Austin City Council approves $105 million bid for wastewater treatment plant project

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(ABC 6 News) – The wastewater treatment plant in Austin has been a topic of discussion for years in the city.

The Austin City Council approved a package for the project at a meeting on Monday night. The bid that was approved is for $105 million. Broken down, $1 million will cover construction costs and about $5 million will cover design and other costs.

Austin council member Jason Baskin said this requires the city to think really long-term because this plant is nearly 100 years old. The plan is to build a new, modern, safe and efficient plant that will hopefully last another 100 years.

"It’s a lot of money for right now, but we’ve been doing a lot of work over the last several years to save up for it and it makes sure that we do it in a fiscally conservative way. And incredibly enough, the $105 million option is actually the cheapest option of all of the ones we considered," Baskin said.

Last year, this project was estimated to cost about $76 million. That price has spiked significantly over the last 12 months because of inflation.

If you live in Austin. there will be some sanitary sewer rate adjustments happening over the next few years.

"But now in order to fund this project, again, we’ve talked about the lack of state funding that has come through and now the need for us to raise these rates. We recommend taking that original planned seven percent increase for 2023, increasing that to 15 percent," city engineer Steven Lang said.

This project is not just thinking about the near future, this will benefit generations to come.

Parts of construction are anticipated to begin in 2024 or 2025 and the plant is expected to be fully operational by 2026.