Water Outage in Northwest Williamson County: Update

Update, 5:30 a.m.—The water main repair was completed at 1:30 a.m. Lines were flushed and water service was restored to customers by 4:45 a.m. Some customers may be experiencing low water pressure while storage capacity is filled.

Update, 10:30 p.m.—The affected line has been drained. The crew is working on repairing the line and estimates two to three hours to complete the repair and restore service.

Due to a break in a 12-inch water transmission main north of Andice, a water outage is affecting approximately 500 customers in the Chisholm Trail Special Utility District service area served by the City of Georgetown.

The initial break occurred at approximately 4 p.m., affecting customers in the Florence and Andice areas. The impact on the water supply and storage system is anticipated to affect customers north of Florence and into Bell County.

Repairs are estimated to be completed in 4 to 6 hours.

Street Sealant Work in Sun City: Updated Dec. 7

Update, Dec. 7: The street sealant work in Sun City has been hampering residential seasonal shopping traffic and local parcel deliveries.  To reduce disruptions, City crews will be finishing the roadways already started and suspending further sealing until after the first of the year. Existing work should be completed by Wednesday, December 9. (See the updated schedule below.)  The sealing will be resumed in January when disruption to residents and crews will be minimized. Notification of the new schedule will be provided after the first of the year.

Below is the schedule for the sealant work, which will happen from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Rain may cause changes to the schedule. The attached color-coded map (below) shows the sections that correspond to the dates.

Date: Section on map Neighborhood numbers
Monday, December 7 Section 2 40, 41, 43
Tuesday, December 8 Section 2 41
Wednesday, December 9 Section 2 41

The sealant product, also called a rejuvenator application, seals the pavement and slows the oxidation process, extending the life of the pavement. The sealant treatment helps to defer more costly maintenance work.

Look for warning signs and flaggers who will be stationed throughout the neighborhood to provide residents with directions. The sealant will be applied to one half of the road at a time. Once the first half has dried, the second half of the roadway will be treated.

Each application typically takes 30 minutes to an hour to dry. High humidity may extend the drying time.

Crews will work to minimize disruptions during the sealant application process.

Driveway Access Affected:  A small orange cone will be placed in each driveway to signal that the sealant has been applied on the street and is in the 60-minute drying process. Residents should avoid driving on the freshly-applied sealant until the driveway cones have been removed. Flaggers will be present to give instructions on temporary parking locations while the sealant is drying.

Schedule changes: This schedule could vary due to rain, other weather conditions, equipment failure, or product availability. The City will update this schedule if there are changes.

Questions about this street work should be directed to Georgetown Utility Systems Customer Care at (512) 930-3640.

Street Sealant Sun City map 10-21-15

Lighting the Square Essay Contest

ChristmasLights18b-450This year the student winner of an essay contest will help Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross and Williamson County Judge Dan A. Gattis flip the switch to turn on the lights at the Lighting of the Square on November 27. The annual lighting event is at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades are invited to write a short essay on the topic, “Why I am proud Georgetown has the greenest Christmas in Texas.” The essay topic recognizes the City of Georgetown’s green energy plans to purchase all of its energy from wind and solar sources by 2017.

Contest rules: Essays are limited to 75 words or less. Essays can be emailed to editor@wilcosun.com or delivered to the office of the Williamson County Sun at 707 S. Main Street, on the east side of the Courthouse Square. Essays are due by 5 p.m. on November 11. The essay contest winner will help to turn on the lights on the Square on November 27.

The Lighting of the Square essay contest is sponsored by the City of Georgetown, Williamson County, The Williamson Museum, and the Williamson County Sun.

This year the lights in the trees and on buildings around the Courthouse Square are sponsored by Georgetown Utility Systems. Georgetown is set to be one of the first cities in the U.S. to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy from wind and solar plants in West Texas. Williamson County is contributing to the lighting costs with funds raised from donations.

FM 1460 Project Breaks Ground

Mayor Ross and Greg Malatek b webConstruction on the Farm to Market 1460 project officially started today at a groundbreaking ceremony with local, state, and federal officials. The two-year project by the Texas Department of Transportation involves building a four-lane road in the 3.5 mile segment from Quail Valley Drive to University Boulevard.

FM 1460 is a key north-south arterial between Georgetown and Round Rock. Currently FM 1460 is a two-lane road with no shoulders.

The new four-lane road with turn lanes will provide increased safety and mobility between the hospitals and higher education facilities in Round Rock and residential and employment areas in Georgetown.

The new four lane highway also will provide a north-south alternate and reliever to Interstate 35. When it is completed, FM 1460 will be a four-lane road from Austin Avenue in Georgetown to U.S. 79 in Round Rock where continues as the four-lane A.W. Grimes Boulevard to the 45 Toll Road.

shovels 2b web

Georgetown residents voted to approve transportation bonds in 2008 authorizing funding for the project.

The total cost of the project is $34.7 million, including design and engineering, environmental clearances, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocations, and construction. The total includes $13 million from the City of Georgetown, $11.4 million in federal funding, $7.8 million in state funding, and $2.6 million from the City of Round Rock and Williamson County.

Wind Turbines Powering Georgetown

Wind turbines are providing for Georgetown’s energy needs three months ahead of schedule. The Spinning Spur 3 wind farm near Amarillo, which was projected to start producing electricity in January, became operational September 28. The wind plant is now providing energy to meet most of Georgetown’s daily power needs, positioning Georgetown on the path to a 100 percent renewable energy goal.

The Spinning Spur 3 wind farm owned by EDF Renewable Energy produces 194 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 58,200 homes annually. Georgetown’s 20-year contract is for 144 megawatts.

The 18,000 acre Spinning Spur 3 plant has 97 wind turbines, each of which produces 2 megawatts of power, or enough to power 600 homes annually. Electricity generated at the Spinning Spur 3 wind farm is sent to Georgetown via transmission lines.

The grid will ensure a constant power supply to Georgetown if the turbines are not online, but on most days, Georgetown’s energy needs will be supplied by the wind plant. When a solar plant comes online at the end of 2016, Georgetown will have enough power under contract to serve the entire demand for the utility.

In March, the City of Georgetown announced that the municipal electric utility will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2017. The utility will be powered by the EDF Renewable Energy wind plant and a SunEdison solar farm that will be constructed near Fort Stockton next year.

LCRA Open Houses on Transmission Line Oct. 13 and 14

The Lower Colorado River Authority will be holding two open house meetings this week for public input on route options for a proposed electric transmission line. The open house meetings will be 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13 at the Austin Sports Center of Cedar Park, 1420 Toro Grande in Cedar Park and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 14 at the cafeteria at Wiley Middle School, 1526 Raider Way in Leander. Both events are a come-and-go format with no formal presentation.

The proposed 138 kilovolt transmission line will connect to two new substations in Leander and Cedar Park. The new substations and transmission lines will provide for increased electric demand in the area between Interstate 35 and the 183A Toll Road.

Route alternatives considered for the new transmission line include Leander Road, FM 1431, Sam Bass Road, or Brushy Creek Road. In each case, the segment considered is between I-35 and the 183A Toll Road.

Transmission towers for the new line will be 80 to 140 feet in height. The tower structure design has not yet been determined, but tower design options include single concrete poles, steel or concrete H-frames, or steel lattice structures.

The Leander Road route alternative is the longest and would include a new transmission line along the west side of I-35 from Leander Road to FM 1431.

The City of Georgetown has submitted a letter to LCRA regarding the proposed route options for the new transmission line. The City favors routes south of Georgetown since they are more direct and efficient pathways to the new electric system demand served by the new substations.

For more information on the proposed transmission lines, maps of proposed routes, and details on the open house meetings on October 13 and 14, go to www.lcra.org/energy/electric-transmission/transmission-line-routing/Pages/Leander-Round-Rock-138-kV-Transmission-Line-Project.aspx.

Phone Scammers Pose as City Employees

Phone scammers who claim to be requesting payment for a City of Georgetown utility account have recently called Georgetown utility customers. Seven local businesses have contacted the Customer Care Center for the utility to report someone calling and trying to get them to pay a utility bill over the phone.

Don’t be fooled.

A similar phone scam targeted local businesses and residents last year. The Georgetown Police Department has been notified of the current scam attempt.

The City utility does not call customers and demand payments over the phone says Leticia Zavala, customer care director for Georgetown Utility Systems. If a bill payment is overdue, Zavala says there is a three-step notification process:

First, late notices are mailed to customers with unpaid balances the day after the billing due date.

Second, an automated phone call is provided to the phone number on the account two weeks after the billing due date.

Third, a second automated phone call is provided to the phone number on the account three weeks after the billing due date.

It is strictly against policy for any customer service representative to accept payment in the field.

If customers have questions about a utility bill, call the Customer Care Center at (512) 930-3640 before giving out financial information regarding your utility account.

Wise Water Use Request to Customers

The City of Georgetown is making a special request to water customers to limit unnecessary outdoor water use for the next 10 days. With temperatures forecast to be above 100 degrees in that time period, the utility expects peak demand on the water treatment and distribution system.

This week, Georgetown Utility Systems crews repaired a motor to a high-service booster pump at the water treatment plant on the south end of Georgetown. This is indicative of the effect of high demand on mechanical equipment from the sustained extreme heat. Reducing unnecessary outdoor water use can help to ensure that the system can continue to meet peak demand during this period of very hot weather.

Irrigation on Mondays is not permitted. After typically high demand on weekend days, Mondays are used to replenish the supply in storage tanks.

Other measures in the next 10 days can help, such as:

  • Avoid refilling a swimming pool or spa.
  • Avoid washing a vehicle at home. A commercial car wash can more efficiently use and recycle water.
  • Avoid power-washing a deck, fence, or driveway.
  • Reduce hand-watering of lawns. (Watering potted plants does not need to be curtailed.)
  • For homeowners with automatic irrigation systems, consider decreasing the time for each watering zone by three to five minutes.
  • Use a broom to sweep sidewalks, driveways, and patios instead of using a water hose.

For more ideas on wise water use, go to conservation.georgetown.org/water-conservation.

Street Resurfacing August 6 – 21

Street resurfacing with a chip seal treatment on several Georgetown roads is scheduled for August 6 – 21 in the area south of University Ave as shown in the map.

Chip seal resurfacing involves applying a layer of emulsion to the roadway followed by a layer of small-sized gravel. Unless otherwise noted, the entire length of the roadway will be resurfaced.  The chip seal wear surface will extend the life span of the asphalt on the street by slowing oxidation and sealing cracks in the asphalt. This will also help defer costly street reconstruction.

Chip sealing operations will begin after 7:30 a.m. and will end by 5 p.m. each day. Look for electronic message boards or door flyers in the neighborhood with information about the resurfacing schedule.

This schedule is weather-dependent and could be changed if there is rain.

Drivers should expect delays and look for flaggers in a moving work area. Drivers should reduce their speed and increase the spacing distance between vehicles to reduce problems with loose rock on roadway.

Following the application of the chip seal, street sweeping will occur within 24 to 48 hours to sweep up any loose chips. Once the sweeping operation has been completed a sealing material called Fast Set will be applied to the chip seal surface. The Fast Set sealant will require a drying time of 20 to 30 minutes prior to being open to traffic.

The sealant will improve the driving surface and increase protection from the weather. Public notification about the street sealant work will be done before work starts.

Watering Schedule Returns to Normal Limits

Outdoor watering limits in Georgetown are returning to normal for the first time in 19 months due to recent rains. Yesterday the Brazos River Authority lifted drought declarations for all lakes and reservoirs in the Brazos River basin, including Lake Georgetown and Stillhouse Hollow Lake. As a result, the City of Georgetown is exiting the city’s Drought Contingency Plan.

Rains over the Memorial Day weekend raised the level of Lake Georgetown 20 feet to 800 feet, which is nine feet above the full level. Stillhouse Hollow Lake, which is another source of water for the city, is at the full level, having risen 10 feet since Sunday.

Effective today, the watering limit for Georgetown customers returns to three times each week, according to the odd-even schedule outlined below. The City of Round Rock and Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District, each of which draw water from Lake Georgetown, also are returning to normal watering schedules today.

While drought contingency restrictions have been lifted, water conservation is strongly encouraged. Based on historical patterns, drought conditions will likely re-emerge in the future and could persist for some time.

Normal Watering Schedule

Water no more than three times each week, and follow this schedule for irrigation systems and sprinklers, based on the last digit of your address number:

Odd addresses
Tuesday and/or Thursday and/or Saturday

Even addresses
Wednesday and/or Friday and/or Sunday

Watering with a sprinkler or irrigation system is not permitted any time on Monday. Violations of these restrictions may result in fines.

Watering with a hand-held hose or bucket or using drip irrigation can be done any day and any time of day. Washing a vehicle can be done any day at any time.

Recommended

Watering with a sprinkler or irrigation system is not recommended during the day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The City encourages customers to set the start time for automatic irrigation controllers based on the last digit of the customer address as follows:

Last digit of street address: Start time:
0 or 8 12 a.m.
1 or 9 1 a.m.
2 2 a.m.
3 3 a.m.
4 4 a.m.
5 5 a.m.
6 6 a.m.
7 7 a.m.

These start times are only for customers with automatic irrigation controllers. Residents and business owners with movable sprinklers do not have to follow the irrigation start times, but should follow the mandatory rules for watering days, and avoid watering during the day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or any time on Monday.

Sign up for AquaAlerts

The Aqua Messenger program allows water utility customers to receive Aqua Alert emails each month at up to three water consumption levels. The trigger points are set by the customer and can be changed at any time. Sign up online at water.georgetown.org or call Customer Care at (512) 930-3640.