Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin has put into action a plan to pipe nonpotable water from the effluent of the city’s wastewater treatment plant to the municipal Stonetree Golf Course, which currently irrigates its fairways with city tap water.
The project — to be paid for through the city’s fund balance — will decrease the city’s water costs and decrease water demand on the Belton Lake treatment facility, which is rapidly approaching capacity.
City staff predicts that in 2013 Killeen will breach the 85 percent treatment capacity threshold set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which will require the city to develop a plan to acquire more treated water.
The golf course uses as much as 15 million gallons each month to water the golf course, depending on the weather, Stonetree Golf Club Manager Brad Baine said.
Killeen residents use 130 gallons per capita per day, according to the 2012 Water and Wastewater Master Plan.
“(The project) cuts down on our need for treatment capacity, especially on peak demand days, which is what we are worried about,” Corbin said.
“It would save our taxpayers money and the project would pay for itself in a few years.”
The decision was made by consensus Thursday during a joint meeting of the Killeen City Council and the board of Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, which treats and sells water and wastewater to the city.
Killeen agreed to build the infrastructure for the project and to pay a nominal fee for the nonpotable water coming out of the wastewater plant.
Corbin said the purchasing fee is not worth fighting over because the city’s water rates are set by the water district based on the net costs of treating the city’s water and wastewater.
“The revenue you generate from that lowers our rates, so it doesn’t make any difference when you look at it from an accounting point of view,” Corbin said during the negotiation.
Corbin asked that a contract be drawn up and the project start as soon as possible.
“We can pull the trigger on this almost immediately,” Corbin said.
Baine said that the golf course currently uses a mix of collected rainwater and potable tap water, which is treated with chemicals, such as chlorine, at the water district’s Belton Lake treatment facility.
After the golf course receives the water, it has to be dechlorinated before the staff can irrigate its fairways, greens and tee boxes, Baine said.
“If you had too high (a level) of chlorine, you could really damage the grass,” Baine said.
The cost of the dechlorinating chemicals is minimal, but the nonpotable water would be easier, Baine said.
“The water (from the wastewater plant) is perfect for the kinds of uses we could potentially participate in,” Baine said. “It is not dangerous to the public in any way.”