New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 10, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
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TUESDAY, AUGUST IO, 2004
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New Braunfels. Canyon, Smithson Valley High Schools begin football practices for the 2004-05 season. Pages SA
Readers sound off on mail safety, development, J.T. Woodall and city more than tubing, drinking on river. Page 4A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153, No. 232 10 pages, 1 section
30% chance of rain
Details .... 6A
-*Man dies after rescue from Canyon Lake
By Don Maloney
CANYON LAKE—A43-year-old Indiana man died Saturday after being pulled uncon
scious from Canyon Lake.
A University Hospital official said Michael Hughes was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival at 5 p.m. Saturday.
A Canyon Lake Fire/EMS
official said Hughes was pulled from the water at the Fort Sam Houston recreation area at about 4 p.m.
“They were performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation
when EMS arrived,” the official said.
Hughes was flown out by AirLife helicopter.
Comal County Sheriff’s Cpl. Tim Kolbe said Hughes was
in the military, stationed at Fort Sam Houston.
“Witnesses, including one with the victim, said Hughes had swam to a buoy, but began going under," Kolbe
said. “He was brought ashore unconscious.”
Pending autopsy results, the incident has been tentatively ruled an accidental drowning, Kolbe said.
LAKE DUNLAP PLANT HISTORY
A substantial amount of water hyacinth covered Lake Dunlap. Water hyacinth is a floating plant that grows in large mats. Drag wires and earthmoving machinery were ineffective to remove the plants.
In May 1972, high flow through the lake cleared the plant.
“Witches Hair,’ a filamentous algae that tends to form globs on the surface of the water, became dominant. It would become caught in boat anginas. causing them to stall.
■ LM 1980e-1990
Water lettuce became the dominant plant. The free-floating plant also caused problems for boaters._
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers introduced 200 lettuce weevils to control the plant growth. High flows during 1991 and 1992 also helped dear the water.
HydriUa was discovered in Lake Dunlap. TPWD applied herbicides, and in 1996
M released sterile grass i# carp to reduce jmm Hydride growth. Those Bm % efforts, along with ■LA high flows in 1997, nHv reduced the problem.
Canyon Regional Water Authority reported taste and odor problems in drinking water from Lake Dunlap. High levels of aquatic plant growth and the effects of herbicides used to treat Hydrilla were thought to be the cause.
Source: Analysis of Aquatic Plant and Nutrient Conditions in Lake Dunlap. Texas Clean Rivers Program. Guadalupe-Bianco River Authority with Espey. Huston and Associates Inc., September 1996.
Conflicting science, reasons Roadwork,
expansions hinge on toll receipts
Aquatic biology professor Dr. Alan Groeger performs a chlorophyll analysis on a water sample at his Texas State University lab.
Experts unsure of phosphorus, algae relationship
reduce that uncertainty.”
A draft of TCEQ’s pennit renewal currently pending approval requires NBU to pay for another study that will determine whether reducing phosphorus discharge from the Kuehler wastewater plants will significantly reduce algae downstream.
By Brandi Grissom
Nuisance plant growth in Lake Dunlap has plagued this body of water, created in 1928, for more than four decades.
Algae, hydrilla, water hyacinth, water lettuce and other noxious weeds were reported as early as the 1960s. Because of the lake’s fertility, it is one of the most studied in the state. No less than 19 studies have been conducted since 1970.
In 2002, when permitting officials at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality began reviewing New Braunfels Utilities’ water quality permit renewal application for the South Kuehler Wastewater Treatment Plant, they reviewed a number of those studies. They sought to answer one question about the effects of the 4 million gallons of water discharged from that plant every day on water quality downstream.
The question was not whether Lake Dunlap has an algae problem — that’s discernible from the water’s green tinge during dry summers. The question was not whether NBU’s North and South Kuehler plants contribute a significant amount of phosphorus in the lake—on average the plants account for 27 percent,
LAKE DUNLAP WATER WOES
Second in a five-part series examining the fight between the Preserve Lake Dunlap Association and New Braunfels Utilities
■ TODAY: The science — Studies examine amount of phosphorus and its significance
■ WEDNESDAY: The defense - Plant upgrade costs too much and might not work_
■ THURSDAY: The next steps —
Litigation means solution isn t near
■ FRIDAY: Clean up comparison — San Marcos, Kerrville clean up phosphorus
according to TCEQ, even more by some study reports.
I heir question centers on the relationship between those two facts.
“We can make a pretty good prediction about what would happen to phosphorus levels. The difficult part is making a prediction about what lowering phosphorus levels would do to algae conditions,” said Jim Davenport in TCEQ’s water quality standards division. He helped review NBU’s renewal application.
None of the studies satisfactorily answer that questioa Davenport said. And conflicting reports from the studies only create more questions.
“We get different opinions from scientists in the field,” “We’re trying to add enough data that it greatly helps
2002 STUDY: POINTING THE FINGER AT NBU
While evaluating the water quality permit renewal, Davenport said TCEQ staff reviewed a 2002 study of Lake Dunlap conducted by Texas State University-San Marcos aquatic biology professor Alan Groeger.
“We studied above and below [the wastewater treatment plants],” Groeger said. “Below the outfall in the lake, phosphorus has been dramatically increased.”
Water samples from five points along the lake were studied.
The study shows water closer to Lake Dunlap Dam, well downstream from the NBU plants, is highest in algae growth.
“When that water gets fairly close to the dam, the river plunges under, and the lake becomes stratified,” Groeger said. “You get two layers —
By Ron Maloney
If an outer loop is built around New Braunfels within the next quarter century, tolls — at least in part — will pay for it.
The same will be true if U.S. 281 is to be expanded to four lanes north of the Guadalupe River, local officials learned Monday.
Confirmation came in a three-hour workshop meeting conducted by city, county, chamber of commerce and Texas Department of Transportation officials.
TxDOT District Engineer David (Casteel told local officials that House Bill 3588, the 78th Texas Legislatures Omnibus Transportation Bill, offered several new funding scenarios for TxDOT projects previously paid for by state and federal highway funds.
Priority would be given to projects including local participation through bonding, local match funding or tolls, he said.
Comal County officials have been grappling with whether to form a local transportation board, a Regional Mobility Authority, as allowed under the new law.
The RMA would fund projects envisioned in city and county transportation planning that no state funds or inadequate state funds have been earmarked for.
An outer loop around New Braunfels is not in TxDOT’s 25-year funding horizon. Neither is U.S. 281 north of Texas 46 in Comal County
“We have new tools in the last Legislature we never had before," Casteel said. “Comal County is one of the better areas to work with because of the traffic you have.”
Locally, officials expressed at best scant enthusiasm for establishing an RMA, but Casteel made it clear that dwindling state
See LOOR, Page 3A
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The Ifextt Commie' •ion on Environ-mental Quality and the Alamo Area Comd! of Governments has declared today an Air Quality Health Alert Day.
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Landowners fight for nonannexation as time for final action nears
By Scott Mahon
With time running out, landowners targeted for annexation again pleaded with the New Braunfels City Council to not annex hundreds of acres of farmland near the municipal airport.
Monday’s public hearing on annexation was the first of only two public hearings
to be held before council takes action on annexing almost 2,500 acres of land surrounding the airport.
For three years, city officials have repeatedly said land adjacent to the airport needs to be protected from development.
And for three years, farmers have fought against annexation.
“We have no intention of developing our land,” said Curtis Timmer-mann. “The city has nothing to gain, and the cost of providing services will exceed the benefits the city gets.”
Melvin Kreusler said the farmland was some of the
richest farmland in the world.
Nancy Krueger argued the city couldn’t provide adequate response times from fire and EMS services to areas adjacent to the airport.
“The fire and police departments are already
taxed,” she said. “We wont get the same level of services that people who live in the city do.”
Frank Robbins, planning director, said the city was bound by law to provide the same level of services to all residents.
“In addition, the city will have to maintain roads and streets and provide solid
waste services,” he said.
Mayor Adam Cork said although the city adopted a resolution against nonannexation agreements, council could negotiate development agreements with landowners.
“There appears to be new legislation that would allow
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