WASHINGTON, D.C. - The bill, passed by Congress Monday, was sponsored by U.S. Representative Ralph Hall of Texas.
Under the bill, the North Texas Municipal Water District can pump water from Lake Texoma straight into the Wylie Water Treatment Plant for cleaning.
In the late 1980s, a pump station was built on the lake to better serve its customers, but a 2000 variation of the Texas-Oklahoma border caused the station to straddle the two states. When zebra mussels appeared in Lake Texoma in 2009, use of the water pump station was effectively banned due to the Lacey Act - a bill that prohibits the transfer of zebra mussels across state lines. Monday’s passage means the Lacey Act will not be in violation.
On the House Floor, Rep. Hall stated, "North Texas has a serious problem with an invasive aquatic species called the zebra mussel. Zebra mussels will attach to just about anything – they infest and cover rocks, attach to boats and docks, and clog water pipelines. North Texas has a unique situation due to a Texas/Oklahoma boundary change that requires a Congressional solution. You know you hear people say, 'It would take an act of Congress' to get something accomplished - well, this is what we’re doing today."
State officials have been concerned over the spread of zebra mussels to other lakes across the region, prompting new regulations for boaters this summer. We spoke to an official about the new guidelines in June.
Hall added that H.R. 6007 will enable the Texoma Water Pump to reopen, provide much-needed jobs, and provide enough clean water to the community during a season of severe drought - when water is desperately needed.
"This is a common-sense solution, a necessary solution, and one that helps restore North Texas’s water supply."
The North Texas Municipal Water District generally receives 28 percent of its water supply from Lake Texoma.
Lake Texoma is less than 100 miles from various local attractions like Jim Chapman Lake (Cooper Lake), Lake Tawakoni and Lake Ray Hubbard.