TCEQ Commissioners Hearing, October 5th at 9:30am

The TCEQ Commissioner’s Court will hold a hearing next week on Wednesday, October 5th at 9:30am in Austin to render a decision on a final permit for the sewage treatment plant being proposed on Old Granbury Road. This hearing will likely result in a decision to either deny or grant a permit for a wastewater plant, however, the Commissioners could also recommend sending the case to another court, or arbitration.

All persons are welcome to attend the hearing in Austin, but you can also participate by telephone or by watching the proceedings online.

Here’s how you can participate:

In person: 12100 Park 35 Circle Building E, Room 201S

By Telephone: (562) 247-8422
Access Code: 615-278-887

Online by Computer:
Webinar ID: 887-618-571

October 5th will be a big day for those interested in this permit since the outcomes from this hearing will dictate next steps available to citizens opposed to this facility. Please join us if you can.

UPDATE: 24 June 2022

We have received word that the two Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) who heard our Contested Case back in March have recommended that TCEQ issue the permit for the sewage treatment plant on Old Granbury Road. We consider this to be a setback, but it is important to remember that this is just another step in the process, and a permit for the sewage plant has NOT been granted. Our attorneys are responding to this ruling by ‘filing exceptions’. This basically means that they will argue points in the preliminary ruling that we believe contradict the evidence that was presented at the hearing. Exceptions will be filed by 11 July, and then a final ruling from the ALJs will follow a few weeks after. At that point, it will be sent to commissioners at TCEQ to render a decision on the permit. There are several months left in the process, so please continue to support this fight.

In response to a request from the Hood County News, our attorneys have issued the following statement:

Granbury Fresh and Dr. Calder will be filing exceptions. The ALJs in this matter failed to follow the plain and unambiguous language of the TCEQ’s rules regarding odor buffer zones, based upon unfounded testimony by witnesses for the City. Further, the ALJs did not adequately consider the potential degradation of water quality that was indicated by the City of Granbury’s own water quality modeling. The proposed discharge will create an unacceptable risk of excessive algal growth and elevated bacteria levels in the receiving waters. The errors made by the ALJs in the interpretation and application of the TCEQ rules are appropriate for the TCEQ Commissioners to correct when making a final decision on the permit application. Granbury Fresh and Victoria Calder will ask that the TCEQ Commissioners follow the Commission’s own rules and deny the permit.

UPDATE: 3 June 2021

Hello Granbury Fresh Supporters,

With regard to the City of Granbury’s application for a permit to build a sewer plant at 3121 Old Granbury Road, the TCEQ Response to Comments (RTC) was issued on 3 June 2021.  In the accompanying letter, the TCEQ Executive Director stated that the agency had completed review of the City’s application and found it to be administratively complete (meaning all the boxes associated with supplying the required information have been checked).  The letter issued is TCEQ’s standard letter for this stage of the permitting process.  Since City officials have not withdrawn their application, we have been expecting this letter since the public meeting that was held remotely on 10 September 2020.

A “Breaking News Release” from the Hood County News has misrepresented what this letter actually means.  It is most definitely NOT a Final Permit, nor is it a “green light” for the City to proceed with construction of a sewage plant on Old Granbury Road as Chris Coffman was quoted as saying.  To the contrary, the letter from TCEQ states:

This decision does not authorize construction or operation of any proposed facilities.  This decision will be considered by the commissioners at a regularly scheduled public meeting before any action is taken on this application unless all requests for a contested case hearing or reconsideration have been withdrawn before that meeting.

At this stage of the permitting process, TCEQ addresses only what the applicant has presented in the permit application.  During the next phase of the permitting process (which is a request for a Contested Case Hearing), our attorney (a former TCEQ attorney) will present the inaccuracies that were included in the application. If a Contested Case Hearing is granted, our attorney and engineers will use relevant science and engineering to prove that the City’s application failed to capture the health, environmental, and economic risks of the proposed sewage plant location and its discharge on both Rucker Creek and Lake Granbury. 

To give you an idea of just one of the risks that we face if this plant is constructed, we only have to go downriver to Waco. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the sewer plant at Waco malfunctioned (as most sewer plants eventually do, especially after heavy rains).  This malfunction discharged 4.5 million gallons of raw sewage into a flooding Brazos River, necessitating the closure of all boat ramps downstream of the sewage plant, and the issuance of the following warnings to Waco citizens:

  • Persons using private drinking water supply wells located within ½ mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing.  Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling.
  • Persons who purchase water from a public water supply may contact their water supply distributor to determine if the water is safe for personal use.
  • The public should avoid contact with waste material, soil, or water in the area potentially affected by the spill.
  • If the public comes into contact with waste material, soil, or water potentially affected by the spill, they should bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that the Brazos River in the area of the Waco sewage spill has a relatively large volume in which to disperse the sewage .  Contrast that with the narrow, shallow, frequently dry creek that is the City’s chosen discharge for the sewage plant on Old Granbury Road.  When – not if – this happens in Granbury, there will be profound negative impacts on the health of all of us living in Mallard Pointe, Bentwater, Hideaway Bay, Meander Estates, Ashley Oaks, Emerald Bend, and other adjacent neighborhoods in Hood County.   

To highlight why we are fighting so hard to have similar sewage spills in Granbury, please watch the video of the KCEN Waco TV interview this week with Friends of the Brazos President, Dr. Nick Dornak, and Granbury Fresh President, Dr. Victoria Calder:

We gratefully thank all who have donated to (or through our previous GoFundMe account) in order to support this multi-neighborhood effort to oppose, through appropriate legal channels, the sewer plant location.  Your donations to date have been used to pay for engineering reports, technical experts, and attorney fees.  We also have a good start on contributions that will be used to cover the costs of a Contested Case Hearing.  Now that we are partnering with the Friends of the Brazos, a highly-respected, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, all contributions made to support this effort are tax deductible, so we ask that you donate BIG in order maintain our quality of life, and to protect our health, the environment, and our property values.

Many thanks,

Dr. Victoria Calder

Granbury Fresh, President 

Friends of the Brazos, Board Member