SAINT HEDWIG CITY HALL
13065 FM 1346
SAINT HEDWIG, TEXAS 78152
As some of you may know, last night there was a public hearing at Lubianski’s Feed Store held by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to hear public comment on the request from Green Valley SUD for a permit to build a waste water treatment plant at 4060 Stapper Road in our Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). I have promised to keep all updated on the events of this process so I am providing an update about the meeting.
The meeting was well attended and many residents were there to voice their overwhelming concern about the treatment plant. Not one voice was heard in favor of the plant. It was made very clear that the waster water treatment plant was being created to service subdivisions to be built in the Bexar County’s ETJ, and would have no benefit to anyone in Saint Hedwig, but Saint Hedwig would be the recipient of their waste water and receive up to 400,000 gallons a day of treated affluent into Woman Hollering Creek, the Martinez Creek and subsequently into the Lower Cibolo Creek. Martinez Creek and Lower Cibolo Creek are already on TCEQ’s list of impaired water bodies for bacteria and this additional discharge would likely increase bacteria content in these waters.
The City is very concerned about this proposed plant and voiced our opposition to TCEQ approving the permit. The City Council has enlisted legal counsel to fight this invasion into our community for the financial enrichment of developers and Green Valley SUD, with no regard for the health and tranquility of our residents, or the effects the run off will have on our agriculturally rich and diverse landscape. For the sake of transparency, below is a substantive copy of the statement that I made at the hearing on behalf of Saint Hedwig:
"The City of Saint Hedwig requests the TCEQ deny the application and corresponding Draft Permit by GVSUD for the proposed Waste Water Treatment Plant to be located at 4060 Stapper Road in our city’s extra territorial jurisdiction.
The city understands that waste treatment plants are a necessary aspect of population growth and infrastructure. But this waste treatment plant is a service that provides no benefit whatsoever to our residents but it does create multiple disadvantages. Not a single resident in Saint Hedwig is connected to a sewer system, we are all on septic systems out here, so this plant is not intended to provide a benefit to homes that are a part of our city, but for new subdivisions in the Bexar County ETJ outside our community. It will be a substantial detriment to the people who are living in the immediate area of the plant and to all the residents in the downstream flow of the plant.
We understand our limitations related to zoning in our ETJ – however this is not about unwanted growth in our ETJ, it about the quality of life for the existing residents and the existing ecosystem of Saint Hedwig.
The water treatment plant will be built in our ETJ surrounded by agriculture and rural homes. The first thing it does is devalue their property values. No one moves out to the country to live next to a wastewater treatment plant. No one comes out to the country to smell chemicals and sewage instead of fresh air. Why should our residents be the recipients of someone else’s sewage to their financial and environmental detriment? We are frankly disappointed in Green Valley SUD for their prioritizing financial gain from outside developers over the health and tranquility of it’s customers in Saint Hedwig.
It is important that you understand the unique and fragile character of Saint Hedwig. The existing environment of Saint Hedwig is overwhelmingly rural, zoned primarily as agricultural or A1-R (which is 5+ acre residential plats), We are a community of ranches, and significant open space created by agriculture endeavors. We also have significant floodplains areas.
Saint Hedwig’s self-determination is to maintain a strongly rural community where development is secondary to the preservation of the natural environment and our continued ability to remain an agricultural presence. We are located in a Texas blackland prairie soil area - in addition to being in an alluvial area which means our soil is particular fertile. Texas is losing farmland faster than any other state in the U.S. St Hedwig may be some of the last farmland left in Bexar Co. We have worked hard to maintain the unspoiled rural setting that we are blessed to have.
Of critical concern is the effect of the wastewater, run off, an estimated 400,000 gallons a day that will be dumped into creeks (already identified by TCEQ as impacted with bacteria) that flow throughout the city, especially for farmers and ranchers whose livestock and crops will be affected. All of these creeks which will receive the affluent from the plant run directly through the city of Saint Hedwig, and the adverse impact to our soil from contaminants would be immense.
Lastly, we also do not believe GVSUD properly completed the permit application or supplied all of the required information for the permit, including failing to comply with the State’s regionalization policy, and providing appropriate justification for an excessive and unnecessary amount of treated affluent to be generated by this plant. We are not convinced that the GVSUD permit has satisfied water quality, antidegradation and stream standard requirements. Their permit application has incorrect statement and missing information, and we therefore request it be denied."
I was personally disappointed in TCEQ’s lack of understanding of the geography and character of Saint Hedwig. Their staff knew nothing about what happens when it floods in this area, they had only reviewed GIS maps and data. They characterized 400,000 gallons as water coming out of a hose. One staff member stated that there would be no impact to ground water, and then admitted they were not a groundwater expert. They were unable to answer questions related to what happens when affluent run off pours into Woman Hollering Creek during dry seasons.
The City will continue to keep its residents updated. We support the residents in the ETJ who will be most adversely affected by this plant and who spoke very eloquently at last night meeting. The city has submitted a written request to TCEQ for a contested case hearing regarding the Application, Draft Permit, and each and every issue related to the City’s public comments.
Mayor Dee Grimm
Tuesday 3-5 PM, Wednesday 3-7 PM
Code Compliance/Building Permits at City Hall:
Monday 5-7 PM
NOTE: Due to COVID-19, City Hall is temporarily closed on Mondays only. For Code Compliance and Building Permit inquiries contact:
Code Compliance Officer
13065 Fm 1346, Saint Hedwig, Texas 78152, United States