Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Energy & Environment

The EPA Really Likes This Natural Water Filter In South Austin

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News
Austin was praised by the EPA as one of the top ten cities for green infrastructure, specifically because of the Lundelius-McDaniels Water Quality Pond in South Austin, which acts as a natural water filter for storm runoff.

Updated for Correction

Austin is one of ten model cities for environmentally friendly infrastructure, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the EPA says the Lundelius-McDaniels Water Quality Pond – a natural water filter in South Austin that removes pollutants from storm runoff draining back into the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer.The pond directs storm runoff from a nearby subdivision into a landscaped depression, where the water has an opportunity to spread out and gradually be reabsorbed into the ground. The ground beneath the pond is specially engineered to remove as many pollutants from the water as possible.  

“We are basically forcing the water to stop right here,” City of Austin engineer Mike Kelly said during a news conference at the site this morning. “To pause, and to allow the green infrastructure to clean the water before it continues on its journey down to the sinkhole and down to Barton Springs.”

The project cost $1.3 million including design and construction. That money came from drainage utility fees for Austin – paid by residents. The land, valued at around $1 million, was acquired through a settlement agreement between developers and the City of Austin. 

The EPA is commending the Lundelius-McDaniels Water Quality Pond as the federal agency launches a new effort to promote and expand the use of green infrastructure by cities and towns to reduce pollution from storm water runoff.