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Upper San Antonio River: A Community Project to Protect Recreational Uses

A community project to reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in the river. Stakeholders worked together to develop an approved implementation plan (I-Plan), which together with the adopted total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) is the road map to improving water quality.
photo of the San Antonio River, Texas

San Antonio River

Watershed Counties: Bexar, Karnes, Wilson
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: San Antonio River
Segments: 1910, 1910A, 1910D, 1911, 1911B, 1911C, 1911D, 1911E, 1911I

On this page:

Overview and Goals

The goal of this current project is to reduce bacteria levels in parts of the San Antonio River, making them safer for recreation. High levels of bacteria may pose a risk to people who swim or wade in them—activities called “contact recreation” in the state's standards for water quality.

The stream segments included in the project are Salado Creek (Segment 1910), Walzem Creek (Segment 1910A), and the Upper San Antonio River (Segment 1911). Texas AgriLife ResearchExit the TCEQ and the San Antonio River Authority (SARA)Exit the TCEQ are key partners in this project.

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Get Involved

In all our projects, we seek opinions and information from stakeholders—people who represent government, permitted facilities, agriculture, business, environmental, and community and private interests in the watershed. Texas AgriLife coordinated with people in the watershed to develop the I-Plan. A coordination committee representing diverse interests developed the plan.

All stakeholders are welcome to get involved in implementing the strategy to improve water quality. Public meetings about the project are open to everyone. Find out more about what it means to participate in TMDL projects.

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Tracking of implementation progress allows stakeholders to evaluate actions taken, identify actions that may not be working, and make any changes as necessary.

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Implementation Plan

The TCEQ and Texas AgriLife worked with stakeholders to develop an I-Plan for the project watersheds.

The I-Plan will complement the existing watershed protection plan (WPP) for the Upper San Antonio River. The WPP, which was updated in 2014, was originally developed by SARA in 2007, together with stakeholders, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and other partners. The WPP was developed to allow early implementation of measures to reduce pollution; environmental improvement targets were based on data and information in the TMDL report.

On April 5, 2016, the commission approved the I-Plan.

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Total Maximum Daily Loads

The commission adopted the original TMDLs on July 25, 2007. The EPA approved them on September 25, 2007, at which time they became part of the state's Water Quality Management Plan.

Revisions to the TMDLs

From time to time, it is necessary to revise TMDLs to account for changing conditions in the watershed. Revisions to the load allocations in TMDLs are made via the state’s Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP), which is updated quarterly. Revisions are made to TMDLs in one of two ways:

  • Updates are made to account for changing conditions in the watershed, such as new or revised wasteload allocations, permits that have been canceled or have expired, or changed facility names.
  • Addenda are created to add load allocations for assessment units that are impaired by the same pollutant or condition, within the same watershed as in the original TMDL report.

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Additional TMDLs for the Upper San Antonio River have been added by addenda.

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Updates to TMDLs

Updates 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.

Updates to the TMDL are documented in the approved WQMP updates listed below.

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

Reports and Other Documents

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For More Information

Please e-mail us at, and mention the Upper San Antonio River Bacteria TMDL in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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communities working together taking care of our rivers, lakes, and bays