Neighbors skeptical about underground springs

SAWS, TCI to investigate rising water table

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Adam B. Higgins - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Residents of the Donaldson Terrace neighborhood near Jefferson High School said they've been complaining for months about the standing water on some of their streets that won't go away. 

Cynthia Arredondo said the neighbors thought it had to be persistent leaks in the lines belonging to the San Antonio Water System at the intersection of Donaldson Avenue and Seeling Boulevard.

But in a statement, a SAWS spokeswoman said that after checking multiple times, no leaks were found in its water mains on Donaldson. 

"The water on Donaldson Street has been tested by SAWS and was determined to be naturally occurring groundwater," the statement said.

Arredondo said she's skeptical.

"I can't believe that they said the water was coming from underground. Really?" she asked.

Paul Bertetti, an Edwards Aquifer Authority hydrologist, said he doesn't think the water is from the aquifer.

"There are a number of springs that can occur naturally anytime ground gets saturated with water," Bertetti said. 

Springs or seeps essentially represent "drainage of that soil and those rocks near the surface," Bertetti said.

He said rainfall from the fall and into spring have added to the flow that may persist for some time.

SAWS and the city's Transportation and Capital Improvements Department have now joined in "developing a plan of action to address groundwater table issues in the Donaldson Terrace neighborhood," said TCI spokesman Paul Berry.

Berry said TCI has hired an environmental and geological engineering firm to investigate and design a solution.

"Once the investigation and design process is started, it will take approximately 60 to 90 days to complete," Berry said.

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