From 1990 to 2000, federal census data shows that the population of McLennan County increased by approximately 24,000 residents. Since 2000, a steady growth rate along the I-35 corridor, particularly in Southern McLennan County, has resulted in the present county population of approximately 224,000. This growth has brought increased sales tax revenues, increased property values, as well as increased commercial and retail business. Also associated with this population growth is the need for new or enhanced infrastructure. Roads, power lines, water mains and wastewater services all will need to be expanded to meet the demands of the growing population.
The Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewer System (WMARSS) Central Wastewater Plant, located approximately one-half mile south of Loop 340 on the Brazos River, was last expanded in 1983. Since that time, the Central Plant has been rated at a treatment capacity of 37.8 million gallons per day (MGD). In 2006, a capacity study was conducted to determine how much treatment capacity was available at the plant. The study revealed that the plant was at 83% of its rated capacity. Per Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) criteria, the plant would have to be expanded or a new plant constructed to add capacity. The team of Lockwood Andrews & Newnam (LAN) and G.E. Walker & Associates were commissioned to determine how to best provide the needed capacity. Alternatives developed included a possible expansion of the Central Plant and/or construction of additional, smaller satellite treatment plant facilities.
Upon Lorena’s entry into WMARSS, the WMARSS board then directed the engineering team of LAN/G.E. Walker and Associates to include Lorena’s needs in their capacity study. WMARSS needed approximately 5 to 6 million gallons per day of new capacity and Lorena needed 500,000 gallons per day of new capacity, for a total of 5.5 to 6.5 mgd of new capacity for the regional system.
After reviewing several alternatives, it was determined that in the interest of time and to facilitate the development of additional wastewater capacity for all parties, a permit for expansion of the existing Lorena Wastewater Treatment Plant, along with a permit to build an additional 1.5 mgd facility on Bullhide Creek should be submitted to the TCEQ. However, it was understood that work on the preliminary engineering reports and analyses would continue so as to ensure that the needs of all WMARSS member cities would be met in the most cost effective manner possible.
To further facilitate the final design and construction process of the needed WMARSS capacity, the team of R.W. Beck, Inc and CDM were retained in August of 2007 to assist WMARSS in implementing the projects necessary to achieve the capacity expansion; from design of the facilities through the initial stages of operation. The first step in this process was to perform value engineering and to ensure that the most cost effective alternatives had been selected for implementation. Under the guidance of R.W. Beck and CDM, along with input from LAN and G.E. Walker, the WMARSS board agreed that an expansion of the Central Plant by 5.5 mgd along with the construction of a 1.5 MGD satellite treatment plant with a discharge into Bullhide Creek could provide the additional treatment capacity needed for the planning horizon of 25 years in the most cost effective manner possible.
Once the final alternatives were determined, further examination of potential plant sites, as identified by G.E. Walker, was undertaken. This included evaluation of three (3) potential sites for the Bullhide Creek Plant, consisting of:
Based upon these analyses, it was determined that the Smith Property, located just south of Cooksey Lane, met all the criteria for an ideal plant site because:
In the fall of 2007, the WMARSS board agreed to go forward with the purchase of a 233-acre tract of land just south of Cooksey Lane on Bullhide Creek. Purchase of the property was completed on March 14, 2008. As of March 20, 2008, WMARSS has re-filed its permit with the TCEQ, and is currently awaiting approval of the permit from the Agency. In anticipation of this permit issuance, WMARSS will soon be retaining a design engineer to finalize the plans for the proposed facility.
The WMARSS Board’s decision to pursue the Bullhide Creek facility was based upon several key considerations, including:
It is the intent of the WMARSS member cities to cultivate a positive working relationship with all affected stakeholders, as well as continuing to be a leader in safeguarding the environment and ensuring a positive legacy for the future.
Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewerage System • P.O. Box 2570 Waco, Texas 76702 • Bellmead • Hewitt • Lacy Lakeview • Lorena • Robinson • Waco • Woodway