In July of 2017, Electro Purification, LLC ("EP") applied for a groundwater production permit at the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District ("BSEACD") for a Middle Trinity Aquifer well field in Hays County - the same well field that previously, had been unregulated. For background info click here. The permit application indicates that pumping rates will be phased in over time with a maximum permitted pumping rate of 2.5 million gallons per day (MGD), or approximately 912 million gallons per year, pumped from seven wells located on the Odell and Bridges properties. BSEACD projects that pumping this amount of groundwater will cause 300-500 feet of drawdown in the Cow Creek Aquifer within one year and after seven years could result in dewatering of the Cow Creek Aquifer.
In February, BSEACD determined that potentially unreasonable impacts will occur at residential wells in the vicinity of the well field. As a result, EP submitted a compliance monitoring plan and impact avoidance plan to mitigate and avoid the unreasonable impacts subject to BSEACD approval.
On May 21st, BSEACD staff issued a Statement of Position and recommendation to the Board of Directors to grant EP’s permit application. Staff recommended that pumping volumes be phased in over a four phases and recommended special provisions to be included in the permit designed to avoid and mitigate unreasonable impacts to wells and the aquifer. TESPA is currently analyzing BSEACD's recommendation. You can read the decision here.
BSEACD has posted all documents related to the permit application on their website. Click here.
Some of TESPA's concerns in general are as follows:
• Excessive drawdown in vicinity of residential wells will occur. Drawdowns of 300 feet are projected a distance of two miles from the well field in the Middle Trinity Aquifer. (see map)
• The large scale pumping will cause aquifer mining, or overdraft in a portion of the Middle Trinity Aquifer with a currently undefined recharge zone,
• Long term impacts on the Desired Future Condition and on spring flow is unknown,
• Phased permitting approach removes ability of landowners to protest at each stage if they are affected
Electro Purification has 10 days to publish notice of BSEACD's recommendation. EP must publish notice in a paper of general circulation and must also mail notice to all registered well owners within two miles from the well field.
The 20 day comment period and deadline to submit a contested case request to BSEACD will begin on the day after EP publishes notice. For more info, read TESPA's post on the procedure moving forward.
TESPA will hold a community meeting on May 29th at Saint Stephen's Church at 7:00 PM to explain BSEACD's recommendation and possible legal options moving forward.
REGISTER your well with BSEACD or HTGCD, depending on which jurisdiction you are in so the Districts know you you exist and can protect your water. Here is a map of HTGCD's jurisdiction. Click here for HTGCD's well registration form. Here is a map of BSEACD's jurisdiction. Type your address in it and it will tell you where you are. Click here for BSEACD's online well registration form or if you want to print and mail in click here for a pdf version.