• December 22, 2014

New water treatment plant ‘ahead of schedule’

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Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2014 4:30 am

Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1’s second water treatment plant — which Killeen will pour more than $30 million into — is slightly ahead of schedule, according to the district’s general manager.

Jerry Atkinson, WCID No. 1 general manager, said the district is “right on schedule; maybe a little ahead of schedule” on its timeline to have the plant on Stillhouse Hollow Lake constructed in the next three to five years.

Atkinson said the district received the right of entry from the Army Corps of Engineers to begin surveying the property, completed an environmental assessment for wetlands and endangered species, completed surveying 40 acres off Cedar Knob and Church Road to determine the layout of the plan that will best fit the property and began right of way acquisitions.

The environmental assessment found no endangered species on the property, he said.

“That’s a large hurdle that we’ve completed,” Atkinson said.

The district also has been in discussions with its engineering firm to determine the components that will identify the type of plant and the treatment process it will use, Atkinson said.

“This is only in discussion. Design work has not begun yet but will very soon,” he said. “The goal we have for the next immediate few months is to obtain the remaining right of entries from the property owners so we can go in and survey those. The next thing that we’re looking forward to receiving is the environmental report and study. The Corps seems to be moving pretty fast on approving this project.”

The Stillhouse treatment plant will add 10 million gallons of treated water per day to Killeen’s existing 32 million gallons per day at Belton Lake.

Earlier this year, the Killeen City Council approved a $5 million down payment on the structure. City Finance Director Martie Simpson said putting capital down up-front means the city will have to borrow less money from the bond market — meaning less interest will accrue.

The plant is expected to cost $56.3 million, and several local entities will help fund construction costs.

Killeen’s portion is an estimated $31.4 million, Copperas Cove is contributing $8.92 million, Harker Heights is chipping in $7.13 million, and the 439 Water Supply Corporation is contributing $5.35 million. WCID No. 1 is funding the remaining $3.56 million.

WCID No. 1 will issue the debt and Killeen will pay the district. The city’s debt owed to the district, with the Stillhouse plant added, is about $76 million.

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