Leander, Cedar Park and Round Rock will join forces with the City of Austin to manage an expansion of the Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System. The expansion, approved unanimously on Oct. 18, sets up an interlocal agreement to help the four cities expand wastewater capabilities and prepare for future growth in population and demand.
Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park jointly purchased the Brushy Creek System from the Lower Colorado River Authority in 2009. The City of Leander joined in 2011, forming what is now known as the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority.
Leander city documents show that it plans to buy 4.23 million gallons per day of treatment capacity. Cedar Park will purchase 2.1 million gallons per day, expanding that city’s total capacity to 7.97 million gallons per day.
“We expect the significant growth in Leander’s population over the last few years to continue, which requires expanding our city water and wastewater infrastructure to meet the needs of that growth,” said City of Leander spokesperson Mike Neu. “This interlocal agreement allows the city of Leander and partnering cities to expand our wastewater capabilities more efficiently while minimizing costs.”
Leander has leased space in Round Rock’s east wastewater treatment plant since 2010, receiving a supply of 1 million gallons per day of capacity during that time. Rapid growth has forced Leander to lease more capacity over the past eight years, and in 2016, the Leander City Council approved an amendment to raise the rental amount to 1.5 million gallons per day of treatment capacity at a cost of $21,000 per month.
Neu said that that the partnership establishes a formal connection between the four cities.
“This new agreement designates Leander as a full partner in the Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System, allocates funding among partners for new system capacity and expansion, and provides an interim plan to the meet state requirements during final build out of the BCRWWS East Wastewater Treatment Plant,” Neu explained.
The system’s east regional wastewater treatment plant located in Round Rock is being expanded by 10 million gallons per day of wastewater treatment capacity because wastewater flows are nearing the plant’s design limits, according to city documents.
Until the expansion of the plant is complete, Leander will continue to rent space from Round Rock. According to city documents, the expansion project is estimated to cost $90 million — with Leander paying about 42 percent of that cost. Construction on the plant is expected to conclude in 2024 or 2025.