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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 9:38 PM
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Proposed sewage plants raise a stink

Proposed sewage plants raise a stink
City Engineer Matt Rector discusses wastewater plants with City Council. Photo courtesy of the city of Hutto

HUTTO — Whether you call them wastewater treatment

plants or package plants, Hutto is calling them unwelcome. Residents have spoken out against them. City Hall has hired attorneys to combat them. On Thursday, Hutto Independent School District approved another resolution against them.

“The proposed Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wastewater system represents odor nuisance, noise nuisance and general concerns to the health and safety of students and staff at Kerley Elementary, Gus Almquist Middle School and future school development, as well as to residents in the immediate vicinity,” stated the resolution signed by trustees.

The resolution concerned one of three neighborhood sewer plant applications in the Hutto area currently being considered for approval by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“I believe package plants should be a last resort.

Nobody’s reached out to me and said the city’s screwing them around and they can’t get proper permits,” said Mayor Mike Snyder at the City Council meeting March 21. “Instead, I think they’re taking the path of least resistance, but unfortunately we have to plan 30 to 40 years out, and having a package plant next to the neighborhood…they need to either figure out how to work with us or another entity, or prepare for a long drawn out fight.”

Developers building outside of city limits where Hutto has not yet connected sewer lines are finding their share of the cost to bring a city wastewater line out to their site can be much higher than simply building a wastewater facility within the development and discharging treated sewage into a creek or ditch as allowed by TCEQ.

The three on-site sewage permits the city is currently opposing are:

TPDES permit WQ0016462001

A project by Limmer Holdings LLC of Sugar Land, named Hutto Tract WWTP, to be located approximately one-half mile south of the intersection of Limmer Loop and State Highway 130.

This permit would approve up to 150,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater flowing into an unnamed tributary and eventually flowing into Brushy Creek.

In its resolution against this plant, Hutto ISD said the location is “contiguous with District property, Hutto High School site No. 3, held in trust by the Board of trustees for future school development.”

The district noted the planned plant would be 176 yards from Kerley Elementary and 528 yards from Gus Almquist Middle School, and the discharge route will flow through Hutto Independent School District property.

Members of an established neighborhood appeared at City Council to ask for the City’s help in fighting this plant, which they say will be directly adjacent to their backyards.

TPDES permit WQ0016260001

A project by 705 Limmerloop JV LLC of Austin, named Limme Loop WWTF, to be located about 650 feet northeast of the intersection of Limmer Loop and Etna Way. This permit would approve up to 50,000 gallons per day of treated water flowing into a ditch and eventually flowing to in Brushy Creek.

Hutto ISD and the city previously signed resolutions protesting this project because it sits directly in front of Veterans Hill Elementary School on Limmer Loop, at the entrance to the school. Students would be exposed to the plant and its product as they walk or ride their bikes to school.

A public meeting for this project that was to be held April 9 was canceled by TCEQ March 28, and has not yet been rescheduled.

TPDES permit WQ0016145001

A project by Preserve Hutto LLC of Houston, named Preserve at Star Ranch, to be located at 4428 Priem Lane, which is technically in Pflugerville but located in the Star Ranch neighborhood, an area which Hutto has a future right to annex. This permit would approve up to 48,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater flowing through a pipe to a nearby unnamed tributary and eventually into the Colorado River.

“So, today it’s not necessarily in the city, but in 10 or 14 years Star Ranch may be part of the city of Hutto and now we have this problem we have to then deal with,” City Engineer Matt Rector said.

TCEQ recognized Hutto and other concerned parties as “affected persons as provided by applicable law” and has directed that this permit be referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for a contested case hearing.

“We’ve had a request from Star Ranch to participate with the expert witness in that case. We anticipate those costs to be $15,000,” said City Attorney Dorothy Palumbo.

Palumbo said Hutto has hired attorney Joe Freeland of Mathew and Freeland LLP to help the city present their concerns to TCEQ.

City Council is reaching out to Round Rock’s City Council to see if they can together come up with a solution for the 705 Limmerloop JV LLC project.


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