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Granite Shoals can’t force plant to take action on violations; city tests lake water

B&W Gatherings Wastewater Treatment Facility in Granite Shoals

During a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 9, Granite Shoals City Council members raised concerns about an Aqua Texas Inc.-owned wastewater treatment facility that landed 11 violations from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

The Granite Shoals City Council on Sept. 9 had one question for city staff after reviewing a report with 11 violations against a private wastewater treatment facility that operates within the municipality.

What can city leaders do to ensure the company that owns the facility addresses Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issues with the plant?

In August, the TCEQ notified Aqua Texas Inc., which owns and operates B&W Gatherings Wastewater Treatment Facility in Granite Shoals, of the violations.

During a special meeting Thursday, City Manager Jeff Looney told councilors that since Aqua Texas is a private business, City Hall doesn’t have the authority to force the plant’s owners to purchase new equipment, change personnel, or get in compliance. 

“You can’t shut down a plant,” he said. 

Looney said Aqua Texas has agreed to send representatives to speak to the city in the next few months. 

“Aqua Texas has enforcement orders,” he said. “They have to submit documents on what they’ll do and how they’ll do it to TCEQ. Citizens can do more by calling in themselves (to TCEQ) than we can, especially the ones who live there and are served by that facility. If the wastewater plant violates any of our (city) ordinances, we can deal with that, too, but they have to violate them.”

Looney added that staff has tested Lake LBJ in the vicinity of the plant for E. coli, but the results showed no dangers or excessive presence of the bacteria.

“The results came back in a positive way in that there’s not hazards in (Lake LBJ),” he said. “The water meets the quality for any activity you want. It’s the same as the rest of the lake.”

In other business, councilors held the second public hearing on the proposed property tax rate of $0.5986 per $100 valuation for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which is the same as the current rate. 

The council will consider approving the rate and the 2021-22 budget during its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at City Hall, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road.

jfierro@thepicayune.com