Efforts intensify to fight zebra mussels at lakes Stillhouse Hollow, Georgetown

Efforts intensify to fight zebra mussels at lakes Stillhouse Hollow, Georgetown

The Brazos River Authority Board of Directors recently approved a plan to help fight zebra mussels at lakes Stillhouse Hollow and Georgetown.

Lake Stillhouse Hollow water intake

The BRA operates, manages and maintains the Williamson County Regional Raw Water Line (WCRRWL) and associated facilities for the cities of Georgetown and Round Rock and the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District, who share ownership of the line. The WCRRWL conveys raw water between Lake Stillhouse Hollow and Lake Georgetown. 

In 2019, the engineering firm Walker Partners, LLC completed an evaluation of Zebra Mussel control strategies for the BRA and WCRRWL owners, said Brad Brunett, BRA central and lower basin regional manager. The primary recommendation from that study was the installation of a copper ion generator.  

The copper ion generator system allows for very low-level dosing of a copper solution in the feed pipes at each intake screen, Brunett said. The increased copper concentration will hinder zebra mussel development within the WCRRWL system components, providing a chemical-free means of tackling the invasive, fingernail-sized mollusks that can negatively impact water supply infrastructure.

The Board approved about $2.43 million for a contract with Peabody General Contractors, LLC, for construction services required to complete the WCRRWL pump station copper ion generator project. Peabody General Contractors, LLC submitted the low bid and was determined to have met all required criteria by Walker Partners and the BRA. The WCRRWL owners will cover 100% of the costs related to this project.

Lake Limestone

Visitors to Lake Limestone are now seeing construction equipment at the reservoir’s Sterling C. Robertson Dam, General Manager/CEO David Collinsworth said. 

The five 40-foot x 29-foot Tainter gates, which were beginning to show wear after 45 years, will be replaced to prolong the life of the dam. The gates are currently being fabricated in Houston. The first gate is expected to arrive in May.

The fact the lake currently is two feet low has nothing to do with the project, Collinsworth said. The low lake level is due to the ongoing drought, he said. There are no plans to lower lake levels or alter operations in any way to complete the project, he said. Construction is expected to last about a year. 

Read more about the project here.

There are a lot of projects ongoing at the BRA, Collinsworth said.

“We have more going on at the Brazos River Authority right now than any time in the 28 years I’ve been here,” Collinsworth said.

Lakeside view of the Sterling C. Robertson Dam

The next Brown Bag on the Brazos virtual public meeting will be in a different style, Collinsworth said. The meeting will be in an interview style, and the public can learn more about the current drought status and the recent fish kill at Lake Granbury, he said. The public is invited to attend and bring any questions they might like answered from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2023. In the meantime, for updates on the current drought situation, see our drought update videos here.

The public also won’t want to miss the next Board of Directors meeting May 22, where management will discuss water rates and strategic planning, Collinsworth said.

The Board also ratified Presiding Officer Cynthia A. Flores’s appointment of Judy Krohn to serve as a member of the Retirement Committee.

Also at the meeting, the Board authorized Collinsworth to dispose of the surplus personal property presented at the meeting under the terms and conditions that are in the best interest of the Brazos River Authority.

For a complete list of Board actions from the meeting, go here. Or watch the full board meeting here. Sign up to receive email Board meeting notices here.

Still have questions? Email information@brazos.org.