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Colorado River Below E.V. Spence Reservoir: Implementing a Plan to Improve Water Quality

A community project to implement TMDLs that reduce salinity from chloride, sulfate, and dissolved solids in the Colorado River below E.V. Spence Reservoir. The adopted TMDL and the approved I-Plan combined are the road map to improving water quality in the creek.
photo of the Colorado River Below E.V. Spence Reservoir
Colorado River Below E.V. Spence Reservoir

Counties:Coke, Runnels, Nolan, Taylor
Parameters: Chloride, Sulfate, TDS
River Basin: Colorado River
Segment: 1426

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About the Project

The Colorado River Below E.V. Spence Reservoir, Segment 1426, is a 66-mile freshwater stream located within the larger Colorado River Basin. Segment 1426 receives the majority of its flow from E.V. Spence Reservoir.

In 2000, water quality testing found elevated levels of chloride, sulfate, and total dissolved solids (TDS) in the creek. High concentrations of these salts are indicators of general water quality that are not tied to a specific use, but may affect several uses.

For example, too much chloride can cause a bad taste in drinking water, harm plumbing, and increase the risk of hypertension in humans. Large quantities of sulfate can cause drinking water to smell or taste bad. High concentrations of dissolved solids can be toxic to species that live in fresh water.

The goal of this project is to improve water quality in the river by implementing total maximum daily loads.

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Get Involved

People who live or work in the watershed are encouraged to attend any or all meetings about this project and work on activities to improve the creek. Help keep the creek clean and safe for humans and aquatic life forms.

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Status of Activities

The stakeholders met in May 2016 to discuss progress on their implementation plan, which was revised in 2014. Tracking 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 commission approved the I-Plan on October 10, 2007.

Revised Implementation Plan

In 2013, the Upper Colorado River Authority (UCRA) Exit the TCEQ began working with stakeholders to review the Implementation Plan and its progress. Through a series of public meetings, UCRA worked closely with stakeholders to gather information and form a coordination committee and work groups to focus on specific aspects of the plan. In 2014, the stakeholders prepared a revised Implementation Plan to continue their efforts in improving local water quality.

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The commission adopted two TMDLs for the Colorado River on February 7, 2007.

The EPA approved the TMDLs on April 9, 2007, at which time they became part of the state’s Water Quality Management Plan.

Updates to TMDLs

From time to time, it is necessary to revise TMDLs to account for changing conditions in the watershed, such as new or amended permits, or urban growth, or to correct oversights in the original TMDL report. 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 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.

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Contact Us

Please e-mail tmdl@tceq.texas.gov and mention the Colorado River Below Spence TMDL project 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