Austin’s Air Quality is Good for a City it’s Size

Austin’s air quality is generally good, but it can be affected by pollution from vehicles, industry, and other sources. The city meets all federal air quality standards, but there are some areas where ozone levels can exceed the standard during the summer months. Austin city planners are working to improve air quality through a variety of programs, including:

  • Reducing emissions from vehicles and industry
  • Planting trees
  • Promoting public transportation
  • Developing renewable energy sources

Water Quality in Austin Depends on the Source

Austin’s water quality is also good. Austin city water is treated at three water treatment plants before it is distributed to customers. The city’s water meets all federal and state drinking water standards.

The city’s water treatment plants use a variety of treatment processes to remove contaminants from the water, including:

  • Coagulation and flocculation: These processes remove suspended solids and other particles from the water.
  • Sedimentation: This process allows the solids to settle to the bottom of the tank, where they can be removed.
  • Filtration: This process removes any remaining solids from the water.
  • Disinfection: This process kills harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in the water.

Expected Changes with Growth Air Quality Could Decrease Water Quality Too!

As Austin continues to grow, it is expected that there will be some impact on air and water quality. However, the city is taking steps to mitigate these impacts. For example, the city is investing in public transportation and other programs to reduce vehicle emissions. The city is also working to protect its water resources by expanding its water treatment capacity and developing new water sources.

One of the biggest challenges for Austin’s water quality is the potential for contamination from runoff from urban areas. As the city grows, there will be more impervious surfaces, such as roads and parking lots, which can prevent rainwater from infiltrating into the ground. This can lead to increased runoff, which can carry pollutants into the city’s water bodies.

Another challenge for Austin’s water quality is the potential for drought. The city is located in a semi-arid region, and it is prone to droughts. During droughts, the water level in the city’s lakes and reservoirs can decline, which can concentrate pollutants in the water.

Water Sources

Austin’s primary water sources are Lake Travis and the Colorado River. However, the city also has a number of well water sources. The city’s water treatment plants treat water from all of these sources to ensure that it meets all drinking water standards.

The city is also working to develop new water sources, such as desalination and wastewater recycling. Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater to make it drinkable. Wastewater recycling is the process of treating wastewater so that it can be reused for irrigation or other non-potable purposes.

Water Treatment Plants

Austin has three water treatment plants:

  • Ullrich Water Treatment Plant
  • Davis Water Treatment Plant
  • South Austin Water Treatment Plant

These plants treat water from Lake Travis and the Colorado River. The treated water is then distributed to customers through a network of pipes.

The Ullrich Water Treatment Plant is the largest of the three plants, and it has a capacity of 300 million gallons per day. The Davis Water Treatment Plant has a capacity of 150 million gallons per day, and the South Austin Water Treatment Plant has a capacity of 50 million gallons per day.

Septic Tanks and Sewer System

Austin has a sewer system that serves the majority of the city. However, there are some areas of the city that are served by septic tanks. The city is working to connect these areas to the sewer system over time.

Septic tanks are underground tanks that collect and treat wastewater from homes and businesses. Septic tanks can be a source of pollution if they are not properly maintained. The city provides a variety of resources to help homeowners and businesses maintain their septic tanks properly.


Austin’s air and water quality are generally good. However, it is important to monitor and manage these resources as the city continues to grow. The city is taking steps to mitigate the impact of growth on air and water quality.