U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to give the Village of Salado its final opinion on the biological assessment for the sewer system next week.
The Village heard from the U.S. Corps of Engineers that USFWS will give approval for the Village to proceed with the sewer system.
The approval will come with conditions, according to Alderman Amber Preston-Dankert.
One of those conditions will be that the Village will be required to trench across Salado Creek, rather than horizontally drilling beneath the creek.
This will likely save the Village money due to the cost of horizontal drilling.
By open cutting across the creek, “it allows us to see what we are cutting,” Dr. Dankert said, adding that “it allows us to fix anything immediately rather than not knowing there has been any damage done” to possible habitat areas for the Salado salamander.
“It’s less destructive to open cut and have a biologist there on site while we do it,” she added.
The Village submitted its biological impact study in March. The USFWS has 145 days from the date of receiving the study that was conducted by Zara Environmental to give its final opinion.
“They (Corps of Engineers and USFWS) have been working really hard to get this done for us,” Dr. Dankert said, “knowing where we are on this project.”
Once final approval is issued, the Village will proceed with preparing bid documents and putting the construction project out for bid.
According to the Village Sewer Timeline, the bid process should take 60 days from final approval of plans. Bids could be awarded as early as July.
Construction is expected to take 11 months for the collection system and wastewater treatment plant, according to the Sewer Timeline.
The Timeline calls for three months for the connection of septic systems and transfer of sewer service.
Based upon the current Sewer Timeline, new customers could begin receiving sewer service by September 2018.
The Village and Sanctuary Development signed Wastewater Services Agreement in Nov. 2015 with a service Availability Date of two years from the execution of the agreement. Under that agreement, the Village agrees to provide “pump and haul wastewaster service to such customers or prospective customers for service in a quantity not to exceed the Service Commitment.”
This agreement requires that the internal facilities be designed, approved by the Village, constructed by the developer and accepted by the Village before the developer can request retail wastewater service.
To date, no designs for the internal facilities have been submitted by the Sanctuary developer.
Sanctuary has not submitted any documents necessary to begin formation of a Public Improvement District (PID), which is the funding mechanism for the infrastructure of the development.