Texas Groundwater Protection Committee

October 12, 2011

 Subcommittee Reports

Agricultural Chemicals

  • Will have next year’s draft monitoring plan up for discussion in next quarterly meeting

 Data Management

  • Next meeting has not been announced; will be informal and is open to have representatives sent by any Committee member

 Public Outreach and Education (POE) (Please see handout titled “Summary of TGPC POE Sept. 20 mtg.”)

  • Subcommittee met on Sept. 20, 2011
  • Reviewed the Outreach Events Status Report
  • Approved six Oil and Gas Disposal Wells and Water Quality FAQs titled:
    • What is an Injection Well?
    • How Are Class II Oil and Gas Disposal Wells Regulated?
    • How Are Class II Oil and Gas Disposal Wells Regulated to Protect Water Quality?
    • What Are the Construction Standards for Class II Oil and Gas Disposal Wells?
    • What Are the Permitting Processes for a Class II Oil and Gas Disposal Well?
    • How Are Class II Oil and Gas Disposal Wells Monitored to Ensure That They Are Not Leaking?

 Groundwater Research

  • During Oct. 12 meeting discussed whether or not the state is prepared for a Drought of Record
    • discussed comprehensive approach to drought management and how drought could affect policy
  • Suggested the state could learn from Australia literature and its experience with drought
  • Subcommittee would like to adjust its meeting schedule and bring before the full Committee at the next meeting

 Nonpoint Source

  • NPS Task Force met on Sept. 9, 2011
  • Summary was presented of the FY 2011 fourth quarter meeting
  • Groundwater sections of the latest draft of the Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program were reviewed in detail
    • Task Force provided suggestions for changes and editorial comment
  • A draft of the incorporated changes was sent to Task Force members for further review and comments
  • NPS Task Force  comments on the NPS Management Program will be submitted during the general stakeholder / partner agencies comment period


Dr. Vincent Nathan, School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center Overview of Program for Public Health & Water Research (PPHWR)

  • Program studies dynamics of water and its links to public health
    • Such as supply, subsidence and development, among others
  • Also studies the effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking and ground water via seepage
  • Indicated emerging threats are:
    • Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs)
      • Steroids, antibiotics, prescription and non-prescription drugs have all been detected in streams
      • Climate Change
      • Chlorine and Chloramine
  • Conducted case study in Houston area (8 counties)
    • Emerging issues are increased population and development
      • 3.5 million more people and expected to move to the area in the next 30 years
      • 789 sq. miles of land could be developed, creating infrastructure issues
      • 87% of water bodies in the area are contaminated according to Texas Integrated Report for Clean Water Act
      • Water supply for drinking is 71% surface water and 29% underground aquifers
      • Contaminants presenting the most acute threat to public health are chemicals and microbes
        • Bacteria in region is most significant concern; can cause diseases but is often undiagnosed
        • Emerging contaminants of public health concern:
          • Chromium, PPCPs, Arsenic, Nitrates, Pesticides, and Shale fracking
          • Pharmaceuticals have been found in treated sewage effluent, surface water and tap water
            • Are being sampled to see levels in water
              • While low levels, chronic exposure can be harmful
              • 90% of oral drugs leave the body unchanged
        • Groundwater quality in region was relatively high
        • Recommendations were presented based on findings to the region
  • Expressed support for Proposition 2—The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $6 billion at any time outstanding

Business Discussion and Possible Action

Discuss Groundwater Research and Public Outreach and Education Subcommittee Charges

  • The following paragraph was proposed to be removed from both subcommittee’s charges because there is now a non-point source subcommittee

“With the Public Outreach and Education (POE) Subcommittee, the Groundwater Research Subcommittee will also meet annually with the TCEQ and Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) Nonpoint Source (NPS) teams (possibly in the late spring or early summer) in order to share information, discuss NPS projects, and facilitate NPS grant proposals by TGPC member agencies.”

  • Committee decided to take up removing the paragraph from the Groundwater Research Subcommittee charge in a subsequent meeting after the subcommittee has been able to negotiate a new meeting schedule
    • Subcommittee will also seek approval of their new meeting schedule at the subsequent meeting
  • Committee also decided to take up removing the paragraph from the POE Subcommittee charge at the same time as the Groundwater Research Subcommittee

Review, Discuss, and Approve Publications and Popular Press Articles

  • The six Oil and Gas Disposal Wells and Water Quality FAQs of the POE Subcommittee (see above) were approved

Set Future Meeting Date

  • January 18, 2012

Information Exchange for Groundwater-Related Activities — Status Update

Regional Water Planning – TWDB

  • Regional Water Draft Plan is available for public comment through October 28
  • Public hearing will be held in Austin October 17

Groundwater Availability Modeling – TWDB

  • Posting for groundwater modeling position has been filled
  • Applications for Director of Groundwater Resources are accepted through Oct. 17

Non-point Source Pollution

  • 319 Grant Program is open through Oct. 14
    • Emphasis is on restoration and implementation of watershed protection programs

Drought Status (Please see handout titled “Drought Status”)

  • Drought will persist and intensify
  • Have had some improvement in the panhandle


Rules Update (Please see handout titled “Rule Updates”)

  • Can find more updates on groundwater rules via TCEQ website

Upcoming Conferences (Please see handout titled “Upcoming Conferences”)

  • TCEQ is hosting its first Central Texas environmental summit: “Collaboration Along the Corridor” on November 3, 2011 in Schertz
    • There will be opportunities for stakeholders to generate solutions to environmental challenges
    • TCEQ Commissioners will participate in presentations on environmental topics that affect Central Texas