Saturday, October 27, 2007

A burning pile of mulch, revisited

Remember the Helotes mulch fire that burned for three months? Now, it's being used to stabilize Helotes Creek.

From Anton Caputo of the Express-News:

Crews of Henry Zumwalt, who owns what remains of the now-famous pile, have been spreading some of the remaining debris on the banks of Helotes Creek. This has caused several residents to worry that the material could wash into the creek and pollute the Edwards Aquifer below.

Bexar County and state environmental officials have visited the site and will meet Monday to discus the situation, Bexar County Engineer Renee Green said.

Crews were apparently using the debris to stabilize roughly 200 feet of eroded creek bank and planned to seed the area when done, said Henry Karnei of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He said the debris smells smoky but that it looked like mostly dirt and rock.

One sticking point: Zumwalt's crews are conducting the work without the required permit to operate in a flood plain, said Green, who didn't know how she would address the situation.

“Usually the remedy of the flood plain violation is to put it back the way it was, but that may not be in the best interest of the creek,” she said.

Just like last time, no one in authority seems to know how to adequately deal with the situation.

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