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Houston-Galveston Regional Plan: Status and Activities

What's going on and what's been done by the BIG to reduce bacteria in Houston-area waterways, making them safer for recreation.

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Project Location and Parameters Houston–Galveston BIG Project Navigation TMDL Program Navigation
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: San Jacinto, San Jacinto–Brazos Coastal

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Implementation Plan and TMDLs

Reports and Other Documents

TMDL Projects



The commission approved the stakeholder-developed implementation plan on January 30, 2013. This I-Plan was developed by stakeholders in the Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG) Exit the TCEQ.

Watch the BIG video Exit the TCEQ on YouTube. The BIG is a diverse group of committed and concerned people, representing a cross-section of concerned citizens from many disciplines. The group works for better quality water in the 2,200 square-mile area covered by their plan.

Read the most recent story—Collaboration in a BIG Way, Adobe Acrobat PDF Document about the status of realizing the BIG's I-Plan. 

graph of bacteria trends

Annual Report of Implementation Progress

In late 2016, the BIG published its third Annual Report of its progress reducing bacteria in Houston–Galveston area waterways. Download the 2016 BIG Annual Report (61 MB) Adobe Acrobat PDF Document.

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The I-Plan identifies eleven primary strategies for achieving environmental goals. These strategies relate to:

  • wastewater treatment facilities
  • on-site sewage facilities
  • sanitary sewer systems
  • stormwater and land development
  • construction
  • illicit discharges and dumping
  • agriculture and animals
  • residential areas
  • monitoring progress and updating the plan
  • research
  • a geographic priority framework

The I-Plan outlines numerous activities under each of these strategies. Read the I-Plan.

Grant Funded Projects to Support the I-Plan

The TCEQ's Nonpoint Source Program has supported these projects that help reduce bacteria in the project-area waterways.

  • Clear Creek Tidal: installed low impact development (LID) features in League City.
  • Halls-Bayou–Westfield Estates: implemented low-flow water devices, a pet-waste program, and outreach for managing on-site wastewater facilities in Westfield Estates.
  • Lake Houston Wetland Demonstration: installed water quality exhibits at the WaterWorks Science and Education Center.
  • Whiteoak Bayou, installed low impact development (LID) features in a two-block area of the Cottage Grove subdivision, which was being redeveloped from single family residences to town houses.
  • Coastal Areas: On-Site Sewage Facilities Phase 1 and Phase 2:  located, pumped out, and replaced malfunctioning OSSFs within the Coastal Zone Management Zone as well as providing training programs for homeowners and local health department staff.
  • Roadway LID Demonstration: installing and monitoring the performance of LID features for roadways in Harris County.
  • Houston Area Trash Bash: removing trash from waterways at about 17 sites in the Houston-Galveston area.

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Contact Us

For information regarding this project, please e-mail the TCEQ’s TMDL Program at tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, and mention the Houston-Galveston bacteria 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