A new water treatment plant is up and running in Central Texas, and the Bell County Water Control & Improvement District (WCID) will celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony this week.

The Lake Stillhouse Water Treatment Plant is located at 10461 Cedar Knob Church Road in Salado on the southwest end of the lake. It cost nearly $40 million to build with an ultimate price tag of around $60 million, but at least that money went to a worthwhile project if you ask me.

WCID representatives, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra, and other local officials will attend the ribbon cutting Wednesday, July 28 starting at 8:30 AM. You're welcome to be there as well, but keep in mind that parking will be very limited.

This should be exciting news for everyone in west Bell County. The plant is expected to supply 17 million gallons per day to central and west Bell County, and even part of Coryell County. At least 10 million gallons of that is expected to boost the Killeen water supply.

According to the City of Killeen, efforts to get a water treatment plant working at Stillhouse Hollow Lake started as far back as 2007, but a WCID official says things really started coming together a couple of years later.

“Master planning efforts on the part of the District in 2009 and the City of Killeen from 2012 and earlier, highlighted the need for additional water supply to the south and west of Killeen,” Ricky Garrett, General Manager for Bell County WCID #1 said. “Having another water source for the WCID 1 customers means added resiliency and future redundancy for this vital resource.”

The City of Killeen owns about 58% of the project, but funding also came from Harker Heights and Copperas Cove, along with WCID 3 (Nolanville) and the 439 Water Supply Corporation.

Before the new plant became operational, all the treated surface water going to wholesale customers in the Killeen area was coming from the Lake Belton Water Treatment Plant.

With the Central Texas area continuing to boom, investing in new water resources is probably a wise move. Let's just hope we're also thinking about the challenges we'll face if we're hit by more extreme weather events.

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The new school year is just around the corner, and Central Texas students will face unique challenges as we put the pandemic behind us and look to the future.

One challenge no child should face is being without the essential school supplies they'll need to live up to their potential and achieve academic success.

That's where you and I come in. From July 19 to August 15, you can donate school supplies at the following locations. Donated supplies will benefit students in need in Belton ISD, Killeen ISD, and Temple ISD. (Click each district to view their 2021-2022 school supply lists.)

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