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Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 4:32 AM

Neighborhood sewage plant flushed

HUTTO — One developer’s plans for a neighborhood sewage treatment plant on Limmer Loop have gone down the drain thanks to intercity cooperation. Hutto City Council worked with the city of Round Rock to achieve a solution for wastewater needs, negating the need for a package plant that would have pushed treated sewage through an open ditch by an elementary school.

“It’s a great partnership. We both have these growing pains and together we can handle some of these issues and concerns,” Council member Amberley Kolar said of the collaborative solution.

The new neighborhood, which will sit in front of Veterans Hill Elementary School on Limmer Loop, was previously in Hutto’s extraterritorial jurisdiction but petitioned for de-annexation. Although the city denied the request, per Senate Bill 2038 it was effectively released from the ETJ after a 45-day waiting period.

The developer, 705 Limmerloop JV LLC, approached Hutto in 2023 to discuss tying the residences into the city’s wastewater lines, but the cost to bring the lines to their area was too high according to city sources. They also approached Round Rock but were denied services since they were in the Hutto ETJ at the time. The developers then applied with Texas Commission for Environmental Quality to receive a permit for an on-site sewage plant, known as a package plant.

The city has been actively fighting an onslaught of ETJ package plant permits caused in part by development moving faster than the speed of infrastructure, and also by the cost of bringing wastewater lines to remote areas.

Hutto City Council wrote a letter to their Round Rock counterparts and Mayor Mike Snyder said that he and others met with Round Rock’s mayor and mayor pro tem to discuss a solution.

Earlier this month, Round Rock and the developer entered into an out-of-city service agreement to provide wastewater.

“This property is a little bit different because it’s not in the city’s ETJ nor is it in our CCN (Certificate of Convenience and Necessity) for either water or wastewater,” said Round Rock Director of Planning Bradley Dushkin, adding that since it is no longer in an ETJ the 200-unit development is in a “no man’s land” for wastewater services.

The agreement makes sense. Round Rock has a wastewater main in the area, built by the Mansions at Hutto development through an out-of-city service agreement similar to the one it is now entering with 705 Limmerloop JV.

“The city of Round Rock wastewater main is intended to provide future wastewater service to northeast parts of city as they get developed, Dushkin said. “Approval of the agreement will help increase the supply of needed housing in the area, ensure quality development adjacent to the city and provide the city with financial resources to accommodate the impact of new residents who will eventually utilize our services and amenities.”

Dushkin said the developer agreed to pay utility connection fees, double the retail utility rate for in-city customers, roadway improvement fees, parkland fees, and will develop in accordance with many of Round Rock’ city standards. For Hutto’s part, one of their largest concerns is being answered: treated effluence will no longer be running in an open roadside ditch.

“By tapping into [Round Rock’s] wastewater main, we’re able to provide a more closed system, a more sanitary system for all that to be treated,” Dushkin said.

Hutto continues to monitor the progress and consider its options against permits for an additional six package plants being planned in its ETJ.

This graphic presented to Round Rock City Council shows the location of Hutto’s current wastewater lines in proximity to the Limmer Loop area. Photo courtesy of the city of Round Rock

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