By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

A list of drainage projects for the city of Killeen needs prioritization.

The Killeen Water/Sewer/Drainage Committee heard a presentation from City Engineer John Nett on Tuesday about the list of projects and the process to add to the list.

"A lot of this can be done in-house as far as stabilizing channels," Nett said.

He said the first step to identifying a drainage problem is often via a call from a resident. Residents often complain of standing water near their homes after rain, Nett said. Residents can call the drainage secretary at (254) 501-7629.

The next step for city staff is to check the development plat to look for easements. Staff then goes to the site to assess it and generates an inspection report.

"This list has grown tremendously," Nett said of the past couple of years.He said drainage utility program workers have performed more than 200 inspections in the past year. Any of those inspections could result in a capital improvement project.

"Most of them remediate through a maintenance project," Nett said in an interview.

Assistant City Manager Don Christian clarified that while residents often expect a beautification project, that's not what the public works department does.

"They come in and enhance the flow of water," Christian said.

Nett said the process to fix the drainage process could be improved by involving stakeholders and residents more.

Nett said he expects the committee to consider a process in the future to prioritize projects on the list.

Also during the meeting, the committee sent a recommended ordinance amendment to the full Killeen City Council. The amendment is to Chapter 30 of the city code for cross connection and backflow prevention.

Scott Osburn, assistant city attorney, said the changes are to match Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and federal standards.

"The purpose of this ordinance is to provide a detailed framework," Osburn said.

He said the revisions establish a more comprehensive program, makes the city more compliant with state standards and clarifies the purpose of the program.

"I think the degree of detail in here is a good thing," Public Works Director James Butler said.

Butler said that through inspections and regulations, the backflow of contaminants into the water supply can be prevented.

There was a disagreement between City Manager Connie Green and city staff about the frequency of backflow prevention device inspection. The proposed ordinance revisions mandate annual inspections.

Green said it is his understanding, based on a conversation with a representative of the TCEQ, that inspections are needed annually only if there is a threat to the water supply – like a sprinkler system on a property where a septic tank is used.

The committee recommended the ordinance changes to the council for approval, pending a change in the frequency of inspections. The committee left it to city staff to determine the state standard and adjust the ordinance accordingly.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at or call (254) 501-7550

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