Take Two Minutes To Help Reduce Flooding in San Jacinto Watershed

The Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative needs your help. The group’s four-year effort to establish best management practices (BMPs) for sand mines in the San Jacinto River basin is drawing to a close. But one of the rules needs strengthening. Leave a public comment to that effect on the TCEQ website. It should only take two minutes.

Background: Proposed Rule is No Rule At All

Here’s the concern:

311.103 General Requirements (c) Pre-mining, Mining, and Post-Mining states: “If a BMP is infeasible, the operator shall use an alternative equivalent BMP and maintain documentation of the reason onsite.  The following considerations may be used to determine if a BMP is infeasible (financial considerations; health and safety concerns; local restrictions or codes; site soils; slope; available area; precipitation pattern; site geometry; site vegetation; infiltration capacity; geotechnical factors; depth to groundwater; and other similar considerations).

Allowing twelve (+ an infinite) number of reasons to avoid implementation of BMPs provides so much latitude as to make this rule useless for community protection.

Operators need only retain documentation of their “reason” onsite for not complying, without first getting approval for substituting BMPs.

The Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative recommends that this rule be changed to include mandatory approval by the TCEQ for any variance from standard BMPs. The group also recommends the TCEQ make approved changes available for public inspection on its website.

Leave Public Comment Before Midnight Tuesday

If you agree, please go to the following link:  https://www6.tceq.texas.gov/rules/ecomments/ and register your concern. Use your own words or feel free to cut and paste the information in red below – before Tuesday, July 27th at midnight.

I am concerned about 311.103 General Requirements (c) Pre-Mining, Mining and Post-Mining. It gives sand mine operators free license to ignore BMPs for a virtually infinite number of reasons. No approval by the TCEQ is necessary. All operators need to do is keep a note in a file onsite.

There are always those who will bend the rules for their convenience or financial gain at the expense of protecting the community.

Therefore, I urge you to change the wording in this rule so that variation from the BMPs requires approval by the TCEQ. I also urge you to publish any variations on your website for public inspection.

Hurricane Harvey showed us the dangers of sediment blockages in the San Jacinto River. Federal, State and Local Governments are spending $222 million to remove them.

Sand Island was deposited during Harvey. It is gone now…but at great expense. The Army Corps said it blocked the San Jacinto West Fork by 90%.

To reduce such blockages in the future – and their associated risk of flooding – the Lake Houston Area Grassroots Flood Prevention Initiative has been working on your behalf since Harvey to get to this point. Please take two minutes to protect four years worth of effort. Take action now.

You can read the complete text of proposed BMPs here.

And you can read all of the proposed rules governing their implementation here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/25/21

1426 Days after Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.