The Boring Company, a tunnel-building company founded by Elon Musk, plans to dump 142,500 gallons of wastewater per day into the Colorado River in Texas, Insider reports. Local residents are alarmed at the plan and have pushed back.
What’s going on?
The Boring Company used an affiliate name, Gapped Bass LLC, to apply for a permit to dump the wastewater, Insider says. This is reportedly a short-term solution until the nearby Bastrop, Texas, water treatment plant is completed in 2025.
For its part, The Boring Company claims it would treat the water itself before disposing of it in the river. However, according to Insider, the company is already under investigation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regarding improper wastewater treatment after the commission received three complaints last year.
Why does wastewater in the river matter?
The Colorado River is the main water source for nearby communities, including farms and ranches that produce food for people to eat, Insider reports.
According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas is one of the nation’s leading exporters of meat, livestock, and wheat. Contamination from The Boring Company’s wastewater could have a widespread impact on food from the region. Depending on the exact type of pollution in the river, food could be contaminated or crop yields might be lower than usual, driving up prices.
“The thought of this happening is horrifying,” Erin, a local farmer, told Fox News. “This stuff — and we don’t even know what it is — going into the river that we depend on for food production.”
Other residents, like Chap Ambrose, are worried about the impact on plants and animals as well as people.
“I have environmental concerns on what I see,” Ambrose told Insider.
What’s being done about the proposal?
In March, some 400 local residents gathered to express their concerns in a meeting with officials from the company and TCEQ.
According to KVUE, Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroder is hopeful that the company can hold off just two more years until the local water treatment plant is complete. This would take the wastewater treatment process out of The Boring Company’s hands and ensure it’s done correctly by a provider with government oversight.
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