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Early study results out in Dripping Springs

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 by Elizabeth Pagano

The preliminary results are in for a Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District dye study of Onion Creek in Dripping Springs, and they show a connection to the Trinity Aquifer. A press release from Protect Our Water explains that the pink dye used to trace the water’s path found its way to an area home, and “the connection of Onion Creek surface water flowing into local groundwater supplies is now clearly established. … The dye tracing test confirms that Onion Creek surface water recharges the Trinity Aquifer through its fractured rock-bottom creek bed.” The larger implication of the test, of course, is that a hotly contested permit that would allow Dripping Springs to discharge up to 995,000 gallons of treated wastewater per day into the Onion Creek watershed would also connect to the aquifer. Dripping Springs Mayor Todd Purcell also released a statement on the preliminary results. It reads, in part, “The City Council has always been and remains committed to protecting the water supply, including our drinking water. … The information we have is that three private wells have shown traces of dye from the study. If these results are accurate, this is of concern to me as these wells are being impacted TODAY by the water in Onion Creek. My family has property on Onion Creek. My parents drink from a well located on that property. I am familiar with the creek and would not drink that water, so I have great concern about the three wells and any others that may be being impacted by the creek today. Keep in mind, runoff water goes into the creek, and that runoff water contains pesticides, petroleum products, fertilizers and animal waste. If there is a direct connection, I am concerned that those wells are not safe as they are currently being used. I am interested, and the Council is too, in better understanding the Preliminary Dye Trace Results and figuring out what actions we may need to take in response.” In December, the Austin City Council rejected a proposed settlement over the permit, which continues to be contested at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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