The Lower Galveston Bay Watershed is one of the most heavily used water resources in Texas. With over 2500 miles of bayous alone, our watershed faces many threats to its health, including stormwater and wastewater pollution from urban and industrial sources.
Bayou City Waterkeeper works to protect and restore the integrity of our bayous, rivers, and streams that flow into our coastal bays. Utilizing advocacy, policy, science, education and the law we aim to hold polluters accountable and work towards our goal of fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for all. Our programs address water quality issues ranging from sampling and monitoring – to tracking sources of water pollution – to working with decision-makers on Texas water quality standards and watershed protection plans.
With the help of our members and supporters, we strive to make sure that Texas and our local governments are following the law to protect the people and wildlife that depend on these waters.
the clean water act
The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, is one of the major cornerstones of environmental law. Through the Clean Water Act, Bayou City Waterkeeper is able to hold polluters accountable and protect the waters that flow through our rivers and bayous into the Gulf of Mexico.
Our September 2018 lawsuit against the City of Houston over its wastewater treatment violations led to a draft consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency in late 2019. Read our comments to that consent decree; learn more about our vision for Houston’s wastewater infrastructure; and hear our Legal Director speak about Houston’s wastewater problems on Texas Houser’s “A Little Louder” podcast.
In 2019, we challenged the City of South Houston’s request to end weekly testing for mercury at its wastewater treatment plant. This challenge will be heard by the State Office for Administrative Hearings in March 2020. Read the Houston Chronicle’s article about this issue and learn more here.
water quality testing
Industries and municipalities must have a permit from the state if they want to dump polluted water into a water body. Unfortunately, many polluters – as well as our state and local agencies – don’t always follow the law. Bayou City Waterkeeper thoroughly reviews these permits to determine whether they are being complied with and whether they need to be stronger to better protect water quality. As a part our Waterkeeper monitoring efforts, we conduct water quality testing to determine pollution levels and impacts within our watershed.
In partnership with the University of Houston Downtown and Galveston Bay Foundation, Bayou City Waterkeeper is conducting coordinated water sampling program to better understand and demonstrate where and how bacterial overflows occur in our waterways.
With data gathered since Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the results from this 18-month long study will enable us to determine the impact of pollution on our waterways immediately after the storm, potential bacterial issues are occurring in our water, and how various events impact water quality at different sites.