As published in the Lake Travis View, week of July 19, 2019.
Lakeway MUD tackles zebra mussels, wastewater, irrigation
We got lucky this summer with milder weather and more rain than normal! Recent years brought Austin’s hottest summers on record – 2018 was the third hottest with 48 days on record reaching 100 degrees or more, coming in behind records set in 2009 and 2011, reported by the National Weather Service. However, last fall also saw the highest level for Lake Travis since 1997, at 704.39 feet above mean sea level (feet msl) per LCRA’s calculations – this ranks fifth highest level on record (Lake Travis is considered full for water supply purposes at 681 feet msl)! Since then, the lake has been sitting at or above full level. This is great for recreational use, but also something we, as a local water services provider, follow because Lake Travis is our source for raw water. Not so great for recreational use is the presence of zebra mussels in our lake. This invasive species was first discovered in our lake around May 2017 and the population has exploded since then, causing harm to recreational users who have the unfortunate run-in with these sharp-shelled creatures. They continue to be a constant battle for us as we monitor and take proactive measures to ensure that our intake pipes and the screens on our intake pumps remain clear of zebra mussels so that our customers’ water supply is not compromised. We have succeeded in our efforts thus far to keep them out of our water supply and are confident we will continue to do so into the future.
LMUD Hosts City Council Members on a Facility Tour
Early this summer Lakeway residents elected new City Council members. As is tradition, we offered these new representatives an opportunity to tour our facilities because water and wastewater services are just a few of the basic (and very important) services that keep our community running, but the intricacies of the process it takes to keep our potable water clean and our wastewater separate are rarely understood. For potable water, our processing starts by pumping raw water out of Lake Travis, a source controlled by LCRA, to our water treatment plant for processing into drinking water and into elevated storage tanks that provide adequate pressure to bring it to residential and commercial locations. As LMUD customers use this water, separate buried pipes carry it to our wastewater treatment plant then into holding ponds where it either evaporates or is used for our reuse water program, irrigating many of the golf courses, City medians, commercial, and some residential landscaping throughout the community. LMUD’s cedar track on Stewart Road off RR 620 also serves as a location to disperse the reuse water as needed since Texas’ water regulation agency, TCEQ, bans all water providers around the Highland lakes from discharging it back into the lake. Unfortunately, due to constraints in time, resources, and security measures, we are not able to offer these tours to the general public. Images of our facilities can be found on our website at lakewaymud.org.
Out of District Wastewater (ODWW) Project Underway
Lakeway MUD (LMUD) broke ground this past May for the main line that will offer the option of wastewater and reuse water services to the homeowners in Phase 1 of the Out of District Wastewater (ODWW) Project. This phase of the project affects approximately 330 properties around the Live Oak Golf Course. Phase 2 will come later, expanding the wastewater option to an additional approximately 900 properties, making up the remaining properties in the affected area of the first 17 sections of Lakeway, an area designated with “Old Lakeway” signs at street intersections. Until this project, the majority of homeowners in this area have only had the option to remain on their existing septic system. No residences will begin being hooked up to this new sewer system until all of the main line is run and the supporting infrastructure (force main and lift station) are completed. Phase 1 homeowners who choose to opt-in to being hooked up can expect hook ups to begin around May 2020. Phase 2 should commence in summer 2021 and is expected to take three years to complete. Early hook up options remain open to select homeowners who qualify. For more information, visit lakewaymud.org/odww-project.
LMUD Board Approves Adoption of Year-Round Two-Day Per Week Irrigation Schedule
At the LMUD Board of Directors meeting this past June, the Board approved a year round approach to water conservation making the two-day irrigation schedule, typically reserved for May through September, now mandatory year round. LMUD commercial and residential customers are now required to observe Stage Two Water Restrictions all 12 months of the year, which allows for a maximum of two days per week irrigation schedule on specified days. These water restrictions affect irrigation schedules pertaining to outdoor use of an in-ground/automatic irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler. Power washing, car washing, etc. are still allowed during these restrictions. For more information, visit lakewaymud.org.