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

September 6th, 2011
TCEQ, San Marcos settle penalty over missing water quality plan

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The city of San Marcos has agreed to contribute money to build or maintain a water quality monitoring station instead of pay a fine levied by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

In an investigation conducted in January, TCEQ determined that the city had begun a utility drainage construction project near the intersection of Prospect and Bishop streets without filing a water pollution abatement plan with the regulatory agency. The plan is required because the project was within the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, an area where the underground reservoir is replenished as rainfall filters through the porous earth.

The city agreed to contribute $3,200 to Texas State University’s Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center for installation or support of a water quality monitoring station. The stations provide real-time data about the quality of water in area rivers.

Glenn Longley, director of the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center, said he does not yet know to what project the city’s $3,200 will be applied.

“I really won’t know the specifics on it until we get their (TCEQ’s) paperwork,” Longley said.

The monitoring station will measure dissolved oxygen, temperature, specific conductance, pH, turbidity, and water level. The monitoring station will collect water quality data every 15 minutes and report data to the TCEQ every hour using cellular telemetry.

According to TCEQ documents, preparing the water quality abatement plan would have cost the city about $4,000. The city submitted a water pollution abatement plan on Feb. 22 and TCEQ approved the plan on March 30. The city is not a “repeat violator,” according to TCEQ.

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