Governments are criticized for studying and restudying a project ad infinitum. That has often seemed the case with the Wimberley Central Area Sewer System and wastewater plant.
The recent Ad Hoc Citizens Committee has re-reviewed the city's plans and submitted a report to the City Council, in which the Committee emphasized that time is a crucial factor.
Wimberley citizens are ready for the City to begin building the long-awaited system.
With the committee report completed, City Council is clearly serious about resolving the issues, and aware that a lot must be done in a short time.
Fortunately, Wimberley is in a position to proceed immediately with a sewer plan that will clean up the septic waste flowing into Cypress Creek near downtown and then on into the Blanco River.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has approved a $5.5 million low interest loan to Wimberley. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has approved a permit which the city has accepted. Plans have been drawn and are very near ready for construction bidding. The city has applied for a grant from the Economic Development Agency which, if approved, would lower the system cost by $1.1 million. Both the low interest loan and the grant are based on the conditions in the current, already approved plan.
A traditional, reliable, and affordable gravity sewer system has been designed to serve the Wimberley Central Area where failing septic systems are leaking untreated waste.
The current approved plan calls for an upgraded treatment plant producing Type 1 effluent suitable for public contact, located in a corner of Blue Hole Regional Park. The plant will be limited to a maximum capacity of 75,000 gallons per day that will be adequate to serve the central area well into the future. The city is working with Texas Parks and Wildlife on a contractual agreement to restrict the maximum capacity of the plant to 75,000 gallons, to insure against future expansion.
Treated water from the plant will be used to irrigate the soccer fields and other areas of the park, saving irreplaceable groundwater. When the ground is too wet to allow the water to be used for irrigation, the cleaned effluent will be stored in a 500,000 gallon tank located on site. During those infrequent times when - due to heavy rain - the tank is full and the ground is too wet for irrigation, the treated water will be discharged into Deer Creek to flow into the Blanco River downstream of the RR 12 Bridge. At such times Deer Creek and the Blanco River will be flowing full - due to the heavy rains - resulting in a dilution ratio of more than 500 to 1, which will have no detrimental impact on the creek or river.
The City needs to act now. Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) believes that prompt action is in the best interest of all area citizens, businesses, and visitors. City Council has been presented with numerous options - many of which were studied and rejected by previous committees and councils. No one objects to true improvements, but final decisions must be made very soon.
Timing really is everything. The City has funding and construction approvals in hand, but there are tight timetables. The current, repeatedly approved plan provides a sensible solution that will bring Wimberley's waterways back into the pristine condition we all treasure. To lose this opportunity could set Wimberley back for years to come. We urge our leaders to move forward now.
- CARD Steering Committee