Pristine to Polluted: A Hill Country Sewage Scorecard

In response to Hill Country sewage woes, the Save Barton Creek Association published “Pristine to Polluted: Sewage Problems & Solutions in the Texas Hill Country,” a 45-page scorecard that documents wastewater discharge problems in the Hill Country and proposes solutions.

Sewage pollution in the Hill Country is getting worse, and we need answers. Save Barton Creek Association’s report finds that 88% of all sewage treatment plants in the region have dumped more pollutants into streams than their permits allow. Still, developers continue to apply for new discharge permits.

SBCA is working with Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and other environmental groups to promote stricter sewage rules for the Hill Country. The Pristine to Polluted report includes a detailed sewage scorecard for dozens of treatment plants, the evolution of treatment and regulations, and six recommendations for action at state, regional, and local levels.

The report is now available at

Brian Zabcik, author of the report, is SBCA’s Wastewater Campaign Coordinator. Previously, as Clean Water Advocate at Environment Texas, he focused on promoting green infrastructure features like rain gardens and rain harvesting to stop runoff pollution.

Zabcik also helped write a green infrastructure resolution enacted by the Austin City Council and a green infrastructure bill passed by the Texas Legislature. Additionally, he authored a report on municipal stormwater policies in Texas and co-authored a report on bacteria pollution in the state’s waterways.

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