UPDATE: Thursday 10/11. Thanks to almost 400 letters to the Austin City Council from SOS supporters, and leadership from Councilmembers Kathie Tovo and Laura Morrison, and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to continue fighting the Jeremiah Venture proposal to spray irrigate treated sewage directly on the Barton Springs recharge zone.
If approved, the proposed sewage irrigation facility would be the first one on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. A portion of the sewage would enter the aquifer, flowing towards both drinking water wells and Barton Springs. If allowed, it would set a dangerous precedent for Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs and the overall health of Texas’ most vulnerable aquifer.
The sewage irrigation and development would be located immediately adjacent to City-owned (and taxpayer-paid-for) water quality protection lands on one side and drinking water wells serving the Ruby Ranch subdivision on the other side. See the map and read the site survey report by Dr. Nico Hauwert, a City employee and leading expert on the hydro-geology of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer.
SOS Alliance and the City of Austin are opposing the permit application before an Administrative Law Judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. A hearing on the permit is now set for November 14 through 16. If the City settles and withdraws from the permit battle, it would leave only SOS Alliance opposing the permit.
What would the City get out of a settlement? Not much. The developers would still be allowed to irrigate three-feet of sewage per acre per year on 130 acres – with significant portion of that sewage recharging directly into the aquifer.
So please tell City Council to keep their scientists and lawyers in the fight, working with SOS Alliance lawyers and scientists to keep sewage off of the Edwards Aquifer.