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The impact of homelessness on water quality

Monday, July 24, 2017 by Jack Craver

The head of the city’s Watershed Protection Department told the Environmental Commission at its meeting Wednesday that he takes “very seriously” the issue of human waste and other pollutants resulting from homeless encampments in the greenbelts. However, explained Director Joe Pantalion, the issue underpinning the water quality problem demands a response far greater than his department can provide on its own. The Watershed Protection Department is “trying to pool resources” with other departments, such as the Austin Police Department, Austin Resource Recovery and Austin Public Health, “to try to come up with a strategic plan to address the root causes of homelessness.” The explanation was prompted by Commissioner Andrew Creel, who said that human waste “represents a significant portion of our water quality degradation.”

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