Agency holds line on wa­ter rules

Austin American-Statesman - - LOCAL BRIEFING -

The Texas Com­mis­sion on En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity on Wed­nes­day stopped short of loos­en­ing wa­ter qual­ity stan­dards for wa­ter­ways known for “pri­mary con­tact recre­ation” — ac­tiv­i­ties like kayak­ing and swim­ming.

Con­tact recre­ation wa­ter­ways can have up to 126 colonies per 100 milliliters for E. coli, a bac­te­ria linked to hu­man and an­i­mal waste, be­fore they are con­sid­ered pol­luted.

The com­mis­sion was con­sid­er­ing pro­posed re­vi­sions that would have set a limit of 206 colonies per 100 milliliters be­fore be­ing con­sid­ered pol­luted.

The new stan­dards, which com­mis­sion of­fi­cials say are more prac­ti­cal and save money when it comes to mon­i­tor­ing for pol­lu­tion, do loosen stan­dards for other wa­ter­ways, such as those where fish­ing and boat­ing — but not swim­ming — take place.

In an­other mat­ter, the com­mis­sion or- dered a com­pany seek­ing an air per­mit for a pro­posed power plant in Cor­pus Christi to re­turn to a state law judge for fur­ther hear­ings.

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