Water reuse plant or lake line project?

Brownwood City Manager Bobby Rountree didn't ask city council members to decide between the two projects Tuesday, but Rountree did present council members with new cost estimates related to the lake line project, and with a projected timeline showing the lake line could take up to four years to complete.

"We should not rush on a decision," Rountree told council members. "We have a lot of work to do on this."

Rountree's information was based on information he received from Dennis Spinks, the general manager of the Brown County Water Improvement District. The cost is now estimated at $8.56 million, an estimate that does not include numerous factors including fuel, labor, equipment rental, freight or hauling costs, a flood development permit and extra work regarding the flood plain.

The so-called lake line project a Brown County Water Improvement District proposal to pump waste water to Lake Brownwood using existing water districted infrastructure could take up to four years because of factor including:

Lake modeling (determining the effects of waste water entering the lake) 60 days.

Permit preparation 90 days.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) review 330 days.

Public comment 120 days, or up to a year if any effected individuals file a protest.

Anengineer would not be engaged to develop plans/specifications for the project until after the above timeline was completed and approval received from the TECQ. Plans, specifications and project construction could take up to two years or more.

Rountree also told council members about a letter he has sent to the Texas Water Development Board, requesting a six-month extension on a water development board loan for the construction of the water reuse facility.

Without the extension, the city has a May 27 deadline to give notice of its intentto sell bonds if it wants to use the loan, Rountree has told council members.

Rountree has requested the extension so the city can examine the water improvement district's lake line proposal. Rountree said he is confident the water development board will grant the six-month extension.

On April 29, the Brownwood City Council and water district board held a joint workshop to discuss options for easing the demands on Lake Brownwood for a water supply as the continued drought reduces the level of the lake.

Spinks and water board members suggested using a combination of new pipeline and existing irrigation lines and easements to take the waste water back to the lake. That water could be combined with ground water from a test well the district paid to have drilled last year, which would put 900 million gallons of water a year back into the lake.

The water reuse plant, if constructed, would produce 500 million gallons of water a year.