Lake Travis photo 2 from website


October 11, 2009                                    Lake Travis - it's worth protecting

In This Issue
What Is Wrong With Effluent?
True in 1983, True in 2009
PLTA Board
Lonnie Moore, President
Ken Fossler, Vice President
Gloria Eckstrom, Secretary
Richard Eason, Treasurer
Janet Caylor
David Gavenda
John Strickland
Notable Quote
"Should the Highland Lakes become polluted, a multi-hundred million dollar water recreation industry would be placed in jeopardy. Hotels, restaurants and businesses near the lakes would be adversely affected. Who would want to own a residence in a community located next to a polluted lake? Do you want to drink water taken from a lake downstream from scores of unsupervised wastewater plants which may or may not be doing a good job of treating the wastewater they are putting in the lakes?"
LCRA: CREMS Conclusions
"Lake Travis is sensitive to both nitrogen and phosphorus"
"Analysis shows Lake Travis has very limited ability to process nutrients impacting water quality"
"Point-source discharges have a greater impact on water quality than other nutrient sources"
"Point sources, even relatively small, are detectable at Mansfield Dam"
Did You Know?
Protect Lake Travis Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. We are all-volunteer with no paid staff. We depend entirely on member dues and contributions. We are also a proud member of EarthShare-Texas, which allows many to donate through workplace giving.
 Logo - Member of EarthShare Texas
Become a Member
Protect Lake Travis Association would like to count you among our membership. You can join on our website HERE.
Dear Reader;
Welcome to the second edition of the digital PLTA News. We continue to focus on the immediate threat of sewage effluent being discharged into Lake Travis and upstream.
Action on the Petition for Rulemaking is tentatively scheduled for the November 18, 2009 TCEQ commissioners meeting. Comments on the proposed rulemaking, designated as Docket No. 2009-1586-RUL, are due at TCEQ no later than October 30th.

Please let your elected officials - local, county and state - know of your opposition to this proposed rule change. Also, business, community and environmental groups alike should all oppose lifting the ban on discharging effluent into the Highland Lakes.
The existing discharge ban is working as intended. We have some of the cleanest water in the state of Texas. Let's keep it that way.
Lonnie Moore, President
What Is Wrong With Effluent? Part 2
TCEQ Wastewater Quality Limits Are Too Lax
Our first issue pointed out some of the misleading statements being made by proponents of discharging reclaimed wastewater into our lakes. That issue pointed readers to information on our site about the many contaminants in wastewater that are not removed in the treatment process and are currently not even regulated by the TCEQ. (see Wastewater Discharge- It's Not Good For Our Lakes (Part 1).
But even contaminants that are regulated by the TCEQ, including nitrogen and phosphorous, are allowed in such quantities as to definitely cause degradation of lakes. This was confirmed by a recent computer modeling study done by LCRA. The study, called CREMS (Colorado River Environmental Models) is available on the LCRA website HERE. The model predicts increases in algae growth in Lake Travis based on various possible scenarios. EACH scenario which includes the possibility of treated wastewater effluent being added to Lake Travis results in measurable and significant increases in algae growth. Increased algae equals degradation (see article below and more on our website).
More information on the topic of lax TCEQ wastewater standards can be found on our website HERE.LCRA Graph from CREMS PowerPoint slide #20
Deja Vu - Again
 It was true in 1983 and still true today 
The following is from an article by Taylor Ollman in the Fall 1983 PLTA BULLETIN:
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency studied
the lake in 1974 and determined that adding phosphorus
alone to Lake Travis water could result in
50 times as much algae being produced. With the
additional phosphorus, the water became nitrogen
limited - adding nitrogen too resulted 90-780 times
as much algae as grew in standard lake water. Of
course sewage and storm runoff carry large amounts
of nitrogen and other nutrients to the lake as well as
This is the reason that we are so concerned with
phosphorus pollution of the lakes. The increased
algae clouds the water, fouls boat bottoms and water
treatment equipment, and then dies and decays
robbing the lower strata of oxygen and releasing toxic
anaerobic decay products. The lake fills with mats of
floating vegetation; light does not penetrate; periodic
fish kills occur and an occasional skier or swimmer
disappears in a tangle of weeds not to appear again
for several weeks. This process of lake decay is called
EUTROPHICATION. Eutrophic lakes are all too
common in the United States as it is. We cannot allow
the beautiful Highland Lakes to be easily lost to this