Huntsville City Hall

As a way to conserve water and reduce the freshwater consumed by their cooling tower, Sam Houston State University officials are wanting to reclaim untreated wastewater. 

Under the new proposal, which will be presented to the Huntsville City Council on Tuesday, university officials are planning to construct a plant that would process the city of Huntsville wastewater and use the treated wastewater for their needs.

However, the plan, which was first presented to city council in December 2019, has run into a few roadblocks.

“During the process of trying to get a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality it became evident that the plant had to be owned and operated by the city of Huntsville, since they were proposing to treat city wastewater,” said Brent Sherrod, the city’s director of public works. “The plant would also need to be permitted by the city under the existing permit for the A.J. Brown Treatment Plant, since that is the watershed that services the area.”

The new agreement provides for the city to own and operate the plant, including applying for and obtaining the necessary permits. In exchange, SHSU will pay all operating expenses, plus 10%, and retain ownership of the land where the plant is located.

Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include:

• consideration of a $6.8 million agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the relocation of water and wastewater lines along Interstate 45. TxDOT will fund nearly $6 million towards the cost.

• executive session hearings on two litigation claims, which include design issues with the new police headquarters project and a complaint from a Huntsville restaurant owner that is attempting to construct a food truck park on FM 247.

• executive session hearings about City Judge John Gaines, City Attorney Leonard Schneider and City Manager Aron Kulhavy.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. A city council workshop regarding the design of city hall will proceed the meeting at 4:30 p.m.