Environmental Leaders Against WTP4

Lost amidst the deluge of Wal-Mart runoff last week was a letter to City Council from several of Austin's environmental leaders, urging them to change course on building Water Treatment Plant 4 at its proposed, environmentally sensitive location. "We ask that you remove yourself from the box the Utility has unnecessarily put the City in of building in either the sensitive Bull Creek watershed or in the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve," the letter reads, urging the city to "initiate a new, more reasonable site selection process."

"The criteria used by staff and consultants for the site selection were arbitrarily narrow and eliminated at least one potential site out of hand," the letter continues, referring to findings from the City Auditor that a second site in the Cortana tract met the criteria for site consideration, but was not fully vetted."How many additional viable sites were excluded? The existence of at least one potential site within the Cortana tract was never 'let out of the bag.”

The letter goes on that WTP4 is predicated on "old technology requiring more land," rendering the city's size requirements artificially inflated. They make a similar case that slope/grade requirements and a restriction against building on developed properties kept the number of potentially viable sites low. "We ask that you broaden the scope of the site selection process and ask the Utility why it has not considered newer technology that requires far less land," the letter ends. The undersigned include Save Our Springs' Bill Bunch and Colin Clark, Water and Wastewater Commission member Leslie Pool, Environmental Board members Karin Ascot and Phil Moncada, the Austin Neighborhoods Council's Laura Morrison, and several others.

Download the WTP4 re-evaluation letter here.

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