Grace Creek: Assessing Water Quality
Photo Courtesy of TIAER
County: Gregg, Harrison
River Basin: Sabine
Segment: 0505_04, 0505B
Background and Goals
In Grace Creek and a portion of the Sabine River, TCEQ staff have observed high concentrations of bacteria in the streams since 2000. These bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the streams. These activities are referred as “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for surface water quality.
The goal of the project was to collect and study additional water quality data to further assess water quality. The TCEQ will use these data to determine the most appropriate management strategy.
The project watershed covers about 116 square miles in and around the city of Longview. There is a popular hike and bike trail and nature area along a stretch of the creek. To varying degrees, stormwater runoff from agricultural, industrial, and urban areas affects water quality in the segments.
The Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) began working on the project under contract with the TCEQ in September 2012 and completed their work in 2014. The data TIAER collected were added to the TCEQ’s Surface Water Quality Monitoring Information System (SWQMIS) for use in future assessment of Grace Creek and the affected portion of the Sabine River.
The TCEQ Standards Work Group may recommend a revised standard of secondary contact recreation use for Grace Creek in its 2017 revision to the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards.
In all its projects, the TCEQ seeks opinions and information from people who represent government, permitted facilities, agriculture, business, environmental, and community and private interests in the watershed.
TIAER coordinated public involvement in this project. On April 24, 2012, at a meeting of the Sabine River Authority Basin Steering Committee, TCEQ staff discussed issues related to Grace Creek and the need to initiate this project. TIAER and TCEQ hosted a public meeting about the project on September 20, 2012, at the Longview Public Library. Project scientists explained its purpose and asked stakeholders for feedback and for advice on appropriate monitoring locations. A final project update was provided to stakeholders on April 8, 2014, at the Sabine River Basin Steering Committee meeting in Longview, Texas.
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