By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The Travis County Water Control and Improvement District No. 17 opened its new $31 million Mansfield Water Treatment Plant a few weeks ago and dedicated it with formal ceremony on Jan. 28.
“We take great pride in the district’s many accomplishments over the years and we hope to contribute to the community for years to come,” said Deborah Gernes, WCID 17 general manager.
“You trust us to bring clean, reliable water to you, and we strive everyday to make that trust honored,” said Jeff Roberts, president of WCID 17.
During the presentation, Roberts gave the history of the growing district and Gernes shared details about who the new pump station and treatment facility were named after. Rep. Paul Workman, District 47, also gave some remarks.
WCID 17 provides water and wastewater service to approximately 37,500 people from Comanche Trail and Steiner Ranch all the way to Highway 71 and Serene Hills Drive.
The Mansfield Water Treatment Plant, located at 4506 N RM 620 near Mansfield Dam, will allow for long-term continued growth of the WCID 17 population.
WCID 17 obtains water from Lake Travis pursuant to a contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority which has been renewed through the year 2051. The contract authorizes withdrawal of Lake Travis water sufficient to serve 16,000 single family living units.
Capacity must be in place before it is required, and current demand patterns show the plant will be needed this year.
WCID 17’s original Eck Lane Water Treatment Plant on Lake Travis at 3812 Eck Lane has been expanded in about eight phases to a current capacity of 16 million gallons per day. Because there is not sufficient space at the existing site for additional expansions, the new site was acquired.
Under normal conditions, the original Eck Lane plant is at 90 percent of nominal capacity in the summer.
The Mansfield plant will start with a capacity of 6 million gallons per day and when fully built out will have capacity of 12 million gallons per day.
Projected growth in the area includes over 1,000 apartment units, an extremely large commercial development and new town center in Lakeway, a hotel, and more commercial development on the Lakeway Regional Medical Center property.
The Mansfield plant has has been in the works since 2006. Construction started two years ago.
The cost of the Mansfield plant is $31,395,549 which is financed by a revenue bond paid by water impact fees and current tax funds already collected.
WCID history including Steiner
WCID 17 was created by order of the Commissioner’s Court of Travis County, Texas in 1959 and confirmed by the voters of WCID 17 in 1960.
In 1984, growth started to “take off” with the state changing RM 620 from two lanes to four and five lanes, and with the addition of Lake Travis High School in the south end of the district, Roberts said.
Subsequent annexations, including the annexation of the 4,490 acre Steiner Ranch Defined Area in 1987, have increased the service area to approximately 15,000 acres. Approximately 9,399 acres within WCID 17, including all of the Steiner Ranch Defined Area, lie wholly within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Austin. The remaining acreage lies within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Lakeway and a small amount in the City of Bee Cave. WCID 17 serves parts of two school districts, Lake Travis ISD and Leander ISD, as well as a large area of Emergency Service District No. 6 known as Lake Travis Fire Rescue.
Steiner Ranch in the late 1980s also provided the first available WCID 17 wastewater system to service the Steiner Ranch area. The Steiner Ranch Wastewater Recycling Plant is designed to treat 1,500,000 gallons of wastewater per day.
WCID 17 now operates four wastewater treatment plants providing wastewater service to about 6,555 accounts.
After the recession of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the building boom caused WCID 17 to triple its water treatment capacity to 8 million gallons per day in 2001 with subsequent expansions continuing until 2009.
The district is governed by its current directors, Jeff Roberts, president, Mickey Decker, vice president, Jerri Lynn Ward, secretary, David Lewis Steed and Rob Carruthers. It has been managed since 1996 by Gernes. The daily functions of the district are handled by a staff that consists of 10 office and 50 field personnel.