Comprehensive Sabine Watershed Management Plan Report
Table of Contents Section 9 - Water and Wastewater Treatment Needs

Executive Summary

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Water Needs

3.0 Existing Surface Water Supplies

4.0 Existing Ground Water Supplies

5.0 Comparison of Existing Supply and Projected Demand

6.0 Additional Supply from Water Conservation

7.0 Potential Surface Water Projects

8.0 Potential Ground Water Resources

9.0 Water and Wastewater Treatment Needs

9.1 Water and Wastewater Treatment Survey
9.2 Septic Systems
9.3 Recommendations

10.0 Water Quality & Environmental Issues

11.0 Other Water Related Issues

12.0 Information Management and Public Participation

13.0 Recommendations


List of Figures

List of Tables

9.1 Water and Wastewater Treatment Survey

A survey of water and wastewater providers, local and regional governments, and industrial water users was conducted to define various issues pertinent to the provision of water in the basin. Each group received a survey designed to assess their specific conditions and needs. The surveys investigated the amount and source of current water supply, projected needs and the sources proposed to meet future needs. Information was also gathered on treatment facilities, planned expansions of service areas, water supply facilities or treatment plants, and conservation and drought management planning in the basin.

Approximately half of the surveys were completed and returned. The information obtained from these surveys was compiled and verified through meetings with the major water suppliers and wastewater providers (those that have an average flow of more than 5 million gallons per day). A list of these entities is presented in the Table 9.1.

Table 9.1: Major Water Suppliers and Wastewater Providers


Water Supply Corporations


Bridge City Carthage

Center Gladewater Greenville





White Oak

Cash WSC

Combined Consumer WSC

MacBee WSC

Bayer Corp



East Texas Saltwater Disposal

Inland Paperboard

& Packaging, Inc.

Texas Eastman

Texas Utilities (Martin Lake)

Based on the surveys and meeting with large suppliers, it was found that:

  • There are no large increases to needs expected in the short-term.
  • While some water providers and industrial users have water conservation plans, few of these plans specify conservation goals or mechanisms to quantify conservation savings. Even fewer providers and users have drought contingency plans.
  • There appears to be sufficient water and wastewater treatment capacity for the next 10 to 20 years among the large suppliers.
  • The surveys and interviews indicate a need to improve the knowledge and understanding of local suppliers on specific issues. Most of the larger entities know about the upcoming Safe Drinking Water Act regulations and Clean Water Act regulations and are adjusting or modifying their treatment systems to comply with them. Most of the smaller entities also know about the regulations but either: 1) do not know how to address them, or 2) know what needs to be done but do not have the money to modify their treatment facilities.
  • Most of the larger entities do not have existing problems with treatment, whereas many smaller entities do have existing problems with their treatment facilities.
  • Only one major wastewater provider, Chevron, is currently investigating reuse potential of their effluent.

A summary of the data compiled from the surveys and information meetings is presented on Tables 9.2 and 9.3 at the end of this section.

9.2 Septic Systems

Much of the basin’s population is rural and is on septic systems. From the current water quality monitoring data, it appears that fecal coliform contamination due to septic systems is a problem within the basin. This should continually be monitored as part of the basin’s source water protection program. TNRCC is currently performing studies that will result in better methods of detecting contamination from septic systems. In addition, there is new technology that can be used to pinpoint the contamination. It is an instrument that uses fluorescent lighting to detect household detergents leached out of a septic system. This can be very effective in identifying septic system problem areas.

9.3 Recommendations

The results of the water and wastewater survey identified several areas that could be improved, particularly with regard to expanding local technical expertise on water supply, treatment, and quality issues. The following recommendations focus on expanding local entity understanding and awareness of regulatory matters that impact water supply, quality or management in the Sabine Basin.

  1. SRA, through its public involvement program, should develop a technical assistance program and educational and informational activities for specific use groups on relevant issues, as follows:
  2. - Maintain a database of contact names and addresses for all small water supply entities in the basin to be used to contact these suppliers with information on new EPA and TNRCC regulations.

    - Provide recommendations on treatment options to help small water supply entities comply with regulations.

    - Host and/or facilitate any available TWDB and TNRCC seminars or workshops regarding water or wastewater treatment. Hold these seminars at the SRA local offices in both the Upper and Lower basin and encourage local water and wastewater providers to attend.

    - Facilitate the TNRCC plant optimization program within the basin. This plant optimization program allows plant operators to visit other plants and learn new processes and also gives entities the opportunity to have outside operators come into their own plant to help optimize the treatment processes within the plant.

    - Train entities within the Sabine Basin that collect water quality data in approved data collection and analysis methods so that this information can be used in the Clean Rivers Program and SRA’s Information System database. Currently much of the data cannot be integrated into the Clean Rivers Program or into the Information System database because the data is not obtained using standard, EPA-approved data analysis methods.

    - Host and/or facilitate TWDB drought management and contingency planning seminars to assist all of the water suppliers in the region with their plans.

  3. If necessary, hire local consultants on an as-needed basis to help with a technical assistance program for local water and wastewater providers.
  4. Study further the opportunity of implementing regional water and wastewater treatment facilities, particularly in the Lower basin where there was significant interest expressed in regional wastewater treatment by those entities in the meetings.
  5. Incorporate any new TNRCC monitoring methodologies into SRA’s water quality monitoring plan.
  6. Use GIS and other analysis methods to continue monitoring for water quality problems that may be related to wastewater treatment effluent and septic systems. If necessary, utilize new technology to identify point source septic system contamination.

Table 9.2: Water Supply Information for Large Water Suppliers/Users in the Sabine Basin

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Table 9.3: Wastewater Information for Large Wastewater Providers in the Sabine Basin
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