22 thoughts on “Honey Creek, A Pristine Hill Country Stream, Could Soon See Treated Sewage

  1. What about all the things that home owners put down their toilets and sink drains like old medications? Seems like I have read that treatment does not filter out those kinds of things and they then stay in the water.

    • So does that make it okay for developers to make more money while discharging 500,000 gallons a day of sewage into a pristine stream? Huh? Of course not.

  2. Developers only pay lip-service to the environment. It’s about the dollars and when there’s a conflict it’s, “to hell with nature…full speed ahead before the citizens get wise to what we’re doing here!”. And when they get caught, then it’s, “oh the ‘experts’ (who we’ve paid for) say that everything is 100% environmentally safe!”. They ALWAYS say that, and it’s almost NEVER the case! Then, once the damage is done, it’s, “c’mon, that’s all in the past, it’s over and done with now, time to move on!”

  3. What an insensitive street plan for this hilly site. Look how the streets have nothing to do with the topography! They will have to bulldoze the entire development to get that extremely high number of lots and houses on that ranch. Why do people move to these beautiful areas after the scenic beauty has been destroyed?

    • Yeah, somebody needs a course of remedial land planning, don’t they? Really, why would anyone want to move out into the boondocks only to live cheek-to-jowl with neighbors on all sides? 45-foot lots! And as you’ve noted, very little attention to what the land is saying. Who ever gave these folks the very idea it would be “okay” to plop down a development of this character in that setting? We need to have a conversation about all this in this society, no?

  4. Both of the above referenced projects, and another new TPDES permit application to discharge into Indian Creek, along with so many others that we have fought, is why GEAA plans to go to the Texas Legislature again to request that they pass legislation that prohibits direct discharge of sewage effluent on the Edwards Aquifer Contributing Zone. If SB 1796 / HB 3036 / HB 3467 had passed in 2017, we would not have to fight the Honey Creek and Indian Creek permits. We are already working hard to get this legislation passed in 2019.
    You can help by signing a petition calling for a ban on the filthy practice of discharging sewage effluent into waterways that recharge the Edwards Aquifer at https://nodrippingsewage.org/ and learn more about the impacts of sewage on the Edwards Aquifer at the GEAA web site at http://www.AquiferAlliance.org .

    • OR — you could work hard to get all out controlling institutions behind the fundamental transformation of the water infrastructure model that we need to be getting about in this region in order to move us toward sustainable water. Instead of ever further away, as the knee-jerk extension of the prevailing 19th century infrastructure model, such as we see on display here, is moving us. Any legislative “fix” could readily be undone by a future lege if — actually it will be when — they get flack from development interests for harshing their gig. Also, just saying “no discharge” does not get to the fundamental problem, that the whole idea on display here is that we are dealing with a perceived nuisance that we “need” to make “go away”, while what we need to be about is husbanding a RESOURCE. So we need to start designing our water infrastructure into developments in a way that focuses on the resource value of this water, right from its very point of generation.

      As I’ve heard it, you are on record as opposing any initiative to press the infrastructure model as the key to blunting the degradation of the Hill Country water environment because you see that as “getting in the way” of advocating for the legislative “fix”. I urge you to reconsider that position, and to put the full force of GEAA behind pressing all out controlling institutions to get after that fundamental transformation. Or at the very least, to get out of the way of it, understanding that right now all these institutions engage in a “conspiracy” to keep everything except “The Paradigm” off the table, so we don’t even get a look at an apples-to-apples comparison of the sustainable water options. Please consider your position. Thank you.

      • Dan- Janet Meek and Jack Holmgreen here. Jack says you have designed a community scale rainwater system. We are working on a community scale electrical distributed generation system. We think these two things are compatible and need to be incorporated into development plans. We agree that no-discharge is not the answer. Are you working on a community scale wastewater system? Do you need Jack’s expertise on storm water systems? We are also working with a guy who is doing sewage treatment with biomass generators. We should team up. Jack says you know him. He is on the Board of ARCSA.

  5. We own property in Comal County and have access to the Guadalupe River. I will be talking to our our POA about how to fight this.

  6. Honey Creek is one of the few remaining representations of an undisturbed Hill Country waterbody and pristine riparian area. If the permit application is approved and the treatment facility is constructed, we will see a permanent negative impact to Honey Creek water quality, the aquatic life and riparian wildlife.
    The proposed development should be larger acreage development with on-site sewage facilities (either conventional or aerobic) which would be more representative of surrounding land use and eliminate the need to construct a wastewater treatment facility.

  7. We can’t blame the developers totally. They invest heavily and expect to turn a profit. If we want to protect what’s left of Natural Texas we have to be willing to spend the money and buy it up. Local governments have the ability, but not the gumption, to raise taxes to cover.

    Politicians listen to their big donors, not the general public. Get big money out of politics and into taxes for effective change.

  8. This must be stopped. These so-called developers are NOT thinking about the environment or the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. This is pristine land they are messing with. All they are thinking about is money in their pocket, especially the Urbanczyks. Please, can this be stopped?

    • Yes. Read the permit application, and called TCEQ if you have questions. Find out the deadline for the public comment period File for a contested case hearing, and have all your friends do the same. This personally affect you because you are living in the hill country. Request a public meeting. Find a group of people to work with to get all this done! We successfully Defeated an application in Nacogdoches last year and we are finding another one right now.

  9. The reporter describes the development as the “Honey Creek Ranch subdivision.” In reality, this is a water district formerly named the Comal County Honey Creek Municipal Utility District (MUD).

    It was reported to be built on a private ranch on State Highway 46. Though this is private property, it is also in the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) boundary of Bulverde and the city consented to the creation of the MUD by unanimous vote on 8 May 2018.

    The location of this property was noted to be the epicenter of growth in that part of the Hill Country. All the more reason for residents in the counties of Kendall, Comal and Hays to learn more about these unique creatures of local government before they see the light of day.

    According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the total number of active water related districts on record today is 1,774.

    Common forms of these districts include Drainage Districts, Levee Improvement Districts and Irrigation Districts. Other forms include River Authorities, of which the Texas Water Development Board notes 32 of them manage the distribution of surface water in 196 major reservoirs across 15 major river basins.

    Yet, it is the proliferation of three particular types of districts that have had the most impact on water resources throughout Texas and paradoxically are the least known to the general public.

    The most commonly used are the Municipal Utility District (MUD), it’s close cousin the Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) and the Freshwater Supply District (FWSD). A 2014 report by the Texas Senate Research Center describes these forms of government as ‘invisible” because citizens know very little about their jurisdiction, structure, function and governance. Consequently, citizens have extraordinarily little influence on their creation.

    Geographically, the largest concentration of these districts can be found in the Houston area. In 2018, TCEQ records show the combined total of the WCIDs, MUDs and FWSDs in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties was 745. Around Austin, within Travis County, there were 70.

    The first one in Kendall County was created in 1946 and continues to serve the Comfort area today. It remained the only one until 2007 when two more were created. Today, the total is six.

    Typically, they become law in virtual secrecy by the Legislature or TCEQ and are initially controlled by the developers themselves as they can, and do, appoint the initial district board members. Common faults include substandard infrastructure, inappropriate land use and an unwillingness to consider burdens on existing services such as schools, fire, police and roads.

    They usually build independent water and wastewater systems dependent on unproven water supplies. Groundwater is the preferred water source, but when that source is not sufficient to meet demand, developers have disappeared and residents must turn to expensive out-of-county surface water. This can represent a significant amount of water as these special districts can grow to reach populations nearing 10,000.

    This is particularly problematic in the Hill Country where open land that is necessary for local aquifer recharge is being consumed for development, affecting the quantity and quality of groundwater below that is the only source of drinking water for most of the existing residents.

    This MUD is just one more example of the reason we need help from our legislators to slow the proliferation of an admittedly invisible form of government—the MUD and WCID.

    These districts may have built Houston in support of demand driven by a rapidly growing population, but they are tearing down the Hill Country for the benefit of a select few, using resources that can only support those who are here today.

  10. We are currently pursuing a review of another one of these disasters in Center Point. Starlite Recovery Center is moving forward to gain permission to dump 12,000 gallons of “treated” effluent into Verde Creek, roughly two miles before is flows into the Guadalupe River. They apparently have a problem caused by housing juveniles with adults, which caused them to build a significant new facility to solve the issue. They filed a plan with TCEQ that was so poorly drafted and full of erroneous information that it is now being challenged by a growing number of affected folks around here. We are hoping to get a hearing in the very near future. Keep up the fight!

  11. Another really sad thing in all this is that Terry U. used to be a Board member of the Friends of Honey Creek and Guadalupe River State Park. To see their beautiful ranch be converted to a new town at the expense of Honey Creek is a real shame — I thought she was a conservation-minded person. and as for the cities of Spring Branch and Bulverde which both benefit financially from the existence of Honey Creek and the Park — shame on you short-sighted people, as well.

  12. There is a development already underway across Hwy 46 to the south of the Honey Creek Ranch. It appears that the planned west entrance of the Honey Creek Ranch devlopement will line up with the entrance of the southern development. How is their waste water to be handled? Are they included in a city waste water plant that far out? Or are they larger lots with aerobic as suggested in prior comments? I would be interested in the comparison of the two neighboring development’s infastructure on this point.

  13. I am a teacher a master naturalist and a nature photographer. This is unbelievable that you would allow this to happen to a beautiful pristine honey creek and Guadalupe area. The impact on the invirment by the distcharge of waste water will be devastating to this wonderful natural area. I have taught kids for more than twenty years using honey creek and Guadalupe as an outdoor classroom. For what greed we do not need that many new houses that close to a state natural area. Please do not allow this housing development to vandalize our honey creek and Guadalupe river with sewage. Please alloy future generations to learn and enjoy this pristine riparian area!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I can’t think of any reas$on thi$ $hould not be allowed to occur$! Ju$t think how many governmental agencie$ there are to protect our intere$t! Thi$ has no bearing what$oever about Money! It I$ all about “Improving” the quality of life, making the Hill Country a much better place to live for all the people who keep choo$ng to live here. We all know that the highly educated, hired, profe$$ionals will make ab$olutely $ure that any and every $afeguard will be put in place to a$$ure the quality of the air and water will forever be protected. All we have to do i$ look at all the other project$ that have occurred hi$torically! And, how they have protected the quality of life.

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