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Colorado River Below E.V. Spence Reservoir: Implementing Total Maxmimum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

The Railroad Commission will evaluate the data from two sites, Ballinger and Wendkirk. This comprehensive data evaluation will be used to design and determine where to locate recovery systems to reduce saline groundwater flows to the Colorado River.


The Colorado River below E.V. Spence Reservoir is impaired for total dissolved solids (TDS), sulfates, and chloride. Two TMDLs were completed in 2007 with the goal of identifying sources of saline inflows and improving water quality in the river by implementing management measures. The Railroad Commission has eliminated many potential sources of salinity by plugging orphaned or abandoned wells that can leak brine, a by-product of oil production.

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Project Description

The Railroad Commission will comprehensively evaluate the lithology, groundwater flow conditions, and both surface and groundwater quality at the Ballinger and Wendkirk sites. This information will be used to design recovery systems and to determine the optimum location to install systems to recover saline groundwater before it discharges to the Colorado River. Modeling will be used to predict recovery rates of the installations. The effectiveness of the installations will be determined by sampling groundwater monitoring wells and surface water.

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at nps@tceq.texas.gov.

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