COPPERAS COVE — The City Council on Tuesday agreed to draft a contract with Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 to manage the city’s wastewater testing and bio-solids.

A contract between the two entities should be completed and in front of the council for a decision by May 21, City Manager Andrea Gardner said.

Gardner presented the council with several figures and budget items that showed an estimated operational cost savings of $223,000 to the city by contracting the two services.

Another $1.19 million in savings is projected by not purchasing new city equipment and building and maintaining facilities, according to future improvement plans.

“There is a considerable savings that would be realized by the city,” Gardner said.

WCID No. 1 General Manager Jerry Atkinson said most of the savings would come from not paying city staff. However, Gardner said no one would lose their jobs, as members of the affected city department have already retired or been promoted.

“We already have the personnel to run the test,” said Atkinson, who noted there was a biologist and a chemist on his staff. “This is what we do. It is our job to be a regional water and wastewater facility.”

The district already handles Copperas Cove’s water treatment, along with Harker Heights, Killeen and Fort Hood. It also operates Killeen and Fort Hood’s wastewater operations.

Mayor Pro Tem Frank Seffrood questioned if the city would be providing some of the equipment and facilities to operate the management of bio-solids — which includes making composting material.

Gardner said most of the operation details will be determined in the contract.

WCID No. 1 would probably use the equipment that is best for the job in each occasion, Aktinson said. It already has several vehicles and facilities that are better suited to managing those materials than does Copperas Cove.

The district also may make better use of the materials and still provide residents with the chance to purchase compost, which will also be detailed in the contract, Atkinson said.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474

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