted to evaluate that development accepting up to one million gallons of treated effluent for beneficial reuse.

On the heels of the agreement with the LCRA, which the City Council unanimously approved at a meeting on Nov. 1, Dripping Springs received the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Executive Director’s Response to Public Comment from its public meeting held on Nov. 10, 2016, at Dripping Springs Ranch Park.

TCEQ leadership and technical staff reviewed and responded to all public comments that were submitted.  Some of their key findings include:

  • The proposed effluent limits for all three phases in this draft permit represent some of the most stringent effluent limits that have been incorporated into TPDES permits statewide.


  • The level of surface water protection put into the draft permit will also ensure protection of groundwater quality and its known uses.


  • The effluent limits included in the draft permit are more stringent than those required under the Edwards Aquifer Rule (30 TAC § 213.6) and under the requirements specific to Onion Creek and its tributaries in the Colorado River Watershed Rule (30 TAC § 311.43), which are among the most stringent effluent limits prescribed by any watershed rule in the state.


  • The Executive Director has made a preliminary determination that the draft permit will not degrade water quality in Onion Creek nor adversely impact its aesthetic qualities.


  • The effluent limits included in the draft permit are designed to be protective of water quality during periods of critical low-flow as well as under higher flow conditions.


  • The TCEQ has determined that with the total nitrogen limit, the proposed discharge would be protective of water quality and drinking water.

“The City of Dripping Springs is incredibly grateful for the responses we have received from the TCEQ and the LCRA as it relates to our discharge permit and our plans for beneficial reuse.  We have assembled one of the most stringent applications possible, as well as an incredibly aggressive plan for beneficial reuse,” said Dripping Springs Mayor Todd Purcell.  “We’ve put in a lot of hard work 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. It’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

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