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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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April 27, 2011     Hays Free Press
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April 27, 2011
 

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Hays Free Press April 27, 2011 NH/S Page 3A PHOTO BY BRENDA STEWART Happy Birthday, Blanche! In the first of five birthday celebrations at which she was honord, the staff of the Library Thrift Store in Kyle gathered around Blanche Richmond as she celebrated her 93rd birthday last Friday. Mrs. Richmond took a quick break from her Thurs- day Thrift Store duties to have some cake and ice cream with staff members (I-r) Terry Bishop, Della Fine, Carol Callaway and Victoria Muniz. Mrs. Richmond was one of the founding members of the Kyle Community Library and has been a volunteer in the Thrift Shop since it opened. Wastewater Mediation Continued from pg. 1A ment has stretched on since 2008, when the city of Austin, Hays County, the BS/EACD, the Lower Colorado River Author- ity (LCRA) and the Save Our Springs (SOS) Alliance filed for a contested case hearing with the State Office of Administra- tive Hearings (SOAH), oppos- ing the permit on the grounds that it could degrade drinking water quality. This spring, all parties agreed to try to work out a compro- mise in mediation, currently set for May 9. "I think it&apos;s progress that they're willing to sit down and talk with everybody," said Ed Peacock, an engineer with the City of Austin's Watershed Pro- tection Department. "In their initial application they were willing to do more than most applicants." The developers say that their proposed system is safe, and tout the environmental ben- efits of water reuse. By treating wastewater to a safe standard and reusing it for irrigation, developers say they can mini- mize the drain on the region's limited groundwater supplies. "Obviously, we think there are benefits to reusing the wa- ter for irrigation," said their attomey, Lance Lackey of the firm Barrett & Smith. "We're in a drought fight now. Given the high quality that the effluent is going to be treated to, assum- ing it can be used for irrigation purposes, that's better than that water never being reused." A properly designed and managed land application sys- tem can use the soil system - minerals, microbes, organic material and underground pore spaces- to filter and dilute the contaminants, including nutrients, bacteria and traces of pharmaceutical drugs. But in the aquifer recharge zone, creeks and sinkholes pull water rapidly back down into the underground limestone caverns, meaning that con- taminants could re-enter the water supply. All parties in the contested case hearing agreed to turn to an independent geologist, who would perform a site assess- ment of the property and try to Fireworks ban called into effect in Hays STAFF REPORTS The use of all fireworks and pyrotechnics is illegal in Hays County under a local emergency decla- ration signed by County Judge Bert Cobb on Mon- day and affLrmed by the commissioners court on Tuesday. Under state law, the county has limited au- thority over fireworks un- less the county's emer- gency management plan is activated. The ban will be in effect until the Gov- emor's Statewide Disaster Declaration is rescinded or the county determines the need for the ban no longer exists. The county has been under a bum ban since mid-December 2010, but by state law fire- works are not part of the standard bum ban. "We want to be sensi- tive to the fireworks in- dustry and their business but it's just too dangerous right now to shoot off fire- works anywhere in Hays County," County Judge Bert Cobb said. Violations of the ban can result in a Class C mis- demeanor citation with up to a $500 fine. Hays County Fire Marshal Mark Chambers noted that damage to property from a fire started by fireworks can also result in civil law- suits being brought by the affected parties. Chambers said that as of Tuesday moming, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index was at 671 out of 800 and was expected to go higher due to continued low humidity, high winds and long-term drought conditions. identify recharge features that could present a danger. The Hudson Ranch develop- ment represents something of a test case for TCEQ. Though similar wastewater reuse sys- tems are in place in the area, it's the first time that a large- scale residential development has sought permitting to dis- charge treated wastewater over the aquifer recharge zone. "It would be the largest land application permit located over the recharge zone," Dup- nik said. "That's not necessar- fly a bad thing. We feel like it can be done correctly. It really is about making sure it all stays on site, none of it gets into the creeks, and none of it gets into the aquifer." If the parties aren't able to reach a resolution through me- diation, they likely would re- turn to litigation mode, Lackey said. A contested case hearing could be resolved by the end of the year. The development would be served by LCRNs West Travis County Water System which owns a pipeline along U.S. 290. Continued from pg. 1A sue than a county issue. I just don't believe counties are set up to be in this kind of coali- tion," Jones said. In December, HayS County and other governments asked LCRA to give public entities first right of refusal to buy the systems and to delay the sale until the end of 2011. 'd it fell on deaf ears," Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said. Now the coalition is racing to assemble a bid by May 23. Whisenant said the bid will be based on the system's rev- enue and the cost of its pur- chase will be borne by those who use it, not county prop- erty taxpayers at large. Also on Tuesday the court took the first steps toward reviving the dormant Hays County Water & Sewer Au- thority, which was founded in 2000 as a conduit for receiv- ing the county's six percent surcharge on taps into the system. 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