COLUMBUS — Inland Environmental has proposed a dam along Skull Creek to stop alleged pollution from their Altair site, according to sources familiar with the investigation in to two incidents of pollution along the creek.
The proposal, which was discussed during a meeting with multiple agencies and county officials last Tuesday in Columbus, was endorsed by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality staff working on the investigation during the meeting.
Colorado County Judge Ty Prause confirmed that the issue of a dam was brought up in the meeting, which was called at his request.
Inland Environmental did not return calls to The Citizen seeking comment on the potential dam.
Whether or not such a dam can legally be built in the area remains to be seen.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers was looking in to the matter as of Monday.
Lt. Col. Mark Williford, Public Affairs Officer for the agency’s Galveston Division, said that two laws, the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the Clean Water Act could potentially be relevant, depending on whether the waterway is considered navigable and other factors.
Because Skull Creek is a tributary of the Colorado River, many believe the Lower Colorado River Authority has jurisdiction over water impoundments, which include dams.
The agency has no such authority.
“TCEQ has jurisdiction over an impoundment of state surface water such as what you described along Skull Creek,” said Bill Lauderback, LCRA executive vice president for Public Affairs:
TCEQ says such activity requires a permit.
“Diverting and/or impounding water that is in a state watercourse requires a permit from the TCEQ,” said Martha Otero, Media Relations Specialist with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
It was unclear if a permit has been obtained or applied for as of press time.