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Leon River: Implementing a Watershed Protection Plan with Financial Incentives for Septic System Repairs and Replacement

Texas A&M and the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources supported a Technical Assistance and Financial Incentive Program for Coryell County to replace or repair failing septic systems along the Leon River under two projects.

Background

Map of the Leon River watershed.

Since 1996, portions of the Leon River below Proctor Lake has not met water quality standards for bacteria. To address this impairment, watershed stakeholders developed the Leon River Watershed Protection Plan (WPP)Exit the TCEQ, and EPA approved it in May 2015.

Stakeholders helped identify sources of bacteria and suggested pollution reduction strategies for bacteria and nutrients. The WPP identifies septic systems as a source of bacteria in the watershed. The 2000 U.S. census estimated no fewer than 10% of the 5,800 systems in the watershed to be failing, many located in riparian zones. Water quality in multiple assessment units of the Leon River has since improved and now meet standards, but continuing implementation is needed to further improve water quality.

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Project Description

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service first began implementing septic system management measures from the Leon River WPP in 2014. The project supported a Technical Assistance and Financial Incentive Program for Coryell County to help reduce bacteria in the Leon River from failing septic systems. The program conducted septic system inspections to identify failing septic systems and prioritized them for repair or replacement based on their proximity to the the river. The program then offered financial incentives to homeowners and businesses to repair or replace them. Texas A&M also held septic system workshops throughout the project period. The project was completed in November 2016.

In 2017 the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) at Texas A&M began a second phase of the project to continue the septic system Technical Assistance and Financial Incentive Program for Coryell County. IRNR completed 14 septic system replacements and delivered two workshops on septic system function and maintenance requirements in coordination with the Texas Well Owners Network and the Texas State and Soil Water Conservation Board. The project was completed in February 2020.

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Documents

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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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