Crucial funding for Dripping Springs’ expansion of its wastewater treatment plant has been secured with the help of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
On April 10, the TWDB unanimously approved $43 million in financing from its Clean Water State Revolving Fund for the planning, acquisition, design and construction of the city’s wastewater system.
The expansion of the wastewater plant, which was contested by private owners and water conservation groups, would allow the city, if needed, to discharge up to 822,500 gallons of treated effluent per day.
City officials and leaders maintain discharge is off the table. They cited retention ponds at key developments and storage facilities that will prevent discharge from happening.
In January, Dripping Springs entered into a reuse agreement with a golf course development in the Driftwood area. Per the agreement, the developers have committed to include various retention ponds on the project for the storage of treated wastewater.
TWDB Board Member Kathleen Jackson commended the city’s efforts for reuse and expanding its wastewater needs.
“A lot of time, when we talk about water supply, wastewater is an afterthought in the discussion,” Jackson said. “It’s great to see such a culture of water conservation and reuse integrated into the Dripping Springs community.”
The plan includes a distribution system to provide direct potable reuse, making the project eligible for $1 million in loan forgiveness as a green initiative, per TWDB criteria.
As a result, the city anticipates it will save around $4.4 million per the financial agreement.
Dripping Springs has pledged a portion of tax revenue and wastewater revenues for repayment of the financing.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Foulds said the city vetted the expansion options in every way possible, addressing the environmental, financial and the long-term sustainability impact to the community.
“We are incredibly grateful to the TWDB for its support of our project,” Foulds said. “I believe what we are doing here in Dripping Springs will serve as a model for municipalities throughout the state.”