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Orange County Watersheds: A TMDL Project to Protect Aquatic Life and Recreational Uses

A community project to improve water quality for support of recreational and aquatic life uses. TMDLs were developed for bacteria, dissolved oxygen, and pH. The TMDLs are adopted. Stakeholders are developing the implementation plan, which together with the TMDLs is the road map for improving water quality.
photo of Adams Bayou
Adams Bayou

Counties: Orange, Jasper, Newton
Parameters: Bacteria, dissolved oxygen, pH
River Basin: Sabine River
Segment: 0508, 0508A, 0508B, 0508C, 0511, 0511A, 0511B, 0511C, 0511E

Background and Goals

Adams Bayou and Cow Bayou are located in southeast Texas. Their combined watersheds cover almost 250 square miles in the coastal area of the Sabine River Basin. The water flow in the bayous is intermittent, and periods of no flow are very common.

Water quality testing found that bacteria levels in the bayous and their tributaries may pose a health risk for swimmers. Low concentrations of dissolved oxygen in some areas of the creek indicate that conditions are not optimal for aquatic life.

The goals of the project are to:

  • reduce bacteria levels in the bayous to ensure that recreational use is safe, and
  • maintain concentrations of dissolved oxygen and pH in the bayous at levels that will sustain aquatic life.

The Sabine River Authority, Exit the TCEQ the Texas Water Resources Institute, and other stakeholders are working with the TCEQ to develop a plan for improving water quality in the project watersheds.

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Comment on Proposed Implementation Plan

The public is invited to comment on the proposed implementation plan for indicator bacteria, dissolved oxygen, and pH. Community stakeholders worked together to create this implementation plan.

You may submit your comments in writing, or orally at a public meeting.

Submit Comments in Writing

Written comments must be received at the TCEQ no later than midnight on March 9, 2015, and should reference the Implementation
Plan for Seventeen Total Maximum Daily Loads for Bacteria, Dissolved Oxygen, and pH in Adams Bayou, Cow Bayou, and Their Tributaries.

By Mail:
Attn: Mr. Chip Morris
Water Quality Planning Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
MC 203
P. O. Box 13087
Austin, Texas, 78711-3087

By Fax:
Attn: Mr. Chip Morris

Online at: from February 9 through March 9, 2015

Submit Comments at a Public Meeting

February 19, 2015
6:00 p.m.
Sabine River Authority of Texas
12777 N. Highway 87
Orange 77630

At this meeting, people have the opportunity to present oral statements when called upon in order of registration. An agency staff member will give a brief presentation at the start of the meeting and will be available to answer questions before and after all public comments have been received.

Persons with disabilities who have special communication or other accommodation needs who are planning to attend the meeting should contact the commission at (512) 239-6682. Please make accommodation requests as far in advance as possible.

Adopted TMDLs

The commission adopted these TMDLs on June 13, 2007. The EPA approved the TMDLs on August 28, 2007, at which time they became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

Updates to TMDLs

From time to time, it is necessary to revise TMDLs to account for changing conditions in the watershed, such as new or amended permits, or urban growth, or to correct oversights in the original TMDL report. Revisions to the load allocations in TMDLs are made via the state’s WQMP, which is updated quarterly.

The WQMP provides projected effluent limits for use in planning and permitting activities under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES). The TCEQ reviews all applications for new and amended permits for conformance with applicable portions of the WQMP, including adopted TMDLs.

Revisions to the TMDLs are documented in the approved WQMP updates listed below.

Learn more about WQMP updates and about opportunities to comment on revisions to them.

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Get Involved

The Sabine River Authority, in partnership with the TCEQ, is coordinating public involvement in development of the TMDL implementation plan. Public meetings about the plan are open to everyone. Records of meetings about I-Plan development are available on the Sabine River Authority Exit the TCEQ website.

TMDL Development

A named-member stakeholder group called the Orange County TMDL Stakeholder Advisory Group advised the TCEQ on development of the TMDLs for this project. Records of the group membership and meetings are available below in PDF.

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Reports and Other Documents

Project documents are available in PDF.

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Contact Us

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Orange County project in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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