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Greater Trinity Region: Implementing a Plan to Protect Recreational Uses

The goal of this project is reduce bacteria levels and protect recreational safety in waterways of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The stakeholders and the TCEQ developed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and an implementation plan, which together are the road map to improving water quality. The TCEQ has adopted the TMDLs and approved the Implementation Plan.
fishing at Lower West Oakland LakeTrinity River Segment 0841 at Collins Streetheron on the Trinity River

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Watershed Counties: Dallas, Tarrant
Parameter: Bacteria
River Basin: Trinity
Segments:  0805, 0806E, 0822A, 0822B, 0841, 0841B, 0841C, 0841E, 0841F, 0841G, 0841H, 0841J, 0841K, 0841L, 0841M, 0841N, 0841R, 0841T, 0841U, 0841V

Greater Trinity Project Navigation



Bacteria concentrations are occasionally elevated in portions of the Trinity River that flow through Dallas and Tarrant counties. High bacteria concentrations might pose a risk to people who swim or wade in natural waters. Swimming and wading are called “contact recreation” in the state’s standards for water quality; the term refers to all recreation in which people are likely to swallow natural waters.

Watershed Description

The watersheds for the Greater Trinity River I-Plan encompass an area of 406 square miles. The human population is 1.33 million as of 2013, with a population density of approximately 3,232 people per square mile. The Implementation Plan implements TMDLs for:

  • Upper Trinity River (Segment 0805, upper end)
  • Elm Fork Trinity River tributaries of Grapevine Creek and Cottonwood Branch (Segments 0822A and 0822B)
  • Lower West Fork Trinity River (Segment 0841) and 11 of its tributaries
  • Tributaries of Mountain Creek Lake (Segments 0841F, 0841K, 0841N, and 0841V), added in 2015


The goal of this project is to reduce bacteria concentrations and protect recreational safety by implementing total maximum daily loads. A TMDL is like a budget for pollutants—it estimates the amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive from categories of sources and still support its designated uses.

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Get Involved

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) Exit the TCEQ is working with stakeholders to implement bacteria TMDLs throughout their region.

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Arlington Conservation Council
City of Arlington
City of Bedford
City of Cockrell Hill
City of Coppell
City of Dallas
City of Euless
City of Fort Worth
City of Grand Prairie
City of Grapevine
City of Irving
City of Keller
City of Kennedale
City of North Richland Hills
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Dallas County Utility & Reclamation District
Dallas Downriver Club
Dallas Regional Chamber
Dalworth Soil and Water Conservation District
DFW International Airport
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club
North Texas Tollway Authority
Park Cities Municipal Utility District (MUD)
Southwest Paddler
Tarrant County
Tarrant Regional Water District
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
Trinity River Authority (TRA)
Trinity River Environmental Education Society (TREES)

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Status and Activities

Cities in the watershed continue to address bacteria levels in the impaired waterways covered by the Implementation Plan. Highlights from 2016 include:

  • Hosted two workshops aimed at educating municipal and community representatives on challenges related to bacteria impairment in the Greater Trinity Region. Both the Sanitary Sewer Overflow workshop and the Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development workshop had over 60 attendees.
  • Developed a spatial database and map of sanitary sewer overflow density by zip code in the TMDL area since 2011.
  • Supported the Doo the Right Thing campaign, with over 150 individuals taking a pet waste pledge to help reduce bacteria-laden runoff reaching local waterways.
  • Completed administrative and technical edits to the Implementation Plan (I-Plan) that were reviewed and approved by the subcommittees and Coordination Committee.
  • Continued partnership with AgriLife Stephenville, engaging regional stakeholders to implement strategies to reduce bacteria in impaired segments of the Upper Trinity River Basin.
  • Engaged subcommittees to define priority levels and status updates for each strategy and corresponding sub-strategy in the 2016 I-Plan Strategies Matrix. This tool will be used by the subcommittees to determine progress for the I-Plan strategies in 2017.

More details about the stakeholders' activities are available on the NCTCOG website Exit the TCEQ.


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Contact Us

Please e-mail us at tmdl@tceq.texas.gov, and mention the Greater Trinity River plan in the subject line. Or call us at 512-239-6682.

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communities working together taking care of our rivers, lakes, and bays