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Lake Sam Rayburn and Attoyac Bayou: Septic System Inventory, Repair and Replacement

Projects to improve water quality by identifying and addressing issues with septic systems in the area draining to Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Background

The Attoyac Bayou extends approximately 82 miles from its headwaters in Rusk County and flows through Nacogdoches, Shelby, and San Augustine counties before emptying into Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Attoyac Bayou (Segment 0612) has not met state water quality standards for fecal bacteria since 2004.

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accepted the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) which was developed by the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Partnership. The WPP identifies failing septic systems as a major contributor of bacteria to Attoyac Bayou and recommends septic system remediation. Since then, several projects have implemented septic system management measures of the WPP.

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Project Description

Between September 2013 and May 2018, the Angelina-Neches River Authority (ANRA) developed a database of septic systems in the Control Zone Rayburn (CZR), the 2000-ft buffer zone around Sam Rayburn Reservoir. ANRA worked with county representatives to standardize local data on septic systems. ANRA, together with field reconnaissance and inspections, used the database to track and map all permitted systems in the area. ANRA offered assistance to homeowners to repair or replace septic systems in the Attoyac Bayou watershed.

From 2016 - 2020, a second project led by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) funded an extension of these tracking and assistance efforts with a focus on the Attoyac Bayou watershed. Specifically, TWRI:

  • Provided technical and financial assistance to homeowners to repair or replace 24 septic systems.
  • Improved the documentation of septic system presence and identifying which need repairs or replacements.
  • Coordinated with county representatives to standardize septic system data acquisition and and storage practices.

TWRI will continue the existing Attoyac Bayou program for septic system inspections, repairs and replacements under two concurrent TCEQ contracts. They will also assist and train Rusk County officials in electronic record-keeping and management of septic system data from the watershed and distribute educational materials about septic system maintenance via a direct mailer campaign.

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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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