Basin-wide Permit Review Program
To help meet its responsibility of protecting the water quality of the Colorado River and its tributaries, LCRA monitors permit applications submitted through other regulatory agencies.
LCRA’s goal, through the Application Review and Response Process (ARRP), is to minimize the effects from pollutants entering the water bodies of the lower Colorado River basin. This is achieved by reviewing and making recommendations on permits for projects or facilities with regulated discharge and waste applications within the watershed. The ARRP committee is a multidisciplinary professional team within LCRA that examines permits to identify potential threats to water quality, and then works with the permitting agency and/or the applicant to address any concerns. ARRP routinely reviews in excess of 100 permit applications a year, and has been instrumental in securing more protective requirements for a multitude of permits.
ARRP also actively participates in rule-making, policy and other regulatory issues on federal, state and local levels that relate to water quality protection, and frequently collaborates with other entities and concerned citizens interested in protecting water quality.
Potential Impacts to Water Quality
Discharges of wastewater or other potential pollutants that come from a specific point, like a drain or a pipe, are referred to as “point-source” discharges. While these discharges are regulated and there is generally some level of treatment required to remove harmful pathogens and pollutants, they can still affect water quality. For instance, discharges from wastewater treatment facilities can contain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, while mining activities can release sediment and suspended or dissolved solids and metals into waterways. Other facilities or activities can release “nonpoint-source” discharges that don’t come from a specific spot.
LCRA monitors permits for these facilities to ensure practices are in place to minimize pollution from discharges and prevent runoff or leaching from permitted activities.
Permits and Public Participation
The majority of permits LCRA reviews are issued through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; however some permits are also issued under the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas Railroad Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and cities and counties throughout the region. These permits generally cover activities such as wastewater and water treatment processes, landfill operations, sludge processing, and agricultural and mining activities.
Most agencies allow public participation in their permitting processes. ARRP uses these opportunities to act as a member of the public to engage in issues throughout the lower Colorado River basin that could affect water quality. We follow the protocol outlined by each agency to ensure that any concerns or recommendations are addressed.
For more information, go to LCRA’s page on public participation in permitting processes.
For more information on LCRA’s Water Quality Protection permit review program, contact:
Water Quality Coordinator
Lower Colorado River Authority
3700 Lake Austin Blvd
Austin, Texas 78703
1-800-776-5272, Ext. 2450, or 512-473-3200