GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A proposed pipeline is making some in Williamson County hold their noses, and it’s not just because it’s meant for sewage.
A group of critics addressed county commissioners at their meeting Tuesday. They oppose a plan by the City of Georgetown to build a new wastewater line through the Berry Creek Park and Preserve, which is owned and operated by the county.
Georgetown city leaders would like to extend a wastewater gravity interceptor along Berry Creek from the lift station at Airport Road to the city’s Pecan Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant at FM 971. The project is known as the Berry Creek Interceptor.
The city said the line would travel through the county’s park, which is located west of I-35, and end just east of CR 152 along Berry Creek.
Jim Briggs, an assistant city manager, and general manager of utilities told county commissioners the proposed wastewater line is needed in this particular area to accommodate more development.
“A lot of the growth that’s occurring is happening in Berry Creek watershed and impacting the ability to have gravity wastewater within the watershed,” Briggs said.
City leaders also said their preferred path for the line would go through the park and use its creek as a guide to be able to follow the gravitational flow. However, Briggs said the city does have other potential routes where it could build the pipeline.
“They begin to lose effectiveness and probably increase risk, as you start moving away from the gravity flow options,” Briggs said.
MaryEllen Kersch, who spoke against the proposed wastewater line Tuesday, is concerned mostly about preserving what she calls the “fragile ecosystem” of the springs throughout the park, specifically how a leak may contaminate them.
“It’s just a very special place,” Kersch said. “It is a unique, sensitive ecosystem. It needs to be protected.”
The City of Georgetown may have to change course if the county won’t allow the pipeline’s proposed path. If the county goes along with it, though, County Commissioner Valerie Covey suggested Tuesday this could lead to more re-planting and prairie preservation once construction is complete.
The Commissions Court will hold a public hearing about this proposed wastewater line at its next meeting on December 18. The commissioners are then expected to vote on this issue.