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Grace Creek: Assessing Water Quality

A completed project to monitor bacteria concentrations in portions of Grace Creek and the Sabine River in Longview.

photo of grace creek
Grace Creek
Photo Courtesy of TIAER
map of the Grace Creek watershed

County: Gregg, Harrison
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Sabine
Segment: 0505_04, 0505B

On this page:

Water Quality and Watershed Information

In Grace Creek and a portion of the Sabine River downstream of the creek, TCEQ staff observed high concentrations of bacteria in the streams beginning in 2000. These bacteria, which are found in both human and animal waste, may indicate a health risk to people who swim or wade in the streams. These activities are referred as “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for surface water quality. The goal of the project was to collect and study additional water quality data to determine the most appropriate next steps.

The project watershed lies in the Sabine River Basin in and around Longview, Texas, covering about 116 square miles. Grace Creek flows through the city of Longview and into the Sabine River. There is a popular hike and bike trail and nature area along a stretch of Grace Creek. To varying degrees, stormwater runoff from agricultural, industrial, and urban areas affects water quality in the creek. 

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Status

The Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) collected water quality data in the streams in 2013 and 2014 under contract with the TCEQ TMDL Program. Based on the results, TCEQ did a recreational use attainability analysis (RUAA) of Grace Creek that indicated the most appropriate contact recreation use for Grace Creek was secondary contact recreation 1. See the RUAA report and the recommendation to revise the Standards on our webpage Sabine River Basin RUAA 2.

TCEQ proposed the revision to secondary contact recreation use 1 in Grace Creek in its 2018 Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet approved the revision. 

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Public Participation

In all its projects, TCEQ gathers information from stakeholders—people who live or work in the watershed. TIAER coordinated public involvement in this project through the existing forum of the Sabine River Authority Basin Steering Committee. The Steering Committee includes representatives from state and federal agencies, industries, citizen groups, local governments, universities, water districts, agricultural interests, environmental groups, and other water user groups. TIAER and TCEQ also hosted a public meeting to tell watershed residents about the project on September 20, 2012 at the Longview Public Library.

Stakeholders offered their feedback about recreational uses of the creek and advice about appropriate monitoring locations through both of these public forums. TCEQ reported the study results to stakeholders at the April 8, 2014 meeting of the the Sabine River Basin Steering Committee.

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Contact the TMDL Program

Email tmdl@tceq.texas.gov and mention the Grace Creek project in the subject. Or call us at 512-239-6682. For the latest status of EPA's review of the proposed standard revision, email the Standards Work Group at standards@tceq.texas.gov or call them at the same phone number.

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Communities Working Together