robert Lee chloride study

Salinity Seep Location in Robert Lee, Texas

In 2017, UCRA received funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) program for a chloride monitoring study on the Upper Colorado river below E.V. Spence. Chloride and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) concentration levels were detected in routine monitoring and have escalated steadily since 2009. UCRA seeks to identify the source of the increasing chloride and TDS concentrations through groundwater investigations and to implement one of the control actions of the revised TMDL I-Plan. 

Planned groundwater investigations include: A desk review of area Texas Railroad Commission oil and gas activity, development of an inventory of existing water wells, collection and analysis (with landowner permission) of samples from existing water wells, mapping of concentration levels and potential drilling of shallow monitor wells from which to collect groundwater samples to refine chloride concentration maps and; potential collection and analysis of surface and/or near surface lithologic samples, all of which will aid in the effort to determine the location and likely activity or source contributing to the observed rising chloride and TDS levels in this assessment unit.  

If causality can be established and linked to an activity or the source of the chloride and TDS impairment in this assessment unit, then an abatement/remediation plan will be devised to deal with the issue. Because the escalating chloride and TDS levels in this assessment unit are essentially driving the entire Segment 1426 impairment, a resolution to this issue will enhance the results achieved by the TMDL I-Plan. TMDL I-Plan Coordination Committee members will hold a public meeting towards the end of the project, which is funded through February 2022, to inform the public about the nature and reason for the investigation and solicit public support. The City of Robert Lee will also participate in this effort by acting as a liaison between the UCRA investigators and local landowners and the public. 

The project is managed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) NPS program.