Water Quality Management Plan Summary

The rapid and sprawling growth of the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area has led to a diffuse network of wastewater (sewer) infrastructure. The availability of special districts like Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) has allowed a "leapfrog" pattern of infrastructure development, and a relatively high number of smaller, often unmanned wastewater treatment plants. As the region continues to grow, evaluating and addressing the character and potential financial and water quality impacts of this network are key components of development decisions. H-GAC maintains a Regional Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) that focuses on wastewater infrastructure.

As part of the wastewater data update, H-GAC collects and analyzes wastewater permit data through a comprehensive database that coordinates with spatial data in the geographic information system. This data includes permit limits for contaminants, facility age and discharge volumes, and spatial location of the facility and its outfalls. The analyses of this data help local decision-makers more accurately plan for future development, and can help facilitate development of coordinate regional facilities. Previous analyses have shown that Houston has a disproportionately large number of small, often inefficient, wastewater treatment plants. Because these plants are potential sources of bacteria, evaluating their status is important for the region, whose water bodies already exhibit high levels of bacterial contamination.

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