Edwards Aquifer Protection
The Edwards Aquifer is a unique and important resource providing drinking water to approximately two million central Texas residents as well as habitat to many unique and endangered species. The Edwards Aquifer is a karst aquifer formed in highly soluble limestone resulting in caves and large void spaces underground which transport water very quickly to the subsurface. These karst conduits can also transport contaminants very quickly into the aquifer. Due to the vulnerable nature of the Edwards Aquifer, several state and local agencies regulate activities occurring over the aquifer.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires that a Geologic Assessment (GA) be performed for certain activities in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. The purpose of a GA is to identify potential pathways for contaminant movement into the Edwards Aquifer and to provide sufficient geologic information so that appropriate actions to mitigate contamination of the Edwards Aquifer can be determined. The TCEQ requires that a technical report be prepared and sealed by a state-licensed Professional Geologist. Geologic Assessments also serve to identify potential endangered karst species habitat.
Void Discovery and Closure
It is common to encounter karst features such as voids and caves during construction in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. When a void is discovered in the Recharge Zone, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requires that all activities near the feature be suspended and that they be notified immediately. A state-licensed Professional Geologist must perform a Geologic Assessment (GA) of the feature to determine if it is environmentally sensitive and submit a report to the TCEQ Regional Office for review. In some instances, a Void Mitigation Plan for protecting the feature is prepared and certified by a Professional Engineer. Void encounters can be time consuming and costly, so it is important to hire a highly qualified consulting firm such as Zara Environmental to help you through this process in a timely manner.