GERONIMO — While a wastewater treatment plant isn’t going into the proposed development off FM 758 and State Highway 123, a sanitary sewer line is — with the city of Seguin’s help.

Seguin City Council unanimously approved a capital improvement agreement with Lennar Homes for the construction of a sanitary sewer line to meet the sewer needs of the proposed subdivision, which is expected to have approximately 1,450 homes at full build-out, during a regular meeting Tuesday night.

“Staff has been working with Lennar Homes and Mr. Kelly Leach (the developer) on this request for several months now since there have been negotiations for several months,” Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes said. “Initially, the developer was proposing to put a package plant in that area so we started working with him to see if we had the possibility of extending our services to them.”

It’s proposed that Lennar will build the sewer line from the subdivision to an existing manhole at Link Road near the Navarro Intermediate School. The proposal includes a lift station and force main to cross Geronimo Creek.

“The developer will also upgrade the Navarro lift station located north of Cordova Road and will update the force main for the Navarro lift station to the north of Continental Drive,” Cortes said. “The estimated costs for these upgrades is about $1.1 million.”

Furthermore, Lennar plans to also install a 12-inch line from Continental Drive along State Highway 123 Bypass to Geronimo Creek, north of Interstate 10 for $1.15 million, Cortes said.

“All these costs will be covered by the developer,” he said.

The contractor could receive a bit of a reprieve if the sewer main isn’t completed on schedule, Cortes said.

“We have a provision in this agreement, it’s a pump and haul provision. If the sewer main is not constructed in time, then we’re going to go ahead and allow the development to pump and haul their waste for a period not to exceed one year,” Cortes said. “We’ll take it at our Geronimo Wastewater Plant and hopefully everything will be in place before that takes effect.”

Gram Vikas Partners — a company owned by Leach, who also spearheaded the subdivision project — originally filed a domestic wastewater permit application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Oct. 9 for a wastewater facility to be built within the subdivision.

The proposed treatment plant was expected to release about 300,000 gallons of treated sewage per day into Geronimo Creek before entering the Guadalupe River.

The potential threat the facility had toward the water source created an uproar in the Geronimo community.

The efforts of Geronimo residents Forrest Mims III and Tammy Harborth, owner of the Grain Bin Cafe and Store, led to a public forum being held Jan. 29 in the Navarro Events Center for the community to voice their opinions and concerns about Leach’s project. The event attracted a couple hundred residents including a handful of public officials.

Since the community became aware of Leach’s application for the treatment facility, the TCEQ received about 70 letters and 22 requests for a public hearing, according to information provided on a website dedicated to the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed.

Gram Vikas Partners withdrew the domestic wastewater permit application to TCEQ on April 24.

“Win-win”

The city of Seguin is expected to collect about $4.9 million in wastewater impact fees when the subdivision is at full build-out in about 10 years. Annually, it will also receive about $661,000 in wastewater revenues at full buildout, Cortes said.

The new project is also going to coincide with the expansion at the Geronimo Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, he said.

“We’ve reached a certain threshold at our sewer plant that we’re going to have to start design for the plant to increase capacity,” Cortes said. “So that’s already something we already need to do. We have an estimated cost of $31 million for that project. This would require an additional $4.3 million on top of that $31 million to accommodate this additional growth.”

Cortes said it’s a “win-win” for the city and developer.

“It allows us to expand our plant. I think we’re in great shape. I think it works great for both of us,” he said. “It’s good for the city and I know our staff is excited about it. Infrastructure improvements are not sexy, but they’re something we need to do.”

Council approved the agreement following a motion by a councilwoman Fonda Mathis and a second by councilman Chris Rangel.

 

Valerie Bustamante is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at valerie.bustamante@seguingazette.com .

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