The Sabine-Neches Conservation District was created by the Texas Legislature in 1935. In 1949, the legislature divided the Sabine-Neches Conservation District into the Sabine River Authority and the Neches River Conservation District (NRCD). In 1977, the NRCD’s name was changed by an act of the legislature to the Angelina & Neches River Authority (Authority) and its territorial jurisdiction was defined as lying wholly or in part of 17 East Texas counties. The major functions of the Authority are water supply, water quality management, water quality protection, water resource development, and conservation of water resources.
Today, the Authority administers several water quality related environmental programs including the Texas Clean Rivers Program, Upper Neches Basin Surface Water Quality Monitoring Programs, Permit Compliance Monitoring Program, Industrial Pretreatment Program and the Water/Wastewater Sample Collection Program.
In 1972, the Authority was assigned responsibility, by the then Texas Water Quality Board, for private wastewater facility regulation around Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Today, the Authority continues to manage this regulatory program, now known as the On-Site Sewage Facilities program (OSSF). Since its inception, the program has expanded the regulated area to include all of Angelina County and the portion of Sabine County that lies in the Neches River Basin.
In the early 1970’s, the Authority began to provide water and wastewater utility operational assistance to cities, industries, school districts, and other government agencies in the region. Services provided include sample collection, field and laboratory analysis, preparation of reports and contract operation of water and wastewater treatment plants. The Authority continues to provide several of these services and today owns and operates water and wastewater utilities in Angelina and Jasper counties.
The Authority’s Environmental Laboratory has served the region since 1972 by providing laboratory analysis services. The laboratory is NELAC certified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and provides environmental testing services to over 130 clients throughout the East Texas region including the petroleum service industry, wood products industry, private citizens, cities, government agencies, and water supply corporations among others. Types of analyses include drinking water, wastewater and water treatment plant influent and effluent, process control samples and water quality samples.
In 1974, planning for Lake Columbia Water Supply Reservoir began. Formerly known as the Mud Creek Reservoir or Lake Eastex, the project obtained its state water right permit in 1985. The project was given renewed attention in the late 1990s in an attempt to obtain a Department of the Army, Section 404 for construction of the reservoir.
In response to the Development Corporation Act of 1979, the Authority created the non-profit corporation called the Angelina & Neches River Authority Industrial Development Corporation. The purpose of this corporation is to provide tax exempt conduit financing through the issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds for wastewater, solid waste and other related pollution control facilities. These bonds typically bear interest rates lower than taxable corporate debt, thus reducing the cost of pollution control and regulatory compliance. To date, the Authority has issued over $350,000,000 in conduit bonds for projects undertaken by East Texas industries.
In 1992, the Authority began planning initiatives to construct a wastewater treatment plant byproducts recycling facility to be located in the Upper Neches Basin. The Neches Compost Facility was brought on-line in August 2000 and is currently providing services to five municipalities and one industry in the basin. The facility was upgraded and expanded in 2004 and 2006. It currently generates approximately 7,500 cubic yards of compost per year, which is sold to the public.
In 2002, the Authority began operating the North Angelina County Regional Wastewater Facility. The project consolidated three permitted wastewater treatment facilities into one upgraded regional facility. The plant is owned and operated by Authority. The completion of the project successfully concluded two years of negotiations and planning.
Sabine-Neches Conservation District Created
The SNCD was divided into the Sabine River Authority (SRA) of Texas and the Neches River Conservation District (NRCD).
The last known board meeting of the NRCD was held on July 8, 1966.
The NRCD remained mostly inactive until 1971, when Governor Preston Smith appointed nine members to the Board of Directors. The NRCD was re-activated through joint efforts of the City of Lufkin officials and the Lufkin Paper Mill.
In the early 1970s, the NRCD began to provide water and wastewater utility operational assistance to cities, industries, school districts, and other government agencies in the region. Services provided include sample collection, field and laboratory analysis, preparation of reports and contract operation of water and wastewater treatment plants.
NRCD opened a central office in Lufkin and hired its first executive director.
NRCD began the implementation of its Control Zone Rayburn Program for regulating and licensing on-site septic systems within a 2000-ft zone around Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
An agreement was reached between the NRCD, Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA), and the Texas Water Quality Board, which stated that the NRCD would have planning responsibilities for the Middle and Upper Neches River Basin.
NRCD began offering laboratory testing services for the analysis of drinking water and wastewater samples for regulated entities and the general public.
NRCD was officially renamed the Angelina and Neches River Authority.
The Authority began preliminary planning for the Mud Creek Reservoir (to become known as Lake Columbia) project.
Through joint agreements with member cities, the Authority began implementation of the Industrial Pretreatment Program to monitor the discharge of pollutants to municipal wastewater treatment plants by industrial dischargers.
The Authority began implementation of the Lufkin Stream Monitoring Program.
The Authority received its Water Rights Permit from the Texas Water Commission for Lake Eastex as a new water supply to meet municipal needs.
The Authority was designated as a Clean Rivers Program Partner under the newly created Clean Rivers Act, responsible for the monitoring of water quality in the Upper Neches Basin.
The Authority solicited participants in a planning study to develop a regional compost facility.
The Authority began the implementation of a Poultry Litter Study - a two-year monitoring program designed to monitor non-point source pollution from the land application of poultry litter in the Attoyac watershed in Nacogdoches County.
The Authority expanded its central office. The expansion was driven by the increasing role provided by the Authority and its need for additional space to house a growing number of departments and programs.
At the request of the City of Lufkin, the Authority entered into an Interlocal Agreement with the Angelina County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 (ACF) for the management and operation of the District.
The Authority and the City of Lufkin entered into a Wholesale Supply Agreement for the provision of water and wastewater for the District.
The Authority assumed operations and management of the system on June 1, 1996.
The Authority completed the purchase of Holmwood Utilities, located west of the City of Jasper.
The Authority began construction of the Neches Compost Facility.
The Authority staff was appointed to the Region I Regional Water Planning Group. This involvement directly leads to Lake Eastex being designated as a Unique Reservoir Site.
The Authority filed an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to construct a dam and impoundment on Mud Creek.
The Authority initiated a planning study to address wastewater concerns along U.S. Hwy. 69, north of the City of Lufkin.
The Authority successfully negotiated wholesale wastewater contracts for the creation of the North Angelina County Regional Wastewater Facility.
The Texas Legislature, under the authority of SB 1362, renamed Lake Eastex as Lake Columbia in memory of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
The Authority completed construction of its North Angelina County Regional Wastewater Facility.
The Authority’s Environmental Laboratory applied for and received accreditation under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP).
The Authority was awarded a source water assessment grant to obtain more detailed water quality information for the Lake Columbia watershed.
The Authority’s Control Zone Rayburn On-Site Sewage Facility Program was expanded to include the portion of San Augustine County that lies within the Neches Basin.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Lake Columbia was published in the Federal Register.
The Authority participated in a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant to address bacterial impairments in the Attoyac Bayou watershed, resulting in the development of the Attoyac Bayou Watershed Protection Plan (WPP).
The Authority began looking for property to purchase to house a new Central Office and Environmental Laboratory facility.
The Authority was awarded a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant from the TCEQ to replace failing septic systems in the Attoyac Bayou watershed.
The Laboratory used grant funds to purchase an Ion Chromatograph, greatly improving laboratory analytical capabilities.
The Authority modified its agreement with the Angelina County FWSD No. 1, placing a requirement on the Authority to expand the collection system of its North Angelina County Regional Wastewater Facility by installing new sewer lines to provide first time sewer to the ACF’s customers.
The Authority once again expanded its On-Site Sewage Facility program by becoming the Authorized Agent for the permitting of OSSFs in Angelina County.
The Authority purchased property for future development of a new Central Office.
The Authority closed on construction funding for the NACRWF/ACFWSD No. 1 regional wastewater expansion project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) withdrew the Authority’s Section 404 Permit Application for Lake Columbia. The Authority entered into an agreement with a consultant for assistance with efforts to reinstate the permit.
On August 29, 2016, the USACE formally reinstated the Authority’s Section 404 Permit Application for Lake Columbia.
The Authority began solicitation of a Site Development Plan for the N. John Redditt Dr. property.
The Authority and ACFWSD No. 1 officially kicked off the North Angelina County Regional Wastewater Facility expansion project to tie the Cedar Grove and Redland Estates communities to the NACRWF treatment plant.
The Authority’s Board of Directors approved a resolution supporting the dissolution of Angelina County WCID #3 and its consolidation into the territory of Angelina County FWSD No. 1.
The Authority relocated to its new Central Office and Environmental Laboratory Facility. This move allowed for many improvements to the Laboratory.
The Laboratory purchased a new deionized water system and upgrades to the segmented flow analyzer.
Despite challenges with COVID-19 restrictions, the Authority created and developed a comprehensive outreach and education program, including an Alligator Snapping Turtle Awareness Campaign, as well as an Endangered Species Plan.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) withdrew the Authority’s Section 404 Permit Application for Lake Columbia, however, the Texas Water Development Board listed the Lake Columbia project as a priority to be completed no later than 2039.
The Authority began the process to acquire Prairie Grove WSC, after a unanimous vote, with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC).
A new deck screen was purchased for use at the Authority’s Neches Compost Facility, doubling compost output capacity.
The Authority began planning for the acquisition of the Central Heights water system.