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Plum Creek: Implementing a Watershed Protection Plan: Illicit Discharge Monitoring

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority monitored the City of Lockhart's stormwater conveyance system for illicit discharges.

Background

From 2004 through 2008, Plum Creek (Segment 1810) did not meet water quality standards because bacteria concentrations exceeded the criteria used to evaluate attainment of the contact recreation use. These bacteria are naturally found in the intestines of humans, livestock, wildlife, and pets. Although they are not generally disease-causing, their presence in water indicate the potential presence of disease-causing microorganisms from fecal contamination. Therefore, higher levels of bacteria mean a higher potential risk of human disease from water ingestion during swimming, wading, or kayaking—activities, called “contact recreation,” in the state’s standards for water quality.

Additionally, the lower reaches of Plum Creek had concerns for excess nutrients. Excessive amounts of nutrients can cause extensive algae growth which can deplete oxygen in the water and ultimately harm aquatic organisms.

In 2005, the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership was formed to coordinate the development of the Plum Creek Watershed Protection PlanExit the TCEQ (WPP) in coordination with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. The WPP was accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 and has been in the implementation phase since 2009. The WPP recommends several management measures to prevent or mitigate nonpoint source pollution in the watershed with the goal of improving water quality. One management measure in the Plum Creek WPP is to detect and address non-stormwater discharges into the municipal separate storm sewer system.

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Project Description

During 2015 and 2016, the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA) monitored the City of Lockhart's stormwater conveyance system for illicit discharges during dry weather. They specifically sampled for E. coli, nitrate-nitrogen, ammonia-nitrogen, and total phosphorus. If water was present under dry conditions and water quality sampling identified an illicit discharge, GBRA was to notify the City of Lockhart to enforce the city's drainage ordinance. Although four areas of the stormwater system retained water, no illicit discharges were identified during the project period. The project was completed in August 2016.

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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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