The Brazos River Authority has a dedicated team focused on environmental needs throughout the Brazos River basin.
This department, with 15 staff members holding degrees ranging from Doctor of Environmental Science to master’s in Biology, Chemistry, Limnology, Business and Public Administration to bachelor’s in Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Environmental Science, and Rangeland Management, from 18 universities throughout Texas, the United States and the world, conduct water quality and biological monitoring and analysis at more than 100 different locations. The data and analysis collected at these sites provide scientific information on environmental conditions, which, among other things, help evaluate the health of the more than 42,000-square-mile Brazos River basin.
The environmental services team coordinates with federal, state, and local agencies as well as universities to eliminate any duplication of effort, allowing each organization to maximize efforts across the state. This practice also ensures maximum sampling coverage of the basin.
The environmental services staff uses this information to identify changes in water quality conditions as well as gauge the success of watershed improvement projects.
Much of the initial work is done out in the field. However, once the BRA team returns to the Central Office in Waco, they have a surface water quality laboratory accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This, essentially, means the lab successfully follows national standards for laboratory operations.
Quality assurance is vital for these studies. BRA staff holds a high standard for policies, procedures and documentation to ensure all data produced by environmental services meets the same level of quality and meets the analytical requirements of different regulatory programs.
Environmental services regulatory compliance staff works with both the BRA’s surface water and water and wastewater treatment staff to ensure accurate and timely completion of all TCEQ required monitoring and reporting to the TCEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency.
And like any other department within the BRA, this specialized team in environmental services assists BRA properties and project managers with compliance with environmental regulations and completing environmental permitting documents.