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Lakeway MUD to survey residents on interest in sewer hookup

As written and published by Community Impact, April 2017 .

Lakeway MUD to survey residents on interest in sewer hookup

By Leslee Bassman

The Lakeway Municipal Utility District on March 8 approved surveying the water and wastewater provider’s customers located in Lakeway’s original section—1,000 homes—to determine residents’ interest in connecting to a sewer line if such a project develops. Currently, the homes located in Section 17 of the city have septic systems for wastewater disposal (see map).

Lakeway MUD General Manager Earl Foster said he receives about four to five telephone calls weekly from Section 17 residents asking if the district is planning to add sewer lines to the area.

“This is a large district,” Sunfish Street resident Bob Reeves said at the meeting. “It is the heart of Lakeway. I, for one, am definitely for some mechanism for sewer service.”

Foster said the plan to survey district customers will not be introduced for about six months.

“We’re not just asking ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” he said about the survey questions that will be more detailed than a 2000 poll submitted by the Lower Colorado River Authority, the agency that regulates septic systems in Lakeway.

Foster said the MUD will also offer an education program to residents on what the project would entail if the district moves forward.

“[Adding sewer service] creates value,” he said. “You can free up the lot those septic lines are on. It allows you, in most instances, to put a pool in and frees up your property for more usage.”

A septic field of about 1,500 square feet minimum is required to service a four-bedroom home of less than 3,500 square feet with either a low-pressure dose field or a drip field, not counting required setbacks or system tanks, Necessary Inc. owner Janet Dunkelberg said. Necessary Inc. provides septic service inspections, and Dunkelberg said she has been in business for more than 25 years.

Foster said at least half of the homes in the MUD’s septic area—500 homes—would need to hook up to the sewer lines to make the project feasible.

Mike Threinen retired from Minnesota to Lakeway in 2012, purchasing one of the city’s first 300 homes built in 1970. After extensively remodeling the home, Threinen and his wife moved in at the end of 2014. Part of the renovations Threinen said he added to the home included replacing its septic system for $30,000, a cost that will make him think twice about participating in a project to hook up to a public system.

“We have to know more,” he said. “Chances are we would not hook up because we just installed a new system.”

Threinen heads up a neighborhood group, The Lakeway 300 Project, aimed at establishing Lakeway’s first true neighborhood as Old Lakeway and maintaining its architectural integrity. He said he intends to bring up the connection survey to the organization’s members.

Lakeway MUD Director Jerry Hietpas said the connection would help the district expend its treated effluent since the Lakeway Golf Course may be included in the area to be hooked up and use the treated wastewater for irrigation of its greens.

Built in 1966 as a vacation getaway for astronaut Alan Shepard Jr., this Mariner Drive home is serviced within the septic section of the Lakeway Municipal Utility District. (via Courtesy Lakeway First 300 Homes)

If the residential survey shows sufficient interest in the project, Foster said the district would possibly issue a bond to fund the sewer line extension, and the connections would be a monthly debt for the relevant homeowners to pay back the bond.

“A bond issue could be taken to allow Old Lakeway residents to pay the [sewer line project]costs over time,” Hietpas said.

Foster said agencies may be able to contribute funding, but the district has not pursued this avenue yet.

“This is a perfect project for the LCRA and the Texas Water Board to get behind,” he said.