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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
San Antonio River

Watershed Counties: Bexar, Karnes, Wilson
Parameter: Bacteria
Basin: San Antonio River
Segments: 1910, 1910A, and 1911

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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Status

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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I-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 6, 2016, the commission approved the I-Plan.

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TMDLs

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 (WQMP).

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 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. 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.
  • Addendums 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.

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

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Addendums

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Updates

  • July 2022, Appendix VII, pages 30-31
  • April 2021, Appendix VII, pages 25-26
  • October 2015, Appendix VI, page 15application/pdfExit the TCEQ
  • April 2015, Appendix V, page 32application/pdfExit the TCEQ
  • October 2014, Appendix V, page 17application/pdfExit the TCEQ
  • July 2014, Appendix VI, page 39application/pdfExit the TCEQ
  • April 2009, Appendix III, pages 18-19 application/pdfExit the TCEQ
  • April 2010, Appendix IV, pages 19-20 

WQMP updates may be viewed in person at the TCEQ Library, Building A, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, Texas. Electronic versions of updates published from 2014 through 2020 are available on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission websiteExit the TCEQ.

For WQMP updates prior to 2014, use the TRAIL SearchExit the TCEQ engine as outlined below. The main search box on the page will only conduct a simple search with no exclusionary parameters and should not be used.

  1. First, limit your search to TCEQ only. Do this via the advanced search feature on the left of the page. To limit a search to TCEQ content, enter www.tceq.texas.gov or www.tceq.state.tx.usExit the TCEQ into the “From the Host” search box.
  2. Refine your search to narrow down results. The other search boxes on the left of the page allow for search terms to be included, excluded, or used in an exact phrase search. Date ranges can be used as well.

Reports and Other Documents

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Contact the TMDL Program

Please email tmdl@tceq.texas.gov 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