Carancahua RV park seeks sewage permit
By Michael Brooks
Looking to expand the size of their RV park, the Port Lavaca/Matagorda Bay KOA-Serenity RV Resort has requested a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in order to build a sewage treatment plant that would allow the expansion.
If the permit is approved and the project moves forward, the proposed sewage plant would be able to treat up to 20,000 gallons of waste water.
Phi Nguyen, Senior Project Manager for the designer and applications for the waste water treatment systems, said “They want to expand the RV park because their current plant doesn’t have the capacity to handle it if they expand their park. After approval we will have to go through a long process and it would be the end of the year, or possibly into 2022, before they could start building the treatment facility.”
The RV resort is located in Carancahua, on CR 302, in the far South East corner of Jackson County, and the permit request has some citizens concerned.
“We are not in favor of it being dumped into our shallow bay,” Pam Stewart, Cape Carancahua Property Owners Association Board President, said. “Quite a few people are sending letters that would like a meeting with TCEQ and we are trying to represent all of them as a group through the board.”
But Ethan Rafei, owner of Serenity Bay RV Resort, says people should not be concerned.
“The water will be clean enough you can drink it if you want,” Rafei said. “I live on the bay as well. I have a pier and I boat and Fish the bay. I am also a scout leader and the motto with scouting is Leave No Trace. We care a lot about the water and the bay.”
Questions still remain though and apart from the Property Owners Association Board, a message went around social media, telling people to make sure their questions were heard.
The message read “Sewage plant permit for discharge into Carancahua Bay. All, be aware that Serenity RV Resort (the KOA located directly across the bay from Cape Carancahua) is planning to roughly double its capacity, and is working on permitting a sewage plant which will discharge up to 20,000 gallons of treated effluent into the bay. This is Proposed Permit Number WQ0015946001. If you live along the bay, fish in it, or work around it, you should be concerned about the details for the plant, how it will be managed, and who will monitor the outflow for possible problems. You can go to the library in Edna and view or copy the entire application, just give them the permit number. If there is not enough public comment made by you, then the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will not hold a public meeting, and those questions will not be answered for us. Contact TCEQ by email at www.tceq.texas.gov or in writing at Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105, PO Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. Reference the permit number, which is WQ0015946001. To be sure that your comments are heard, make sure that you do this within the next 30 days. Remember, if you don't comment, we are stuck with the results.”
Stewart added “they are proposing dumping it in an area where there is not much water movement. We are very concerned. Our properties are to the north west, it will move here if it’s not treated correctly or if there is a malfunction. We are definitely opposed to it.”
Phi agrees there could be up to 20,000 or treated sewage water dumped into the bay, but he says this is nothing new, and should not be a cause for concern.
“If you have a large capacity place like Serenity is planning to build, it is a normal procedure to build a treatment plant. We do this every day,” Phi explained. “But after we treat the water, the effluent must meet TCEQ requirements, and it may be better than the bay water itself actually is. When someone puts in a good system, the waste water will meet the TCEQ requirements.”
Rafei added they want the water to be extremely clean as they expect the visitors to the park to swim in the bay.
Carancahua consists of around 800 property owners, from people all over the county. Most of those people will be watching with a lot of interest to see if the permit gets approved.