Canadian company buys water and wastewater plants in Central Texas

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

AUSTIN — Canada-based Corix Utilities Inc. finalized on July 31 the acquisition of 18 Texas water and wastewater systems, 10 of which are in the Hill Country, from the Lower Colorado River Authority, officials said.

LCRA originally put the water and wastewater faciliities, located primarily in the Austin area and across the Highland Lakes, up for bid in 2012.

“It took two years to go through the regulatory process and to make sure we had all the regulatory easements to be able to transfer them into our name,” said Kevin Meagher, Corix vice president and chief operating officer. “We’re not a company which deals with big water systems. We deal with small systems, so we fit well into communities.”

The Hill Country Region facilities include: Ridge Harbor Water System, Ridge Harbor Wastewater System, Spicewood Beach Water System, Quail Creek Water System, Smithwick Mills Water System, Sandy Harbor Water System, Lake Buchanan Water System, Paradise Point Water System, Lometa Water System and Lometa Wastewater System.

Officials say they are awaiting approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to potentially acquire two more facilities in Tow outside of Llano and Bonanza Beach on Lake Buchanan, pending upgrades to those systems.

Meagher said he expects the company to maintain current water rates.

“The original agreement we had, the rate structure stays frozen for one year,” Meagher said. “We don’t anticipate, unless something breaks of course, we don’t anticipate a rate increase going forward other than the usual and customary rates that would be filed.”

In the midst of the pending sale, Corix worked with LCRA to facilitate the construction of the new Spicewood Beach Water System, serving several hundred customers including an elementary school in eastern Burnet County, as an LCRA contractor trucked in waterin to the system after low water levels on the Colorado River caused the plant to malfunction.

The new plant was placed on-line in July.

During that time period, Corix began to transition about 40 LCRA employees, Meagher said.

The parent company, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, also has a U.S. headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis.

With more than 800 systems across the United States, Corix employs more than 2,200 people nationwide and serves about 900,000 customers.

The remaining facilities acquired in the company’s Texas Southeast Region area include: Matagorda Dunes Water System, Matagorda Dunes Wastewater System, Alleyton Water System, Alleyton Wastewater System, Camp Swift Wastewater System, McKinney Rough Wastewater System, Windmill Ranch Wastewater System and Windmill Ranch Raw Water System.

connie@thepicayune.com

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