Many thanks to Amy Smith and the Chronicle
for exposing the proposed Jeremiah Venture spray irrigation of sewage on the Barton Springs recharge zone and the city legal's last-minute push to convince City Council to allow the scheme to go forward [“Then There's This: Aquifer Angst
,” News, Sept. 28].
With or without the city, Save Our Springs Alliance will challenge the permit request in formal evidentiary hearings before the state Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulators and, if necessary, in the courts. But the city should be leading this fight, not bailing out just before the November hearing.
City experts have mapped over 100 caves, sinkholes, and recharge features on the site, and that's with only limited opportunity to survey the site. Those same experts have traced recharge flowing from the area to Barton Springs in only a few days. City taxpayers have paid for this science – we need to use it to protect Barton Springs and the state's most vulnerable drinking water aquifer.
There is a reason that no such sewage treatment systems currently exist on the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone: it can't be done safely or in compliance with state rules and statutes.
It's hard to imagine a more clear-cut case where City Council should ignore the insider developer lobbyists and do the right thing for Barton Springs.