The Specific Use Permit zoning case involving the Rowlett Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (RWWTP) is on the Plano City Council’s agenda for the May 24th City Council meeting. District staff held virtual public meetings on November 9, 2020, and January 12, 2021, to discuss revisions to the site plans for the Rowlett Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.
PLANNING AND ZONING CASE BACKGROUND
The Rowlett Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (RWWTP) is a permitted 24 MGD (million gallons per day) average daily flow plant located at 1600 Los Rios Boulevard in Plano. The City of Plano originally constructed the Rowlett Creek RWWTP in 1956 and operated the facility until the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTWMD) acquired it in October of 1975 after the city requested NTMWD take over operations. Since then, NTMWD has made numerous improvements and upgrades to the plant.
The latest improvements NTMWD is planning to make include constructing a new operations building to replace the current one and improving a service yard for contractors to stage equipment needed for construction. Neither of these projects will expand the footprint of the treatment process at this facility. In fact, these two improvements will allow the District to better utilize the treatment process footprint in the future.
As part of an interlocal agreement (ILA) with the City of Plano covering the property NTMWD purchased from the city, the District had two zoning cases before the Plano Planning and Zoning Commission to amend the current zoning. The cases would change the zoning from:
- Agriculture (A) with a Specific Use Permit No. 4 for Sewage Treatment Plant TO Agriculture (A) with Specific Use Permit for Sewage Treatment Plant and Specific Use Permit for Service Yard. The P&Z Commission approved this case.
- Agriculture (A) TO Neighborhood Office (O-1) – NTMWD has withdrawn this request. The property will remain zoned Agriculture. As previously stated, the District has no plans to develop this parcel.
The first bullet point covers the property that the plant itself is on, the new operations building as well as the service yard.
SITE REVISIONS MADE
NTMWD made several revisions, or changes, to the site based on comments and feedback the District heard:
- The location of the new operations building was moved further away (to the east) from Los Rios Boulevard
- The new location is approximately 200 feet from the road
- The current berm will remain in place to help screen the building from view of the neighborhood across Los Rios Blvd
- Additional landscaping on top of the berm and in front of it will further screen the building from the neighborhood
- An 8-foot tall metal fence and gates will limit access to the building
The operations building serves as the administrative offices and control room for the plant. The current building was constructed in the mid-1970s using technology and construction codes from that time and does not contain adequate facilities for staff. Currently, staff uses a temporary trailer for restroom, shower and locker facilities as well as breakroom needs. The new building will be 6,000 square feet and contain:
- Office space;
- A control room for the plant that utilizes current monitoring and control technologies;
- Adequate breakroom, restroom, shower and locker facilities;
- A conference and training room;
- A small lab (16-ft by 12-ft) where some samples are quickly tested to optimize the treatment process and other samples are prepared for transport to our certified testing lab in Wylie.
- A structurally hardened area around the control room and an adjacent storage room for employees to go during severe weather such as a tornado; and,
- Proper HVAC mechanical systems for heating and cooling the building.
SERVICE YARD / STAGING AREA
Currently, there is very little space available on the plant site for contractors to stage material and equipment essential to the projects that keep the plant in operation and in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. The service yard is located to the south of the new operations building. The service yard would be paved and screened from view on Los Rios and 14th Street by existing trees as well as additional trees to be planted. NTMWD will improve the entrance off of 14th Street with a concrete turn-in lined with landscaping on either side. An 8-foot tall solid metal fence, similar to the one shown below, would enclose the entire yard.
NTMWD – PLANO COOPERATION
- The interlocal agreement (ILA) signed in 2019 between NTMWD and the City of Plano requires NTMWD to install and maintain an irrigated landscape screen along the entire western and southern property. The landscape screen would use evergreen shrubs to create at least a 6-foot tall screen within two years of installation. NTMWD is required to maintain this landscape screen in healthy, growing condition.
- NTMWD will not expand the plant’s annual average daily treatment capacity beyond the current 24 million gallons per day (MGD).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What type of office would be built?
The operations building is a 6,000 square foot, single-story building that will house the plant’s employee offices, restrooms, locker rooms and showers, meeting room and break room, small process testing lab, and control room. The building will have a traditional office building facade.
What is the size of the current operations building compared to the proposed one?
The current operations building is approximately 3,000 square feet compared to 6,000 square feet for the proposed building. Both the current and proposed building are single-story.
Will the new operations building add additional traffic to the plant?
The proposed improvements will have no impact on current traffic. Construction traffic will vary but it will be temporary.
Where will parking be located at the new building?
Parking for staff will be located on the north and south side of the building.
Will there be an increase in staffing?
This project will not increase staffing. The proposed building will provide a safe and proper work environment for our current staff, including providing them adequate breakroom, restroom, shower and locker facilities, as well as a safe space to go in the event of severe weather.
What type of vehicles will use the service yard/What will be placed in the service yard?
The contractor’s equipment including trucks will be parked in the service yard during their workday. This area is not meant for vehicle maintenance or storage. The primary purpose of the service yard is for the temporary storage of construction material and equipment. The area is currently being used for this purpose and is screened by trees. The proposed improvements would add additional tree screening and a solid fence around the service yard.
Will there be barbed wire fencing?
No. Plans call for a metal fence around the administration building. It will not have barbed wire.
What efforts are being taken to mitigate odor issues at the Rowlett Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant?
Being a good neighbor is important to NTMWD, and managing odor concerns is a critical component. To combat odor generation in the pipelines that carry the wastewater to the Rowlett Creek RWWTP plant, chemicals are added throughout Upper East Fork Interceptor System (UEFIS) to reduce odor and capture and treat the air emitted from our infrastructure. There are ten locations where various chemicals are fed and approximately 70 locations where air is captured and treated. The annual cost of chemicals for odor control in the UEFIS is over $2-million. In the past year, NTMWD staff evaluated the contributing flows upstream from the plant and conducted sampling to optimize chemical feed.
At Rowlett Creek RWWTP, there are six different locations where odorous air is captured and treated. The equipment is a combination of technologies that are appropriate for the application including bio-scrubbers, chemical scrubbers, and activated carbon units. Many of the odor control measures were installed as part of a 2011 Capital Improvements Project. The ongoing construction projects also include additional odor control equipment. Since we noticed an increase in odor concerns in 2019, we have increased monitoring of odor control equipment. The plant staff perform checks for each piece of odor control equipment on the plant site two times/shift (we have 3 shifts).
Additionally, there is a dedicated crew of three full-time employees whose primary role is to provide operations and maintenance of our odor control infrastructure, respond and investigate when concerns are raised throughout our regional wastewater system. The odor control crew conducts inspections twice/week at the plant to identify and correct issues. NTMWD will continue to be diligent to monitor our odor control systems, respond to odor concerns, and correct identified deficiencies. Our goal is to be able to operate without our neighbors noticing we are there.
Who should a resident call to report an odor issue associated with the plant?
The number to call for odor complaints is 469-626-4900. The number is also listed on the NTMWD website, https://www.ntmwd.com/odor-control-wastewater-treatment-plants.