Last Friday, the city of Waco, Texas, filed objections to the permit renewal applications for three dairies along the NorthBosqueRiver.

Two renewal permits are for dairies remaining at status quo, while the third permit seeks to expand from 999 cows to 2,500 cows.

This is the opening salvo in a new round of skirmishes between the city and dairies in the watershed. The city claims the action is to protect the water of LakeWaco and officials hope it will set another new precedent dealing with dairies. Waco officials claim the permits will further pollute the river and LakeWaco.

These are the first permit renewals under “new” rules adopted in 2001. The law says that dairies with more than 200 cows in the North Bosque watershed must get individual permits, rather than the general permits previously required. The individual permits may be challenged in contested case hearings; the general permits only required administrative approval.

If the case ends up before an administrative judge, it will be the equivalent of a civil trial.

The City’s filed document asserts several errors in the applications and takes the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to task for not analyzing it carefully enough. For instance, Waco officials contend the permits do not include adequate manure disposal plans and that the state’s Total Maximum Daily Load plan has been disregarded,

The Texas Association of Dairymen, which represents North Bosque dairy owners,  declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the executive director of the TCEQ has approved the draft applications of the three dairies.