The Killeen City Council will decide today whether to allow 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.
The water district presented the council with plans for the facility at its Oct. 15 workshop meeting. The city has two options on the table — increase its water capacity by 10 million or 12 million gallons per day.
Jerry Atkinson, WCID-1 general manager, said water issues have been in discussion for more than five years.
He said when those 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 would drive the cost down.
The city uses an average of 16 million gallons per day of its 32 million-gallon capacity out of Belton Lake.
Mayor Dan Corbin recommended the council elect to go with the 10-million-gallon capacity rather than the 12 million gallons per day, giving the city 44 million gallons of water per day.
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. This requires that the city develop a plan to obtain additional water.
Atkinson said that assuming Killeen goes with the 10 million gallons per day option, the cost of the facility would be about $29.6 million. If the council gives Morrison the go-ahead, Allen Wilke, the district’s engineer, said it could take anywhere from three to five years to complete the project. Environmental and archaeological studies have to be done before the project can be executed to prove there won’t be harm done to the area, which is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Wilke said he believes that since Kempner has a treatment plant, raw water intake and pipeline on the corps property already that the district can use some of their studies to move the process along more quickly.
The council is slated to meet at 5 p.m. in the council chambers, 101 N. College St.