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Meeting set on Tarpley wastewater plan

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Posted: Friday, October 19, 2018 4:59 pm

Landowners near a Christian summer camp planned in the Tarpley area have scheduled an organizational meeting to examine the camp’s plans to dump 49,000 gallons a day of treated wastewater into an area creek and to decide if a more environmentally sound treatment plan should be pursued.

Margo Denke, who lives about a mile and a half downstream from the domestic wastewater treatment facility proposed by RR 417 LLC for the camp, said the project has generated a lot of concern about the impact it will have on water quality since landowners learned about it last month.

She said she and other landowners are concerned that Commissioner’s Creek is too small to accept the amount of treated wastewater that is planned by developers, that nitrogen and pH levels in the creek will rise drastically and that fish in the creek won’t be able to survive.

“I’m not trying to be inflammatory, but we should not be suffering consequences from this development.  That’s not fair,” said Denke, who has helped organize the informational meeting planned for Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Anton Haner Center, 264 Valentine Lane near the Tarpley Volunteer Fire Department station.

She said the purpose of the meeting is to learn more about the wastewater discharge permit the developer is working to get approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and to discuss what other treatment options might exist.

The general manager of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District is expected to attend the meeting as is a representative of the Nueces River Authority since Commissioner’s Creek flows into waterways that feed into the Nueces River basin.

Bandera County Commissioner Jordan Rutherford, who represents the area and has been trying to learn more about the developer’s plans, also has been invited to attend.

Denke said she suspects the group will decide to oppose a discharge of wastewater into the creek and will seek a modification of the plan.

“We’re not opposed to development.  We want the developer to be environmental neutral,” said Denke. “This will hurt landowners downstream.”

She believes there are other treatment options for the camp’s wastewater that would provide better protections for the creek and not cost the developer more money.  Denke said she has tried to contact the developer and has not gotten a response.

The TCEQ said it received an application from the developer in July for a water quality permit for the wastewater facility and that the application was “administratively complete.”

The commission had plans to conduct a technical review of the application that should result in a preliminary decision on the request.

Sam Torn, the president of RR 417 and the owner of the property under development, said last month that he was sensitive to environmental concerns about the camp and was committed “to being a good environmental steward.”

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