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Belterra witnesses argue over phosphorus, algae, salamanders
Thursday, July 17, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham
The contested case hearing before an administrative law judge pitting the Belterra development against
As the City of
The parties vigorously debated the dissolved oxygen levels present after the effluent is pumped into the creek, with the future of the endangered Barton Springs Salamander theoretically hanging in the balance.
In the morning session Lial Tischler, a partner at Tischler Kocurek, testified that the proposed discharges in the permit would result in “significant degradation” of the creek. This testimony was intended to meet TCEQ’s definition of degradation being defined as more than “de minimis.” The Latin legal term roughly means “insignificant” according to the contesting team’s lawyers.
The WCID legal team argued that under the rules of the settlement—agreed to by the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, among others—the amount of discharge would be lower, and in fact only enter the creek roughly 27 days out of the year – and at a much smaller volume.
Taking the stand for the City of
Thursday will see more expert testimony from hydrologists as the two sides continue to debate the relative affect of phosphorus, algae and dissolved oxygen on the tributary creek and aquifer.
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