Note: On Friday, June 17, the City of Round Rock found and reported an unauthorized discharge of raw sewage from a manhole located along Brushy Creek. Learn more
About the Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System
The Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System, which consists of two wastewater treatment plants and over 300 miles of collection lines, handles wastewater treatment for the Cities of Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander and Austin. The City of Round Rock began overseeing all operations and maintenance of the regional group’s wastewater plants on Oct. 1, 2018. Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park share ownership of the regional system; Leander purchases excess collection system capacity and leases treatment capacity.
The main facility, which is referred to as the East Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant is located at 3939 E. Palm Valley Blvd., and the West Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, which was recently brought back online, is located in Downtown Round Rock. These plants are permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is the environmental agency for the state.
Hydraulic overload at the East Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
The east regional wastewater plant has experienced a significant increase in the amount of flow it is receiving. The City of Round Rock announced in early March that the increase put the plant above its permitted discharge levels for volume of wastewater. This event, which is referred to as a “hydraulic overload,” also caused the plant’s effluent, which is released into Brushy Creek, to contain levels of total suspended solids (TSS) and E. coli that were above the permitted levels set by TCEQ.
What has the City of Round Rock done to address the issue?
The City of Round Rock has been working to improve the region’s wastewater collection system and treatment plants to produce more quality effluent, and to improve the condition of Brushy Creek as a result. So far, the following notable actions have been taken:
- Inspected over 42 miles of regional interceptors and local collection lines (March-April 2022)
- The other member cities have also been asked to conduct similar inspections in their local lines
- Hired four contractors to repair 11 significant defects in wastewater lines that allowed approximately 2-3 million gallons per day (MGD) of inflow and infiltration (I&I) to enter the collection system (April-May 2022)
- Brought the West Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant online to treat between 1.5-2 MGD of wastewater (April-May 2022)
- Along with its partner cities, continuing construction of an expansion at the East Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant that will increase the treatment plant’s capacity to 30 MGD. The plant expansion will be completed in summer 2023; however, new infrastructure will be brought online as it is finished to provide more plant capacity along the way.
- UPDATE: 5 MGD of additional capacity was brought online in early June 2022.
- Met with representatives with TCEQ and other owner cities to discuss action taken so far and future plans (Friday, May 27, 2022). Another meeting will be held in the coming weeks.
City staff is currently working with engineering firm Plummer to incorporate additional tertiary filters as part of the East Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant’s ongoing expansion. Tertiary or advanced filtration provides a final treatment step before reuse, recycle or discharge to the environment. More details on this request are anticipated to be shared at a future Round Rock City Council meeting in July.
The City is currently considering incorporating additional flow meters in the region’s wastewater collection system and is evaluating potential timelines for the East Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant’s next expansion.
The City of Round Rock has placed signage along Brushy Creek in the following locations advising residents to stay out the creek between the East Treatment Plant and CR 123.
Isolated event related to expansion construction at plant
Plant is now operating within permitted discharge levels on a daily basis
Higher flows lead to non-compliance with plant’s TCEQ permit
Page last updated 5:45 pm June 17, 2022