Lake Sam Rayburn

The Sam Rayburn Reservoir impounds the Angelina River from Jasper County to the aqueduct crossing upstream of the confluence of Paper Mill Creek on the Angelina River in Angelina/Nacogdoches County up to the normal pool elevation of 164 feet. The reservoir extends for approximately 79 miles with a surface area of 114,500 acres, making it the largest reservoir completely within the State of Texas. In addition to downstream flows from the Angelina River, the watershed drains approximately 1,385 square miles and encompasses five counties and all or part of nine municipalities including the northeastern section of Lufkin.

The Sam Rayburn Dam and Reservoir was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ft. Worth District in cooperation with the Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA) of Beaumont. It was designed to control floods, generate hydroelectric power and conserve water for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and recreational uses. Construction began in 1956 and deliberate impoundment of water began in March 1965. The estimated cost, including development for public use, is $66 million. With a flood control storage of 1,145,000 acre-feet, it is estimated that annual benefits of $4,958,000 result from the operation of Sam Rayburn Reservoir due to the control of floods, conservation of water for various purposes, generation of power, and the preservation of fish and wildlife.

At the Angelina & Neches River Authority (ANRA), the primary association with the Sam Rayburn Reservoir has been the On-site Sewage Facilities (OSSF) Control Zone Program initiated in September 1972 by the Neches River Conservation District (NRCD). Once ANRA was formed in 1977, the program continued and ANRA established a water quality presence at Sam Rayburn to protect the reservoir from wastewater discharges due to the absence of or defective on-site wastewater systems. The effort through the years to establish this program has been successful. The current license total in the ANRA on-site system database is approximately 4,200. These licensed systems are on file and known to exist by ANRA. Through the years, many of the systems changed ownership, were replaced by new systems, or were modified. It is estimated that 4,200 on-site systems in approximately 141 subdivisions are located in the five county regulated zone (an area within the Sam Rayburn Reservoir watershed lying between the take line or 171-foot contour and a line parallel to it 2,000 feet from the take line).

The current ANRA Order for the Sam Rayburn Reservoir control zone was approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and issued to ANRA on April 3, 2000. This Order authorizes ANRA to regulate on-site sewage facilities (OSSF) pursuant to Chapter 366 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Title 30: Environmental Quality, Chapter 285.