NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (KXAN) - It's a popular way to get some relief from the heat in Central Texas, but the rules on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers may be changing.
New Braunfels city leaders have taken the first step to ban disposable containers on the Comal River and Guadalupe River.
On one hot summer day Rhoda Byorth and her sister brought the kids to float the Comal River.
"My sister and I grew up here coming to the chute and we wanted to show these guys," said Byorth.
But the river isn't exactly as they remember.
"We just pulled out a couple cans and it doesn't feel so clean," said Byorth.
"Beer and cigarettes, it smelled awful and it just made me feel terrible," said Byorth's nephew, James Kosco.
That's why New Braunfels City Council members voted Monday night on a first reading to prohibit disposable containers, like plastic bottles, kids' juice boxes and beer cans. Permanent containers, like washable Thermoses, would still be allowed.
"People want to come here because the rivers are beautiful, but with all the trash and everything they're not beautiful anymore," said New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil.
Styrofoam and glass are already prohibited. State law does not allow cities to regulate alcohol, but they can limit types of containers and sizes.
Pospisil said the city spends $155,000 a year removing trash from the rivers.
"People that want to drink will find a way to drink ,but if they bring something that they're not going to throw in the river when they're through with it, that's what we're trying to accomplish," said Pospisil.
City leaders said the behavior on the Comal has been worse this year than in years past. Police have issued more citations and they've had to close the river twice because of overcrowding. Although this ban is meant to prevent littering on the river it could address some of those other issues as well.
"If there's unintended side consequences with that that's OK with me, but I think the main thing is just getting that litter off the river," said Pospisil.
But tubing outfitters and some visitors are against the ban.
"Who wants to buy a 12-pack of beer and then buy a container and then pour all the beer in that and drink it? That's quite ridiculous," said tuber Steven Woods.
If the ban passes, he and others said many won't go to the rivers and that would impact the local economy.
"They're going to lose a lot of tax revenue," said visitor Evan Peery.
The city will take a final vote on banning disposables Aug. 22. Also Monday night, Council members voted against an ordinance that would limit people to just one tube per person for floats on the river.
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