Arroyo Colorado

March 31, 2006

Dear Arroyo Partners,

Attached is the wastewater component of the ACWP titled "Pollutant Reduction Plan for the Arroyo Colorado". I first want to acknowledge and thank the workgroup members and workgroup leader, Roger Miranda, for the dedicated effort to figure out and draft this important component of the plan. Again, I am distributing this for comments. You can send them to our chairman, Dr. Jude Benavides at jbenavides@utb.edu or come to our next Steering Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 27, 2006, from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Citrus Center in Weslaco, and voice your comments at that meeting.

Briefly, the first priority of the wastewater component of the plan is to have all wastewater treatment facilities treat their effluent beyond the most basic treatment (pond and lagoon systems) required by Texas of centralized wastewater treatment systems. Currently, we have only four such systems in the Arroyo watershed and three of the four are well on their way towards new and upgraded plants. Nine (9) of the eighteen (18) main dischargers of treated wastewater to the Arroyo are permitted and meeting the desired secondary treatment standards. And fourteen (14) of the eighteen (18) are committing to enhanced wastewater treatment projects of at least part of their effluent. This is a great start and as I stated last time, we still need to work towards ways of treating (or reusing) greater volumes. This means more land is needed for the construction of wetlands and thankfully we have partners with land and a vision of creating more habitats not only for the wildlife but also for the Valley residents and the economy it brings.

Speaking of habitat, the workgroup meeting scheduled for April 27, 2006 has been cancelled. That Habitat Restoration component of the plan is under final draft and looking good. I will send it out as soon as I get it along with the Agricultural Issues component.

Earth Day 2006 is coming up and on April 20, 2006 the University of Texas Brownsville is having an event. Our Partnership is invited to participate and I am making plans to be there. The event will be from 12 noon to 5 PM in the Grand Salon and outside the Student Union. There will be speakers, information tables, a movie and popcorn, and outdoor activities. We have an Arroyo Colorado Display and new Spanish and English brochures thanks to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. I could use some help. Please let me know if you could volunteer a couple of hours.

Don't forget to Spring forward,

Laura