- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2023

Texans are outraged this week after learning of Elon Musk’s Boring Co.’s plans to dump thousands of gallons of treated wastewater into their town’s water supply. 

Last year, an affiliate of Boring Co., Gapped Bass LLC, applied for a permit to dump 142,500 gallons of treated wastewater per day into the Colorado River. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality subsequently began an investigation into the company after it received complaints.

On Tuesday, residents of Bastrop, Texas, gathered at a public meeting to hear comments from Boring Co. and the TCEQ regarding the dumping. 

“This is just a short-term solution, and ultimately we hope to not even utilize the full capacity of what’s being authorized,” Gapped Bass representative Rajit Patel said at the meeting. 

Residents are not comfortable with the company dumping their wastewater into the river, even if it is treated. Bastrop citizen Chap Ambrose organized a campaign called “Keep Bastrop Boring” to stop the company’s actions. According to a Twitter post from Mr. Ambrose, around 400 people showed up to the meeting Tuesday and many were turned away due to capacity restrictions. 

“I don’t know if ya’ll heard it as clearly as I did, but the reason they want to discharge treated wastewater into the river is because they can’t wait 24 months for that pipe to be run and the permanent infrastructure setup,” Mr. Ambrose said at the meeting.

Normally, wastewater from Boring Co.‘ affiliated businesses, like SpaceX, would be treated at a city treatment plant. However, according to Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroder, the $32.6 million facility is still under construction. 

Mr. Patel explained Boring Co.‘s water treatment process at the meeting and said the firm plans to use the city’s treatment center eventually. 

Despite his attempts to calm fears, the concern for speed over safety has sparked citizen anxiety. 

“I’m very invested here, my family lives here and I have environmental concerns on what I see,” Mr. Ambrose said Tuesday. 

Boring Co. and Mr. Musk have been criticized for their preference for speed over quality before. Most recently, former Tesla engineers have implied that the CEO directed corner-cutting strategies to get self-driving cars on the road faster. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, TCEQ will decide in the next few months if Boring will be able to dump its treated wastewater. 

• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at vcockayne@washingtontimes.com.

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