An additional $300,000 toward equipment and facility upgrades at the Kyle wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is the amount city officials plan to further invest as it attempts to meet demand.
The upgrades are part of a $1,713,221 project to expand the WWTP, which city officials said will help the city meet its increasing wastewater needs. The additional $300,000 is included in the $1.7 million price tag. However, the move means more treated effluent will be discharged into the Plum Creek watershed and other surrounding bodies of water.
Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said the city had to upgrade the facility as soon as possible, while it is still looking at options for storing and releasing the additional affluent.
“We need to keep up for the growth,” Mitchell said. “We’re under the (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) allowance (for releasing effluent) right now and at some point, we will reach capacity into Plum Creek. We’re looking at other options for a regional plant that would allow for us to discharge into another watershed just south of Plum Creek. It’s not our preference, and it’s not a choice. We’re looking into processes and it allows us to reuse water but it’s ongoing.”
Kyle’s move to upgrade and expand its wastewater facilities is consistent with surrounding cities that are attempting to do the same.
Buda, Blanco and Dripping Springs have followed a similar path in recent years in upgrading their ability to treat the increasing amount of wastewater. Those cities, including Kyle, are working to provide additional wastewater access to areas that had been reliant on septic tanks.
City Engineer Leon Barba said the plant uses a variety of avenues to release effluent outside of discharging into Plum Creek. Those include allowing for the irrigation of the Plum Creek Golf Course with treated effluent, to providing developers effluent to irrigate the land they build on.
“The discharge into Plum Creek, at some point in the future, will increase,” Barba said.
According to Barba, the plant currently treats 3 million gallons a day and will increase to 4.5 million gallons a day after renovation, most of which will be treated for reuse but not consumption. Officials said upgrading the facility will allow the plant to treat effluent at a Type I level. Type I level effluent can be used on playgrounds and parks.
“That (Type II) reclaimed water can be used for things like golf courses, but not for things like common areas, playgrounds, ballfields, etc. where human contact would be likely,” Barba said. “You have to treat at the Type I level for using reclaimed water for those types of locations.”
City officials estimate expansion to be complete by December 2022. While they city has yet to apply for a permit to expand its capacity to 4.5 MGD with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEW), city officials say they will likely use Plum Creek as a means for discharging effluent.