The Flying L PUD (PUD) has proposed to the City of Bandera (City)to move their sewer processing plant to the Flying L. The City sewer plant is built in a flood zone, the state is requiring it be moved and the Flying L golf course can use the treated sewage (effluent) to water the grass. Two years ago, the PUD was approached by the city with the idea of combining efforts and have had several subsequent conversations. The main reason the Flying L wants to work with the city is because our golf course is using a tremendous amount of water from the aquifer to water new sod and fill ponds and if it could be replaced with treated water from the city sewer plant, it would protect our water supply.
We met with the City again last week, but the city has multiple objections which we do not understand. Municipal Operations & Consulting (our operators MOC) also met with us; they are experts in this area who manage over 200 districts in the state of Texas. MOC does not understand the city’s objections and offered to help the city work through their concerns, at no cost to them. However, after our meeting last week, the city informed me they were no longer looking at the Flying L and turned down our offer to help them with calculations, permitting, and cost estimating. We believe what we are offering is a practical and cost-effective option to help the city get out of their problem.
Why this makes sense and objections from the city.
1. First and foremost, protect our aquifer –Approximately 1000 additional sprinkler heads recently added to the golf course use an incredible amount of water from the aquifer. If they had access to more effluent, it would mean less water from the aquifer. The city water supply is over 500’ from the surface; protecting the aquifer should be at the top of the list.
2. Flying L Sewer plant has open capacity for the city – Only a small percentage of our current sewer plant is used for our residents. Our plant is not large enough to handle all the city; however, a much smaller plant could be constructed to supplement what is needed. In fact, we already have the foundation built from our old plant still on site they could build on.
3. Reduced costs – It’s less expensive for the City to relocate to the Flying L versus building from scratch. We already have effluent lines in place running to both sides of the golf course and ponds that can be used to hold effluent, reducing the number of storage tanks to be built. However, the city is saying they believe it would cost an additional $10 million to move to the Flying L over other locations. We believe we could save the city money and have offered to help them with their calculations, but they have not taken us up on the offer.
4. Eliminating Bandera from dumping effluent into the river as it is now. The 162-acre golf course is more than enough area to accommodate all the effluent from the City of Bandera and the Flying L. MOC offered to show the city how much effluent the golf course could handle but without seeing the calculations they have decided against the proposal.
5. The City believes it would be difficult to work with the golf course owners – Doug Stevens, owner of the resort, told the City he was in favor of accepting the effluent; however, for some reason they believed he was being negative. Stevens, who operates his own wells, even offered to sell water rights back to the city to help move the project forward. Even though I am not in favor of Stevens doing this, my question is what city in Texas doesn’t need additional water. We do not understand this perception.
6. Permitting issues – The City believes this project would be a “permitting nightmare.” MOC told the City they would provide guidance, and we suggested our permit could be modified to accommodate the larger amounts needed by the City. Of note, the actual issue is the opposite, in that modifying or changing the current City permit would be a real problem if they want to continue dumping effluent into the river as they are now. Bottom line. The City of Bandera needs to move their sewer plant. The Flying L has the capacity and a use for the effluent. We need to save our river by not dumping in it and protect our aquifer. There are some very good people on the council who are sincerely trying to fix a problem, we have some of the best experts in the state ready to help and frankly do not understand why they have turned us down. The City has been working on this for over two years, continues to have closed meetings on the subject and has paid consultants thousands of dollars. We strongly believe we can help the City as well as protect our water supply.
If you have any questions or comments, please email us at Admin@FlyingLPUD.com If you know any of the council members, please ask them to reconsider.
Steve Childers Bandera