Developer defends sewer pipe built in cave

McMillin Land Development: 'This is not a sewer line'

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist, mrivers@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 15 2013 06:16:11 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 15 2013 05:41:00 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

A North Bexar County land development company defended its actions Friday, after an environmental group accused it of running a sewer line through a newly discovered cave within the boundaries of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

McMillin Land Development said the pipe in question is completely empty, and only laid on top of an opening to the cave to prevent people from going inside.

The cave was discovered in late January during the construction of a new housing development off of Overlook Parkway.

The cave only became publicly known, however, after a group of kids stumbled across it and spoke to local media outlets.

The cave is extremely large, according to those who’ve been inside, and has massive rock formations that stretch dozens of feet high.

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance sent out a press release Thursday that accused McMillin of running a sewer line through the cave.

They distributed a picture they took from inside they claimed showed the pipe.

The issue, the group claimed, was that if the pipe burst, sewage would run into the county’s drinking water supply.

The company responded Friday and said the group’s picture was that of an empty pipe they laid over the cave’s opening, and posed no danger to the recharge zone.

They also said the company had developed plans to reroute all planned sewer lines so that none went over or through the cave, and that no residential lots would be built on top of the cave.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the company has been in compliance with all state regulations so far, and that the agency will be reviewing the company's plans to reroute sewage lines.

In a news release sent Friday, GEAA said it "has no faith in the engineering firm currently employed by the developers, based upon our review of the report submitted by Pape Dawson Engineers to TCEQ regarding this matter. GEAA would like to see geologists from a public agency, such as the Edwards Aquifer Authority, inspect this cave.  At a minimum, the geologists should be members of the National Speleological Society for at least 10 years and have specific training and education in cave and karst hydrogeology."