BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Neighbors and city officials in Bastrop County are concerned about the Boring Company’s request to dump more than 100,000 gallons of treated wastewater into their drinking-water supply, and this month they will get a chance to hear from Elon Musk’s company and the state commission responsible for granting the permit to dump.

After a public outcry against the permit, and a request from state Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, D-Austin, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing to answer questions on March 21. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Bastrop.

“They could be doing a lot better, and we’re learning on how to deal with that, and what we can do to make sure that this is a positive thing for the county,” Chap Ambrose, who lives right next door to the Boring Co.’s facility, explained.

What does the permit allow?

In July, Gapped Bass LLC, an entity affiliated with the Boring Co., submitted a permit application with the TCEQ to dump 142,500 gallons of treated wastewater directly into the Colorado River below Lady Bird Lake. The water treatment facility on the company’s property would serve a “tunnel boring equipment manufacturing and testing facility with on-site residences,” according to a notice from TCEQ.

The company is also requesting the ability to discharge the wastewater onto its own 63 acres of land that cannot be accessed by the public.

The area of the lake where this treated wastewater would go directly into is known as Segment No. 1428. The TCEQ says the area is designated for “primary contact recreation, public water supply, and exceptional aquatic life use.”

By law, an antidegradation review was performed on the area of the lake that would receive the water. The review found the existing water quality uses would not be impaired by the dumping. The executive director of TCEQ “has made a preliminary decision that this permit, if issued, meets all statutory and regulatory requirements,” according to a TCEQ notice.

Even with the assurances from the TCEQ, Ambrose is still concerned about the dumping in his community. He has more questions for both the company and the commission during the public meeting.

“I’m not sure we’re really understanding the risk that we’re putting this river at,” Ambrose explained.

Distrust from the community

If you take a step onto Ambrose’s back deck, you’ll see the expansion of Musk’s companies, Boring Co. And SpaceX.

“Everyday I wake up and do my dishes this is the view I’m looking at,” Ambrose said has he looked out over the sounds of construction in the distance.

Being so close, Ambrose has taken an interest into Boring Co. and its construction. Ambrose said he regularly monitors the constant building a few hours a day. His biggest concern with the permit is a fear that Boring Co. will not comply with the regulations under the permit.

“The confidence that I have that they’re going to follow the terms of this permit is pretty much zero,” Ambrose said.

He points to the fact that the company has received two notices of violation from Bastrop county for not having the proper permits to handle wastewater. One notice, written last March to the company, reads, “you have installed holding tanks and connecting one or more structures (mobile home, recreational vehicle, and or other occupied structure) to a non-permitted or approved septic system.”

Ambrose is not alone in his concerns. A database on the TCEQ website shows the permit application has received more than 100 comments from the community. Most of the comments are against the permit and ask the commission not to approve it.

The city of Bastrop is also on the list of those against the permit. In a letter written by assistant city manager Trey Job, it says the city will be affected by the dumping into the river.

One of the concerns listed in the letter is the “potential impact to the city’s future discharge permit requirements due to upstream degradation.” The city would rather have the company connect into the local wastewater treatment infrastructure. The city says it intends to request a contested case hearing on the permit application.

“If the state decides this is the best course of action we need transparency, at the very minimum,” Ambrose said.

KXAN reached out to the lead civil engineer for the Boring Co. on this permit, and did not get a response.

What happens at the meeting?

A public meeting notice from the TCEQ says the public is encouraged to comment or ask questions to the commission and the company about the permit.

The executive director of the commission will respond to all formal comments in a letter that will be sent to each person who submitted a formal comment at the meeting.