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Brushy Creek board considering options for intake, pipes

Friday, February 22, 2008 by Mark Richardson

A lot more is known about the specifics of the proposed water treatment plant designed to serve Leader, Cedar Park and Round Rock after Tuesday night’s Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority Board meeting. However, residents form the areas that would be most affected by the project’s pipelines and water intake – Volente and the Trail’s End neighborhood – are still not happy with plans for the project.


BCRUA board members – made up of appointees from the Round Rock, Leander and Cedar Park councils – held a Chapter 26 hearing this week on using easements in Sandy Creek Park and Northwest Park. The board also heard a report from engineering consultants outlining seven possible sites for a deepwater intake for the treatment plant. Board members include President Scott Rhode of Round Rock, Vice President John Cowman of Leander, and Secretary/Treasurer Cobby Caputo of Cedar Park


Between those two events, a much clearer picture of what the estimated $500 million project will be emerged. Much of the public comment portion of the meeting – prior to the two hearings – was from landowners in the Volente area complaining that questions they asked about the project had not been answered  almost a year after the project was announced.


What engineers told the board and about 35 people gathered in Round Rock City Council Chambers was that the multi-phased project faced several major hurdles in getting raw water out of Lake Travis, and then pumping it to the water treatment plant in Cedar Park.


Consulting engineers said they were looking at seven possible intake sites, ranging from the west side of the Cypress Creek Arm to the mouth of the Sandy Creek Arm. Each one must be able to draw from 560 feet in order to function during the drought of record. They are also looking at four different types of intake facilities, including a consolidated shaft microtunnel; a split shaft microtunnel; a tower intake; and an inclined intake.


Each location presents a challenge in piping the raw water to the treatment plant. The most efficient and direct route, according to the engineers, is to bury the 84-inch raw water pipeline on a route that runs the length of Trails End Road.  Other routes take the line through or under endangered species habitat or lands managed as part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.


The project will also disturb portions of two parks, an LCRA/Travis Park called Sandy Creek Park, and Northwest Park in Cedar Park, which is next to the tract where the treatment plant will be built.


Following the public hearing, the board discussed setting a date for a meeting or work session with the Volente Board of Aldermen to discuss details of the project and how it would affect the village. The meeting would be separate from the March 6 meeting scheduled for Volente citizens to get information.


Copies of the engineering presentations for Tuesday’s meeting are available online at

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