As published in Lakeway Voice, June 2019 .
LMUD ODWW Project in Old Lakeway is Underway
Many of you may be unaware, but there is a section of Lakeway still on septic. This happens to be the oldest part of Lakeway, the first 17 sections that were built between 1962 and 1971. This area is now designated with “Old Lakeway” signs at each street intersection. Lakeway MUD (LMUD) was formed in 1972. Since the homeowners who had already installed new septic tanks did not want to take on the expense of a new sewer system, they decided to “opt out” of the MUD District and avoid taxes and sewer charges. It was later (sometime in the 1980s) that these homes became water customers of LMUD.
Since the average life span of a septic system is 40 years and many of the homes (and their septics) in the Old Lakeway area are beyond this in years, we started receiving calls a few years ago from homeowners asking how we can help them with their failing septic system. At the time, we had no answer for them. Their septic system is under the regulatory control of the LCRA and those regulations have changed over the years, so homeowners with failed septic systems are facing the installation of a completely new system averaging in cost between $30k to $40k plus an extended area for their drain field. Maintenance for septic systems also average about $100 per month. Septic systems that are not properly maintained can lead to environmental concerns for our community if waste leaks from the tank. As more and more calls came in, we began developing a plan to offer an option for these homeowners to hook up to a public sewer system we service for them.
Fast forward to February-March 2018 when we first formally presented our option at a set of public meetings, now known as our Out of District Wastewater (ODWW) Project. We presented a survey to the approx. 1,000 homeowners in the area to gauge if there was adequate interest to move forward with the project. We found that approx. 80 percent of the homeowners were interested in our option to hook up to a public sewer system. We then presented these survey results to our Board of Directors at the May 2018 board meeting and they approved for us to move forward with our plans for Phase 1 of the project, which includes approx. 330 homes around the Live Oak Golf Course. Phase 2, which includes approx. 850 homes, will be completed after Phase 1.
On May 9, we completed our second round of public meetings to which all of our customers were invited via an e-mail, announcements in local papers, as well as through the City and Activity Center e-newsletters. We had 102 people attend our morning meeting and another 61 people attend the evening meeting. It was presented by General Manager Earl Foster and Stephanie Threinen, LMUD’s Public Information Liaison. To date, we have already hooked up 15 homes as part of our pilot project. We have now broken ground for Phase 1, laying the mainline behind homes, on the easement around the golf course. We will also be building the infrastructure to support the entire project (Phase 1 and Phase 2). Once we complete this, we will be offering the option to homeowners in Phase 1 to connect their homes to this new sewer system, which will begin in approx. one year. Currently, homeowners who have an account with us are being notified individually by phone and e-mail as we begin work near their property. No homeowner participation is required at this time nor should they be affected by this ongoing construction, however you are always encouraged to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. When we get closer to hooking up homes to the new system, we will again reach out to each homeowner individually to determine if they are ready to hook up. No homeowners will ever be required by us to switch from their septic system to sewer. This is a completely voluntary option we are offering, which does include associated costs once connected (see our website or contact us for details). Homeowners who are satisfied with their current septic system will not be required to make any changes.
A complete overview of the presentation from May 9 can be found on our website at www.lakewaymud.org . Any questions or comments about the ODWW Project should be directed to Stephanie Threinen, LMUD Public Information Liaison at (512) 261-6222 ext. 175 or [email protected] .