Some more info on this project.
I recently received a response from the Water Quality division of the TCEQ regarding the Luce Bayou Interbasin Project and the potential affects it could have on water quality and public health. Here is a copy of their e-mail, as well as a few files their representative shared.
" The LBITP will transfer raw water from the Trinity River to Lake Houston to supplement existing water supplies in Lake Houston, a water supply reservoir for the City of Houston. The City of Houston owns water rights on the Trinity River. The water right for the LBITP has priority dates of 1913 and 1959. The U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers issued their Record of Decision for the project on January 31, 2014 after the TCEQ issued a Clean Water Act 401 Certification on January 30, 2014 that certified the project’s activities and requirements provide a reasonable assurance that the project will be conducted in a manner that will not violate the surface water quality standards. On December 18, 2015, DSHS issued a Fish and Shellfish Consumption Advisory for Lake Livingston and the Trinity River from U.S. Highway 287 downstream to U.S. Highway 90 because fish tissue samples indicated the presence of dioxins and PCBs at concentrations exceeding health assessment guidelines for consumption of certain fish. A copy of the DSHS advisory and a Frequently Asked Questions document for the advisory are attached. Following issuance of the advisory the TCEQ contacted the Luce Bayou Project manager at the Coastal Water Authority to make them aware of the issued advisory.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is charged under the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 436.091 to declare a body of public water a prohibited area if a sanitary, chemical, or bacteriological survey indicates aquatic life is unfit for human consumption. The DSHS Seafood and Aquatic Life Group monitor’s chemical contaminant levels in fish and shellfish from Texas' lakes, rivers, bays, or near shore state waters to determine the public health risks associated with consumption of these food sources. Information on consumption advisories can be found on the DSH’s website. The following is a link to the website: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/seafood/ad ... -bans.aspx
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department also posts information regarding fish consumption bans and advisories on their website. The information can be found at:http://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdo ... advisories
The TCEQ assesses water quality for surface waters in Texas and develops the Texas Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality which includes a list of impaired water bodies. As a result of the Lake Livingston and Trinity River advisory, the TCEQ will add the portion of the Trinity River under the advisory to the Clean Water Action Section 303(d) list of impaired waters in the next update to the list. It has been our experience that fish advisories from pollutants such as PCBs and dioxins are often the result of legacy pollutants that reside in the sediment of the stream. This often means no current or controllable source of the pollutants is the major cause of the problem. The TCEQ will continue to evaluate the situation and review information as it becomes available. Due to the fish consumption advisory in Lake Livingston, a project was developed to measure PCB and Dioxin levels in lake sediments as well as in the Trinity River upstream and downstream of the lake. The Trinity River Authority is conducting this sampling as part of a contract with the TCEQ.
Also, as a result of inquiries regarding the LBITP the Toxicology Division at the TCEQ searched for and evaluated the available fish surveys and water quality data in the Trinity River basin, Lake Livingston, and Lake Houston to characterize the pollutant levels over time and throughout the water bodies. The group also evaluated the DSHS data to determine if the nearby population has increased incidence of health effects. Below is a summary of their conclusion:
Although it is not possible to determine future water, sediment, or fish tissue concentrations, it is unlikely that the planned water diversion will increase mercury, PCB, or dioxin/dibenzofuran concentrations in fish tissues such that they will pose a significant increased cancer risk, particularly if species other than gar are consumed. The DSHS health effects characterization for the Trinity River suggests that, with the exception of individual fish (two longnose gar, one flathead catfish, and one striped bass), fish tissue concentrations from the most southern portion of the river located near the location of the intake for the interbasin transfer are below the very conservative health-based assessment comparison value for cancer effects.
The TCEQ will continue to evaluate the situation and review information as it becomes available. Please contact us if you have additional questions."
I hope that helps and answers some of your questions. If there is anything else our office can be of further assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact us again.
State Representative Dan Huberty