San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 22nd, 2011
San Marcos church settles up with TCEQ, county

Promiseland church on Lime Kiln Road, shown here before construction of a parking lot that got it in trouble with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The church paid an $800 fine last month and also received a new permit from the county for an undersized septic system. BING AERIAL PHOTO.

STAFF REPORT

Promiseland San Marcos church paid an $800 fine levied by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, bringing to a close an investigation over a parking lot built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone without environmental clearance.

The church was also under investigation by Hays County for having a septic system undersized by an alleged 1,750 gallons per day. The county asked the church to obtain a new septic system permit but did not issue a citation. The church, located at 1650 Lime Kiln Road, received the permit earlier this month.

In December 2010, a complainant notified TCEQ that the church had built a parking lot and cleared brush on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone in 2010 without the agency’s permission. The complainant is not named in TCEQ documents.

The complainant also said the church’s septic system was designed for a warehouse with traffic of no more than 24 people per day.

According to the church’s website, its congregation has more than 1,000 members. Promiseland Pastor has said hundreds of people attend the church on a given weekend.

TCEQ dispatched investigators on Dec. 30, 2010, and Jan. 5. In his investigation report, TCEQ investigator Zach Lanfear said he found an “unauthorized parking lot” of 0.41 acres and an “unauthorized cleared area” of 0.25 acres.

On Aug. 17, TCEQ commissioners and Promiseland trustee Rob Steele executed an agreement whereby the church agreed to amend its water pollution abatement plan or face additional penalties. Promiseland’s old plan had been invalidated by the parking lot construction and brush-clearing.

According to Clint Garza, development services director for Hays County, the church’s old system was designed to handle a an average daily flow of 120 gallons per day. Garza said the commissioners court authorized a new permit for an average daily flow of 300 gallons per day.

“The Sunday flow is estimated at 1,848 gallons per day but is detained and ‘dosed’ throughout the week as a part of the 300 (gallons per day) mentioned above,” Garza said in an email.

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