The Killeen City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved allowing City Manager Glenn Morrison to enter into negotiations with Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 regarding plans to design and construct a water treatment plant on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
Scott Osburn, deputy city attorney, said the city has been in the process of seeking additional potable water for “the past several years.”
Earlier this year, city staff predicted that before the end of the year, Killeen would breach the 85 percent treatment capacity threshold set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which requires they develop a plan to obtain additional water.
The new plant, which will take anywhere from three to five years to complete, will give the city an additional 10 million gallons of water per day. Killeen currently uses an average of 16 million gallons per day of its 32-million-gallon capacity out of Belton Lake.
The Stillhouse Hollow treatment plant would increase the city’s capacity to 42 million gallons of water per day.
Mayor Dan Corbin said earlier this year the council established a committee to investigate various alternatives from three providers — WCID-1, Kempner Water Supply Corp. and Central Texas Water Supply Corp.
“We met with each one of those entities and received their proposals,” he said. “The two entities not chosen would have required the city to issue bonds, and the rates that they were charging were in the ballpark or more than the rate we would be paying with WCID-1.”
Corbin said the committee also had concerns regarding breaking a contract with WCID-1 that dates back to the 1950s stating the city is to purchase all its water from the district.
The cost of the Stillhouse treatment plant is estimated to be $29.6 million and will allow for expansion to address the city’s future needs.
Jerry Atkinson, WCID-1 general manager, said when discussions began, the cost of a Stillhouse Hollow plant was “pretty significant” but building a facility that would take a regional approach and serve Killeen and neighboring cities drove the cost to construct the plant down.
Osburn said the council’s nod for the city manager to enter into negotiations will move the project forward, but ultimately the contract will have to go back before the council for final approval.