The Killeen city government is funding a portion of the Nolan Creek Watershed study in cooperation with the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to remove elevated bacteria levels from a waterway segment.
Kristina Ramirez, Killeen’s director of environmental services, said the city is providing funding for two portions of the project.
For a portion of the study, the city is under contract for $53,300 with the institute and the subcontractor on the project. Ramirez said $21,320 of that is for in-kind services, which the city will absorb. The city will be reimbursed the remaining $31,980.
The city also agreed to an additional storm sewer system permit with TCEQ to provide additional resources to develop educational messages about the watershed.
Ramirez said no amount was set with TCEQ, but it’s “basically whatever it will take to get those aspects accomplished.”
Nikki Jackson, the institute’s project director, said 29 miles of Nolan Creek were originally listed in 1996 as having elevated bacteria levels in certain creek segments, including Killeen.
Jackson said two segments within the 29-mile stretch — a portion of South Nolan Creek from the confluence with North Nolan Creek and Nolan Creek upstream to Liberty Ditch — were assessed in 2010 and found to be impaired, mostly in the Killeen area.
In 2006, Killeen initiated a water quality monitoring program in the South Nolan Creek watershed in an effort to develop management practices, but that study only covered 6.9 miles of the 29-mile segment, Jackson said.
“They initiated that project in 2006 and it terminated in 2008,” she said. “We were a subcontractor on that project, and we wanted to look at all of the watershed and not just the impaired segment.”
Ramirez said Killeen was interested in funding a portion of the project based on the 2006 study with TCEQ. The city, along with TCEQ, joined the institute in an effort to expand the project.
“Killeen is contributing funding because they took a proactive approach when they found out about this,” Jackson said. “They felt they could play a supporting role in this effort to fix the problem, but they felt it would be best if we took the lead to coordinate the cooperation of all the other cities (along Nolan Creek).”
Anju Chalise, TCEQ project manager, said the project is funded with a grant. The total budget for the project is $459,418 with the grant providing 60 percent of the funding, or $275,651. The grant requires a 40 percent match, which is being provided by the institute and Killeen.
Jackson said the project is funded through August 2015. At that point, the goal is to have established a stakeholders group to decide the best steps for moving forward.