Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2021

Contact: Kimberly Wagner
Angelina & Neches River Authority
(936) 632-7795

Angelina & Neches River Authority seeks to continue mission of solving
water & wastewater issues in Zavalla area

The Angelina & Neches River Authority (ANRA) has received approval to apply for grant funding through the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) DR-4586 February Winter Weather Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to provide regional water and sewer improvements in the Zavalla area and along Highway 147. Proposed project participants include Four Way SUD, Upper Jasper County Water Authority, and the City of Zavalla.

The proposed plan would construct infrastructure along Highway 69, south of Lufkin, to deliver treated water to the Zavalla area, where it would be redistributed to Four Way SUD, the City of Zavalla, Upper Jasper County Water Authority, and along HWY 147. The plan would also construct a new regional wastewater treatment facility and collection system to provide first-time sewer service to residents and businesses along HWY 147.

In addition to working with project participants, ANRA is also proposing to partner with Angelina County officials and officials from the City of Lufkin and the City of Huntington.

A general lack of adequate groundwater resources, coupled with aging infrastructure, and an ever-increasing level of federal regulations, has plagued the area for several decades.  Numerous reports and news stories over the years have suggested that inadequate water and sewer service in the area may have contributed to local health and environmental issues. In addition, planning studies have suggested that the lack of access to clean drinking water and reliable sewer service has caused stagnation in population growth and economic development.

“ANRA works continuously on water issues across our 17-county service area.  We have been working for a decade to find solutions to water and sewer issues that citizens in the Zavalla area have been experiencing for years and we think we have finally found a solution,” said ANRA General Manager Kelley Holcomb.  “The timing is right and it’s finally possible thanks to the infrastructure and disaster relief funding opportunities now being funneled down through federal agencies.”

In March 2021, ANRA submitted applications to the Texas Water Development Board to apply for grant funding for water and wastewater projects in the Zavalla area.  On September 9, 2021, ANRA received an invitation to apply after the proposed water project was ranked third out of 171 applications in the state and the proposed wastewater project was ranked 38 out of 121 projects in the state.

In August 2021, ANRA solicited proposals for grant administration and engineering services to aid in securing HMGP funding for the project.  Traylor & Associates has been selected to assist with grant administration services and Freese and Nichols has been selected to assist with engineering services. 

On September 21, 2021, the ANRA Board of Directors unanimously approved resolutions to proceed with applications for funding of both the water and wastewater projects.

The HMGP grant application deadline is November 5, 2021, and ANRA hopes to be awarded the funding before the end of 2021.  After being awarded and authorized to proceed, detailed design will take approximately 12-18 months to complete, followed by a year of environmental review, and 24-30 months of construction. 

The goal of the project is to provide access to reliable water and sewer service to citizens in the area as well as provide opportunities for growth and development to project participants. The entire project is expected to provide enough capacity to serve these communities for the next 25 years. 

After initial construction, project participants are anticipated to experience a 2% population and development increase every 5-10 years.  The City of Zavalla can expect to service a population of 1,058 by the year 2040 with up to 2,809 newly-developed acres within the city limits.  This will provide increased job opportunities, small business growth, and better quality of life for residents.

In 2012, ANRA shifted its focus and began concentrating on solving water and sewer problems within the Neches River Basin. Since then, ANRA has provided solutions for numerous communities in Angelina County, including Redland Estates, Rivercrest, Angelina County Fresh WSD No. 1, and Prairie Grove Water Supply Corporation. 

Holcomb said, “I’m confident that we can add the Zavalla area to this growing list of communities we’ve provided solutions to.  We are here to help.  It’s the driving force of our legislative mission as an organization.”

For more information, call ANRA’s Central Office Facility at (936)632-7795 or email

The Angelina & Neches River Authority’s central office is located in Lufkin, Texas. ANRA’s territorial jurisdiction consists of 8,500 square miles that lie wholly or in part of the following counties: Van Zandt, Smith, Henderson, Newton, Cherokee, Anderson, Rusk, Houston, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Shelby, Angelina, Trinity, Sabine, Polk, Jasper, and Orange.  ANRA focuses on water quality management, water resource development, and water conservation resources.

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