Lift station option on the table
CS council to hear sewer route favored by Bryan residents
College Station city councilors will hear and provide feedback for the first time during Thursday night's city council meeting, regarding three potential route options for a sewer trunk line that could flow within the city limits of Bryan or stay within College Station's city limits.
Jennifer Cain, director of capital projects for College Station, told The Eagle via email on Wednesday there are currently three options being considered: a lift station along Chimney Hill and Cooner Street; a right-of-way route along North Rosemary Drive in the Beverley Estates neighborhood; and a route behind North Rosemary Drive properties along Pin Oak Creek.
The project is in its fourth and final phase of completion. The sewer line originates near Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in College Station with the first two phases already complete. College Station is preparing this trunk line for the growth that the Northgate District is expected to bring to the city.
Bryan residents who live in the Beverley Estates and Garden Acres neighborhoods have continuously pleaded for both cities to look at a lift station, as the other two routes would potentially impede in front or behind their homes with no service to their city.
A lift station is a hole in the ground with a concrete or fiber glass basin, where generally two or more pumps are installed and the pumps push the sewer flow through a force main to a downstream point, either to another lift station or a treatment plant, according to Virginia-based Dewberry Construction.
The two routes seemingly more invasive to residential properties — Rosemary/Beverley Estates and Pin Oak Creek (backlots of Rosemary) — would flow with gravity downhill into Bryan city limits, according to College Station city staff. While the lift station route within the city limits of College Station has to travel a certain distance uphill to go from Cooner Street to the Hensel Park Lift Station, which goes against gravity flow and opposite of what the other two routes provide, according to city staff.
After being promised more information about the lift station, a Bryan resident requested to view the map of the third route that includes a lift station from Susan Monnat, senior project manager for College Station capital projects. In April, Monnat sent the resident a rendering of the third alternate route via email, with a lift station route that would travel down Tarrow Street to Chimney Hill Drive en route to Cooner Street before ending at the Hensel Park Lift Station, all within the city limits of College Station.
The renderings of the potential routes that residents had previously obtained only included the North Rosemary and Pin Oak Creek routes, both in Bryan, not the College Station lift station route, which is being presented as an option publicly for the first time Thursday. The city made it clear on numerous accounts previously they were not seriously considering a lift station due to a large cost factor.
Colin Killian, College Station's public communications director, told The Eagle on Wednesday that since the item is on the workshop agenda, "the council will not vote on anything." However, during a workshop the council can give city staff direction on the next step in the process and provide feedback.
"The reason [the lift station option] is on this [agenda] is to show the city council what it would take since the residents want this other option; and these are the numbers behind that and this is what would go into that. None of this is a proposal. This is simply looking at the different options that different sides have put on the table," Killian said. "I wouldn't say [the lift station rendering] was presented, because that is not what we were looking at as a city. Again it is not being presented as a proposal.
"This has never been presented to council, nothing has been presented to council in a long, long time on this because it has mainly been residents from Bryan coming and speaking at our council meetings, and they [councilors] haven't responded. … We are looking at all three options ... the one being pushed by residents — the one that goes through Chimney Hill and down to Cooner Street — and then the other two options, the Rosemary and the [Pin Oak Creek] route."
City staff has previously stated that if the sewer line were to go in front of homes in the neighborhood, the city of College Station could make use of the existing public right of way. If the sewer line goes the eminent domain route, it could be utilized for the alternate option (back lot). For the route in front (under the road), College Station would be able to complete the majority of work within the public right of way, which a public utility has the right to use since a public right of way is not private property.
After Bryan residents expressed concerns over flooding, the College Station City Council approved $87,500 worth of funds to look into survey work for the back lot option near Pin Oak Creek. Monnat told The Eagle in March that the survey work will occur on the south side of Pin Oak Creek in the backlots of North Rosemary Drive.
"The city of College Station approved a contract in 2022 with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for the design of the Northeast Sewer Trunk Line Phase 4. The design will include installation of a sewer trunk line which would serve areas of the community, including the University Corridor and Northgate. This would allow for continued development in this area which will soon be limited by existing sewer capacity," city staff previously explained. "After numerous discussions and meetings with the residents in and around the proposed route, the city is considering an alternative route alignment option. This alternative route would be along the backlots of North Rosemary Drive, next to Pin Oak Creek. This alternative alignment will require additional survey and data collection work."
Cain told The Eagle the information on the survey work will be included during Thursday's meeting.
Mayor John Nichols told The Eagle in February he and the council will explore all options presented by staff, and said he understands the frustration felt by residents in potentially affected neighborhoods in that they wouldn't be serviced by the project. However, he noted that Bryan Texas Utility lines run through College Station, and the users are not impacted by an upcharge in utility fees.
"Just like the city of Bryan through BTU won't ask its rate payers to run high voltage power lines around the city of College Station because it is more expensive, they get the savings out of that," he said previously. "I don't see how I can ask my rate payers in the city of College Station with our wastewater people to pay an extra $2 million to $5 million to address this problem through a lift station or other things which frankly are not best practices in this case."
James Mulvey, a Vine Street resident who has consistently spoken at Bryan and College Station council meetings, wants the lift station proposal considered due to flooding concerns with the Pin Oak Creek route nearest his home.
"The meeting on Thursday is a really big deal," Mulvey told the Eagle on Wednesday. "I have been going into it just very anxious to hear what they present. This is really our first time in a long time to hear what the staff of the city of College Station thinks, their perspective and their recommendations."
Beverley Estates/Rosemary Homeowners Association president Scott Hickle, who lives on Park Lane, told The Eagle he is planning to speak at the meeting Thursday.
"My hope is that both cities can work out an arrangement where the Rosemary neighborhood is protected, and our neighborhood integrity survives," he said.
For more information about the project, contact Monnat at 764-5028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in College Station City Hall located at 1101 Texas Avenue and livestreamed on Suddenlink Ch. 19 and online at cstx.gov/ departments___city_hall/ pubcomm/channel_19.