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QUALITY ON TAP! November/December 2013

TRWA Board Approves New TRWA Districts and Proposes Bylaws Revisions Also Inside: USDA and EPA Introduce Two New Tools For Rural and Small Water and Wastewater System Operators and Managers This Holiday Season, Give a Gift to Rural Water TRWA Fall Conferences Offered New Opportunities to Attendees

www.trwa.org


TRWA Today TRWA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

TRWA STAFF

Officers James Morrison Clay Hodges Pat Allen Brian Macmanus Scott Adams

President Huntsville (Dist. 13) Vice President Greenville (Dist. 7) Secretary Marion (Dist. 9) Treasurer Harlingen (Dist. 6) Immediate Past President Ft. Davis (Dist. 2)

District Directors John Frantz

Hartley (Dist. 1)

Chris Boyd

Aubrey (Dist. 3)

Michael Taylor

Brownwood (Dist. 4)

Barry Miller

Gonzales (Dist. 5)

Charles Beseda

Penelope (Dist. 8)

Kent Watson

Bryan (Dist. 10)

Kevin Spence

Franklin (Dist. 11)

Roy Perkins

Kaufman (Dist. 12)

Bill Goheen

Mabank (Dist. 12)

Vacant

District 14

Established in 1969, the Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) is a statewide nonprofit trade association with an active membership consisting of more than 750 municipal utility districts, special utility districts, nonprofit water supply corporations, small-town water departments, investor-owned utilities and individual members. In addition, more than 200 water industry suppliers participate in TRWA activities as associate members. TRWA members provide water and wastewater service to 2.5 million customers throughout Texas. TRWA is dedicated to helping directors, managers and operators provide efficient service and clean, safe drinking water to their customers. Through on-site technical assistance, education and information exchange, TRWA helps its members better meet their needs as well as the needs of their customers. 2

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

Fred Aus Executive Director Allison Kaminsky Communications Director Celia Eaves Environmental Services Director Refugio Rodriguez FMT Specialist Deborah McMullan Source Water Protection Specialist Janice Gibbs, CPA Finance Director Pam Cantrell Administrative Assistant Angela Harris Administrative Assistant Lara Zent Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel Pauline Word Legal Assistant Nickie Morgan, CMP Member Services Director Lance Harrell Information Technology Michael Vollmar Professional Development and Training Director Melody Bennett Administrative Assistant Len Klandrud Instructor George Patterson Instructor Dian Phinny Instructor Larry Bell Raymond Curtis Alex Eaves Paul King Steven Mindt

Technical Assistance Director Wastewater Trainer Wastewater Technician Circuit Rider Technical Assistance and Training Specialist James Smith Circuit Rider William White Circuit Rider


Quality On Tap! 6

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Features:

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By Fred Aus, Texas Rural Water Association On December 5, the TRWA Board of Directors took historic action in response to the direction given by TRWA member systems at the 2013 Annual Convention.

In Every Issue: 4

President’s Message

and EPA Introduce Two New Tools for Rural and 10 USDA Small Water and Wastewater System Operators and Managers

Letter from the Executive Director

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By John C. Padalino, USDA Rural Utilities Service USDA Rural Development and the EPA have joined forces to provide resources to our nation’s small and rural communities’ water and wastewater systems to increase levels of sustainability.

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Ask Larry Answers to your technical questions

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Keep it Legal

TRWA Board Approves New TRWA Districts and Proposed Bylaw Revisions

Answers to your legal questions

Advertiser Index

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Plan Ahead

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TRWA’s Calendar of Events

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Support Rural Water; Sponsor Your Political Action Committee TRWA is kicking off our annual Texas Rural Water Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising campaign.

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This Holiday Season, Give a Gift to Rural Water

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TRWA Fall Conferences Offered New Opportunities to Attendees

We hope that you will keep the Texas Rural Water Foundation in mind when making your year-end giving.

By Nickie Morgan, Texas Rural Water Association Thank you to everyone who attended one of our fall conferences in October and November of this year.

24 ON

THE

COVER: PINEY WOODS

OF

EAST TEXAS

TRWA Briefs Register for the 45th Annual Convention; TWDB Announces First Agriculture and Rural Texas Ombudsman; Now Accepting Applications for 2014 TRWF Scholarships. Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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President’s Message Merry Christmas Greetings fellow Rural Texans, I can barely believe that another year is fast reaching the end of its existence. It seems that I have just gotten comfortable in writing 2013 on documents and in a few short weeks we will have to adjust to 2014. It has been a very busy year for your Association and we have accomplished much. You will see some of the fruits of TRWA’s labor in this and future issues of the magazine. Please make plans to attend the Annual Convention in March; we have so much to share with you and Fort Worth has promised to roll out the red carpet for you. I hope that as this year comes to a close, your wishes, dreams, hopes and plans were all realized. I hope that as next year approaches, you all have tanks full of water, 0 percent water loss, full cash registers, profitable budgets, pay raises to the tops of your scales and above all else, a safe 2014!

“It has been a busy year for your Association and we have accomplished much.”

My wife Phyllis and I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas! I didn’t say Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings because Jesus is the REASON for the season! See ya, y ,

James Morrison President Texas Rural Water Association

The TRWA Board of Directors gathered at TRWA headquarters in Austin for their December board meeting. 4

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013


Letter from the Executive Director A Year-End Thank You With the holiday season upon us, it is a time for each of us to reflect on the past year. In my reflections I keep coming back to one phrase – THANK YOU! And a BIG thank you it is, because you ALL have done so much for rural water in 2013. When we started the year, we talked about going far together. And looking back, we can see that we have accomplished a lot together as an association. Rural water is clearly back on the radar screens of state leadership, with the new funding opportunities presented by House Bill 4 and by the passage of Proposition 6. We made significant headway on the issue of fireflows. We have continued the fight to protect the certificated service areas of our members. We have worked to protect our members’ interests as the economic regulation of water and wastewater moves from TCEQ to the Public Utility Commission. At the national level, we worked with other states and with NRWA to get EPA to allow for electronic reporting of your annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), saving countless dollars for utility systems. The TRWA Board worked very hard all summer and fall and has drafted new proposed bylaws and provided for a new absentee ballot voting process for TRWA elections. This is all in response to the direction you gave us back at the Annual Convention in March 2013 (much more detail is included in this issue of the magazine). Additionally, there is a new benefit to taking TRWA classroom training – you may now be eligible for college credit from the University of Phoenix. You can read more about this in January’s issue of this magazine. Also in January, you will begin hearing more from us about potential new financing options available to TRWA member systems.

“Rural water is clearly back on the radar screens of state leadership...”

We are working to make the conferences the best they can be – including the feedback we get from you, our members. All of this is possible because of the strength of our association. I ask you not only to renew your membership but also to promote membership in TRWA to non-member systems. 2014 holds much promise for TRWA and its members. Please register for the TRWA 2014 Water Board Directors’ Governance Conference, January 23-24 in Austin. Our luncheon speaker will be new Texas Water Development Board Chairman Carlos Rubinstein, and we’ll have other special guests. And it’s not too early to plan to be at the 2014 TRWA Annual Convention – Destination ... Fort Worth! Thank you again for all you have done – and all you will be doing in 2014 – to fight for Texas Rural Water and to Keep Texas Rural! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

Fred Aus Executive Director Texas Rural Water Association

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TRWA Board Approves New TRWA Districts and Proposed Bylaws Revisions New Absentee Ballot Voting Procedures for March 2014 TRWA Elections By Fred Aus, Texas Rural Water Association

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n Thursday, December 5, the TRWA Board of Directors took historic action by approving new TRWA Districts and proposed bylaws revisions. The Board took this action in response to the direction given by TRWA member systems at the Annual Convention in March, when the members overwhelmingly approved changing the makeup of the TRWA Board from 15 districts to 14 districts and eliminating the three AtLarge Director positions. The Policy, Bylaws, Resolutions & Credentials Committee and the Ad Hoc Redistricting Transition Committee met four separate times and worked throughout the summer and fall to develop a bylaws revision and transition proposal that was unanimously approved and has the full support of the TRWA Board Directors. The new TRWA District Map (see page 7) has 14 districts, and each one contains between 51 and 57 TRWA member systems. Summar y of Changes to TRWA Bylaws The Board approved proposed bylaws revisions, having undertaken a complete review of the current bylaws. A number of minor housekeeping changes were made to the bylaws, but the main changes are summarized below. Also, you may see a complete version of the proposed new TRWA bylaws on the TRWA website:

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Number of TRWA districts changed from 15 to 14, and the three At-Large Director positions are eliminated;

Elimination of the proxy voting process, to be replaced by an absentee ballot voting process (description of process to follow);

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

Elimination of the Associate Director position, which had not been utilized;

Streamlined notice provisions for regular and special meetings of the TRWA Board of Directors;

Elimination of the Nominations Committee;

Change in the term of office for TRWA Board Officer positions from one year to two years;

A Board member must serve one full three-year term as a Director before being eligible to serve as an officer of the Board. A Board member must serve one two-year term as a Board officer before being eligible to serve as Board President.

Requires that any proposed amendment to the TRWA Bylaws be submitted to the TRWA Executive Director at least 60 days (instead of 45 days) before the Annual Meeting of the membership. (NOTE: For 2014, the Board has determined that any bylaws revisions must be submitted no later than FRIDAY, January 10, 2014.)

Absentee Ballot Voting Procedures When the TRWA membership voted back in March 2013 to eliminate the proxy voting process, it also gave direction to the TRWA Board to develop an absentee ballot voting process in its place. That way, if a system were unable to attend the TRWA Annual Convention, it would still have an opportunity to cast a ballot in a TRWA election, whether for a Board of Directors candidate or on a TRWA bylaws amendment.


Each member system will receive an absentee voting packet via U.S. Mail by January 21, 2014. Each packet will contain the following: •

Official Absentee Ballot

Delegate Certification Form

Complete listing of candidates running for District Director and Alternate Director in your district

Complete description of proposed Bylaws amendments and resolutions

An envelope pre-addressed to the TRWA office

Voting Instr uctions Step 1: Complete Your Delegate Certification Form The Board President or Vice-President and Continued on page 8

New TRWA Districts Below is the map that will be used for 2014 TRWA Board Member elections. It was approved by the TRWA Board of Directors on December 5, 2013.

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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Continued from page 7

Board Secretary or Treasurer of the member system must complete and sign the delegate certification form (Only President or Owner need sign for an IOU). Only Official delegates are authorized to cast an absentee ballot for your system. Step 2: Review all Items of Consideration The absentee ballot will have a complete listing of candidates running for TRWA Director or Alternate Director in your district, as well as a description of all proposed changes to the TRWA bylaws. You should review these documents in their entirety before marking on your official absentee ballot. Step 3: Mark Your Ballot All items under consideration should be reflected on your absentee ballot. The designated delegate from your district should clearly mark the box next to the desired candidate. Under the “Proposed Bylaws Amendments and/or Resolutions” section, you have the option of marking a box in either the “Yes” or “No” column to indicate your preference. Step 4: Check Your Ballot Look at the positions you have marked. Double-check that you have made the choices you intended and that your marks are clearly indicated. Step 5: Preserve the Secrecy of Your Ballot Place your completed official ballot and delegate certification form in the provided preaddressed envelope and seal it. Step 6: Cast Your Vote! To cast your absentee ballot, return the ORIGINAL documents to the Credentials Committee using one of the following methods: •

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Your system’s delegate certification form and official absentee ballot may be mailed to the TRWA office using the preaddressed envelope. Votes submitted

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

through this method must be received by 5:00 p.m. on FRIDAY, March 7, 2014. •

Your system’s delegate certification form and official absentee ballot may be delivered to the Credentials Committee desk on-site at at the *Annual Convention no later than 5:00 p.m. on WEDNESDAY, March 12, 2014.

*The 2014 Annual Convention will be held in Fort Worth, Texas at the Omni hotel on March 12-14, 2014. District Caucuses will be held Friday, March 14 beginning at 8:30 a.m. We recognize this is a new and different voting system than has been used in the past, and it is the goal of the TRWA Board that each member system has the chance to vote and have its vote be counted. Please contact the TRWA office with any questions you may have about the absentee ballot voting procedures. You are welcome to call us at 512.472.8591 or e-mail us at info@trwa.org.


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USDA and EPA Introduce Two New Tools For Rural and Small Water and Wastewater System Operators and Managers By John C. Padalino, USDA Rural Utilities Service

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ustainable water and wastewater infrastructure is a critical foundation of economic development, but in uncertain economic times it is even more critical. Rural economic activity depends on sustainable infrastructure, making it the first rung on the ladder of opportunity for rural and economically challenged communities. Without basic infrastructure such as rural water systems that provide safe, dependable and efficient wastewater and drinking water services, there would be no support for the economic activities that are necessary for continued success and growth as a nation. The work carried out by rural Americans stands as the backbone to the strength of our nation. USDA Rural Development and the EPA have joined forces to provide resources to our nation’s small and rural communities’ water and wastewater systems to increase levels of sustainability. Both USDA and EPA have worked closely with rural and small systems, with input from rural operators and managers, to develop flexible, user-friendly tools to help rural and small system managers and operators ensure their communities are strong, safe and sustainable. USDA and EPA are rolling out the two new tools that are designed specifically for rural and small water and wastewater system operators and managers. The first tool is “Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management.” This Guidebook takes small systems through a series of steps to assess their current operations based on 10 key management areas developed using best practices. The Guidebook allows rural and small systems to assess their strengths and

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Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

priorities for improvement, which will lead to an action plan to address those priorities and challenges. The Guidebook also contains an extensive inventory of other utility management tools to help rural and small systems. The second tool is called “Workshop in a Box.” The Workshop contains a series of materials and instructions to help both small systems and technical assistance providers market and conduct workshops on their own based on the Guidebook. These materials can be used either in a group setting with several systems, or on-site with a team of individuals from a single system. With more sustainable water and wastewater systems in rural communities, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity will become closer together and afford those communities greater environmental protection and economic opportunities.

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Ask Larry A Q&A column with TRWA Technical Assistance Director Larry Bell

Q:

We have one customer who has an issue with our pressure at his meter, which he says reads 110 psi. We installed a pressure regulator at that location in September 2011. Now he wants us to identify and repair leaks on his side of the meter to fix his high water usage. He alleges, and he said his plumber agrees, these leaks are caused by high pressure on his water lines, which in some cases were beneath concrete slabs. He has a shop in addition to a house on a 1-inch meter. He believes there will be future leaks on his property and says we are liable due to the high pressure. He will present his proposal to our board of directors at our next board meeting. Are we responsible for assisting this customer with leak identification and repair due to pressure issues?

lines because of “bad history.” By bad history I mean these systems had irate customers who claimed that the system was responsible for the cost of water discharged from a leak the system’s employee didn’t find when the customer paid for that service. Also if the system employee did make a repair on the customer ’s side of the meter and that repair began leaking again the customer expected the system to warranty their workmanship. Therefore, most systems refuse to provide leak detection service or make repairs on the customer ’s side of the meter. Regarding high pressure at the customer ’s residence, there is no TCEQ rule requiring a public water system (PWS) to limit the amount of pressure. TCEQ rules require a PWS to deliver at least a minimum 35 psi to all customers. In order to get some customers who live on top of hills this 35 psi, systems routinely increase pressure as needed to meet this required minimum pressure.

“It is the customer’s responsibility to install and maintain their own water lines and keep them in good repair.”

A: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) rule at 30 TAC 291.86(a)(2)(B) states where the system’s responsibility and the customer ’s responsibility starts and stops: “The service applicant shall be responsible for furnishing and laying the necessary service line from the meter to the place of consumption and shall keep the service line in good repair.” It is the customer ’s responsibility to install and maintain their own water lines and keep them in good repair. The system is not responsible for maintaining or looking for leaks on the customer ’s side of the meter. Some systems do this as a courtesy or charge a service trip fee if the customer wants the system to check out their private plumbing. Many systems refuse to search for leaks or make any repairs to the customer ’s service 12

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

Some engineers specify that in areas where the pressure exceeds 90 psi individual pressure regulators be installed at those meters. It sounds as if you’ve already taken this measure at this location. Some water systems require the customer to pay for and maintain a pressure regulator on the customer ’s side of the meter. A few systems I’ve visited still install and maintain the pressure regulators as a customer service, but this is getting to be the exception instead of the norm. Many years ago, some engineers required all customer meters to have a pressure regulator installed regardless of the pressure on the system. As these pressure regulators began failing,


these systems realized they were paying for maintaining pressure regulators on every meter even though some of them didn’t require it. These systems stopped installing the pressure regulators and began informing customers who lived in areas of higher pressures of their pressure readings and advising that they may want to install pressure regulators to reduce the pressure coming into their homes. When providing this information, it is important to explain that the customer is responsible for installing the proper type pipe fittings and valves to prevent damage to their private plumbing. The system may also provide the customers with a list of companies that provide pressure regulators and heavy duty pipe/fittings; or refer them to a few local plumbers who have assisted other customers with excessive pressure. It is not the system’s responsibility to fix this issue. Q: We had an issue when we read meters this month where two areas of the system showed that every customer had high water usage. Most of these customers have called and said they have not done anything different than usual so their usage should not be higher. We have rechecked the meter readings and the readings match the ones we originally got while reading meters. What could cause this? I understand that sometimes people use more water and do not realize it, but it is unusual that all the high usage meters are in two neighborhoods and every customer has high usage. When I say high usage I mean 10,000 gallons more than usual with some of them being up to 60,000 gallons more. A: That does sound a bit strange. It doesn’t make sense that these meters would all be registering normally for several months or years and then the whole group of them go haywire at the same time. If all these meters actually discharged these extra high volumes of water in one month, there should have been some tell-tale signs, such as water running down the streets/ditches. If excessive water use cannot be explained in this way, I’d tend to lean toward some malfunction of the meters

if they were from the same batch and suggest you have a couple of them tested to verify that they are still within standard specifications. If your system has Radio Read (AMR) meters, there may have been some kind of electrical “disturbance” in those two subdivisions, but you would need to contact the manufacturer to see what scenarios or issues could cause that type of meter to over register. The only times I’ve heard of regular conventional meters over-registering was when the internal gears got meshed together and rolled multiple numbers or on rare occasion when air made some meters spin rapidly. Years ago, I had two meters in different parts of the system I was managing that showed excessively high meter readings. One had the 10 & 100 gallon gears/numbers stuck together and instead of registering 10 gallons it was registering 100 gallons every time 10 gallons ran through the meter. On the other one it was the 10, 100 & 1000 gallon gears/ numbers that were stuck so they all moved each time 10-gallons passed through the meter. You could go out with the operator and turn on some water faucets including one at a house with the 60,000 gallons overregistration and see if two or three numbers roll over when 10 gallons runs through the meter. It may take 100 gallons to show which set of numbers are “stuck” and rolling together. The bottom line is that the WSC may need to send off a few of these meters for testing. Choose some with the 60,000 gallons and some with the 10,000 gallons that seem to have over-registered. Maybe the meter provider/manufacturer can give you some idea of what to look for if the meters prove to be still in excellent working order. If you have a technical question you would like answered, please e-mail Larry.Bell@trwa.org.

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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Support Rural Water; Sponsor Your Political Action Committee

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ecisions made in Austin and Washington have a dramatic impact on how we do business in the water and wastewater industry. Each year, the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress vote on legislation affecting regulatory issues, funding for rural water programs and other environmental initiatives. Because of the importance of the political system to our operations, it is crucial that Texas rural water have a voice in the decision making process. This is why we must all get involved to support and defend our positions against a growing list of competing interests. TRWA is kicking off our annual Texas Rural Water Political Action Committee (PAC) fundraising campaign. The Texas Rural Water PAC is the bipartisan state and federal political action committee of the Texas Rural Water Association. PAC funds support the campaigns of state and federal candidates who will take a stand on issues that matter to Texas rural water. Each year, TRWA members contribute to the fundraising campaign so that the Texas Rural Water PAC can support legislators who will have a positive effect on our association’s future. By contributing to the Texas Rural Water PAC, you can affect the political process by ensuring that Texas rural water is fairly and effectively represented.

The Texas Rural Water PAC Board reviews candidates’ views and voting records to determine which ones to support. There are two ways you can support our cause. The first is by way of individual contribution, which will earn you one of three levels of sponsorship: •

Gold level, an individual contribution of at least $250;

Silver level, an individual contribution from $100 to $249; and

Bronze level, an individual contribution from $25 to $99.

PAC Sponsors will be able to display their pride in rural water with rewards, which will be given to contributors at each level. Suggested contribution amounts are guidelines;

Support rural water; sponsor your political action committee. The Texas Rural Water PAC is individualsponsored by those interested in making a difference for rural water systems in Texas. PAC sponsors provide the funds necessary to keep the needs of Texas utilities on the political agenda. Sponsorship funds are pooled to make contributions to state and federal candidates in Texas – men and women who understand the issues facing water and wastewater utilities. These contributions support our effort to elect individuals to public office who will give rural water fair and effective representation. 14

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

TRWA Meeting Planner and Membership Director Nickie Morgan showing off her PAC sponsor gift from 2013.


individuals may contribute more or less. Individuals may legally contribute up to $5,000 per calendar year. To make a contribution, please complete and return the Texas Rural Water PAC Contribution Form and make your personal check payable to the “Texas Rural Water PAC.” This form is available on our website, and will also be mailed to each system in January 2014.

are appreciated, though Corporate or District contributions are prohibited by law.

The second way you can support the Texas Rural Water PAC is by making an in-kind donation to be featured at PAC auctions at the annual Convention on March 12-14, 2014. A silent auction will be held throughout the duration of Convention in the exhibit hall, and a live auction of our premium items will be held Thursday, March 13, during the Convention’s social hour. If you would like to donate an item, please either send it to the TRWA office, c/o Texas Rural Water PAC, 1616 Rio Grande, Austin, Texas 78701, or send a description of your item to Allison.Kaminsky@trwa.org and drop your donation off at the PAC booth when you arrive at the Convention. All donations

Join the Texas Rural Water PAC team and show your support for Texas water. Become a sponsor today!

The Texas Rural Water PAC’s strength lies in the involvement of water professionals like you. By pooling your contributions with hundreds of other TRWA members across the state, we can make the voice of our industry in Texas even stronger.

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Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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Keep It Legal

Answers to Members’ Questions by Lara Zent,TRWA General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director

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received the following questions at our Fall Management Conferences in San Antonio and Dallas about election procedures for water supply corporations (WSCs) based on the new law passed this legislative session as SB 447. In response to some of these questions, we have further revised TRWA’s sample election procedures. The latest version of the procedures is available for download on our website under the “services tab” and then by clicking on “legal.” Q: Are we required to send written notice of the annual meeting when the election has been canceled due to candidates being declared unopposed? A: Yes. Section 67.0053(a)(1) of the Texas Water Code still requires a WSC to send members written notice of an annual meeting when an election is canceled due to unopposed candidates. This notice may be sent in the same envelope as the utility bill and must be sent at least 30 days in advance of the meeting. As a reminder, the WSC must also post notice of the member meeting at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting in accordance with the Open Meetings Act so that the public has notice of the meeting. If the board plans to hold a board meeting

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on adjournment of the member meeting, a separate notice of that meeting must also be posted. Q: Why has TRWA changed the recommended deadlines to notify members of the opportunity to run for a board position and to submit an application to run for a board position? A: Texas Water Code Sec. 67.0052 requires that notice of the opportunity to submit applications for the board of directors be sent to members not later than 30 days before the deadline to apply. This provision was added to the law by SB 447 in 2013. The statutory deadline for applying to run for a position on the board is not later than 45 days before the meeting. So, the latest date that the notice of the opportunity to apply for a board position may be sent out is 75 days before the meeting. Our 2013 sample procedures recommend that WSCs require director applications be filed 50 days in advance of the meeting and that the notice to apply be sent out at least 80 days in advance. In response to member concerns during the 2012 election cycle, we added an extra five days so that WSCs may review the applications and provide applicants with the opportunity to correct any deficiencies by the 45-day statutory deadline.


Q: For an uncontested election with different terms of office for each director vacancy, how do you resolve which candidate gets each position? A: If there is more than one director position for which unopposed candidates are declared elected and the terms are not for equal duration of service, we recommend that those unopposed candidates draw lots under the direction of the presiding director to determine who will fill each position. The board resolution declaring the candidates elected must specify which candidates have been declared elected for each position and what their terms of office will be.

district (SUD). Do we have to advertise for bids to select an auditor for the district? A: Auditors are considered professional services under Texas Water Code Section 49.057(d) and such contracts are governed by Subchapter A, Chapter 2254 of the Government Code, the Professional Services Procurement Act. This subchapter provides that hiring a professional for their services should be based on demonstrated competence and qualifications in combination with a fair and reasonable price, not based on competitive bidding.

“There is no requirement in the law that a district board hold monthly meetings unless it is required in your bylaws or creation documents.”

Q: Would you please provide us with an example of a resolution to adopt when the election is uncontested? A: Yes. The revised election procedures include a sample resolution for declaring unopposed candidates elected. This resolution must be read into the record at the annual meeting and posted at the corporation’s main office. -Q: We have had the same auditor for more than 10 years. One board member recently suggested we seek bids from other auditing firms to make sure we’re still getting a good deal. We are a special utility

It is a good idea for the district to solicit proposals (not competitive bids) at the end of each contract term or after every other contract term, depending on the length of the term, to make sure that the costs and quality of service of the current auditor are consistent with the market. The board may always decide to enter into a contract again with the same auditor, but soliciting proposals occasionally is a good business practice for the district. The law does not address this issue for WSCs; however, we recommend to our WSC members that they adopt a policy in-line with the districts law to ensure that they are obtaining the best possible price and quality of service. Continued on page 18 Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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Continued from page 17

Q: Half of our district board members live in the far edges of our district boundaries and it is hard for them to come to meetings every month. Is there a requirement that our board meet every month? A: There is no requirement in the law that a district board hold monthly meetings unless it is required in your bylaws or creation documents. Section 49.064 of the Texas Water Code states, “[t]he board shall hold such regular and special meetings as may be necessary for the proper conduct of the district’s business.” The answer is the same for WSCs. If a WSC’s bylaws do not require when or how often meetings are to be held, the board has the discretion to hold or not hold meetings based upon the business that needs attention. With any director meeting, you are required

to comply with the notice requirements of the Open Meetings Act, but there is no requirement to notify the public that a meeting is not going to be held. If you have customers who regularly attend the monthly meetings, you may want to post notice that the meeting will not be held on a given month as a courtesy. On a related note, House Bill 2414 which amended the Open Meetings Act and became law on September 1, 2013, makes it easier for a governmental body (districts and WSCs) to include board members in a meeting by video conference as long as the video and audio is broadcast live at the meeting. The board member who is presiding over the meeting must be present at the physical location of the meeting, but others may participate by video conference and are still counted as part of the quorum. If you have a legal question you would like answered, please e-mail legal@trwa.org.

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This Holiday Season, Give a Gift to Rural Water

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his holiday season, give a gift to rural water by donating to the Texas Rural Water Foundation!

It has been a big year for the Texas Rural Water Foundation as the Foundation and its programs experienced a lot of growth as a result of its partnership with AmeriCorps VISTA. In 2013, the Foundation awarded its first round of student and operator scholarships, successfully launched the Veteran Employment Program (VEP), established a brand identity, worked toward developing new curriculum to add to TRWA’s ever-growing training repertoire, and so much more! We’re just getting started – and we need your help. Rural water and wastewater systems in Texas face many challenges due to limited budgets, high levels of responsibility, large regulatory demands and a shortage of licensed operators. The Foundation was established by TRWA to support all rural utilities and address these issues through programs that provide resources and build the capacity of utilities to best serve their customers. But we cannot do it without your support. We hope that you will keep the Texas Rural Water Foundation in mind when making your yearend giving. Your tax-deductible donation will go toward training veterans and assisting them to find employment, providing scholarships to qualified individuals, community outreach, developing new programs, and other projects that will help sustain and grow the Texas rural water industry. Your contribution to the Texas Rural Water Foundation will help individuals directly, much like Robert Lingenfelter, a decorated army veteran who is now an active member of the VEP, or Kyle Koiner, a college freshman who received a 2013 Foundation student scholarship. After serving as a military policeman in the U.S. Army for twelve years, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan, Robert gained an interest in the water and wastewater industry. He was looking for a postarmy career that would serve the community and provide him with training. Even while still stationed in Alaska, Robert began making contacts to learn

how he could make this career change happen after his discharge. A few months later, Robert was hired to be a water and wastewater utility operator in training and was admitted into the Texas Rural Water Foundation’s Veteran Employment Program (VEP). Through the VEP, Robert has completed the Texas Rural Water Association basic water course at no cost to him and has received a study guide in preparation for the license exam. Thanks to the Foundation, Robert is on his way to starting a successful new career! Kyle was in the top 10 percent of his class and a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Granbury High School when he applied for a 2013 Foundation Student Scholarship. He was one of seven students who were awarded a scholarship this year to help defray the cost of tuition and books. With the Foundation’s help, Kyle is now a freshman at Texas A&M University in the Physics and Astronomy department and plans to study the remote gathering of data, such as temperature, sound speed and fluid dynamics as it relates to water conservation efforts. “Your award is a tremendous help in making it possible to be here,” said Kyle. Your gift is extremely important to the Texas Rural Water Foundation, and every dollar counts in our quest to support and empower rural water and wastewater utilities and the communities they serve. To make a donation, visit www.texasrwf. org and click the “Donate Today” button. You may also request a form from the Foundation’s office by contacting foundation@texasrwf.org or 512472-8591. All donors will be recognized on the Foundation’s new website, expected to launch in January 2014. Please note, for your gift to qualify for tax deduction in 2013, your mailed contribution must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, December 31, 2013; credit card donations must be processed by end-of-day December 31. To learn more about us, visit our webpage at www.texasrwf.org or call us at 512-72-8591. Your gift will help us become a greater resource to rural water and wastewater systems throughout Texas today! Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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TRWA Fall Conferences Offered New Opportunities to Attendees By Nickie Morgan, Texas Rural Water Association

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hank you to everyone who attended one of our fall conferences in October and November of this year. As usual, our Fall Management Conference was held in two locations – San Antonio and Dallas – but for the first time ever, we held one of these events in conjunction with the Water Districts’ Conference. The result was a success, drawing water and wastewater utility directors, managers, operator and administrative staff from water supply corporations and districts alike. The first Fall Management Conference Attendees gather to discuss a session during a break at the San was held October 8-9 at the Omni Antonio Fall Management Conference. Colonnade Hotel in San Antonio. This two-day educational event had a great Board, with a discussion on the planning turnout with nearly 100 attendees. Although and funding process for rural water systems. the program was designed with directors This session discussed how House Bill 4 and managers in mind, this conference had will affect the financial landscape in Texas something for everyone! and what rural water systems will need to do to get funded in the most expeditious and Day one kicked off with a legislative update efficient manner. Cash SUD General Manager and briefing given by TRWA’s own Fred Aus, Clay Hodges and East Rio Hondo WSC executive director, and Lara Zent, deputy General Manager Brian MacManus rounded executive director and general counsel. This out the morning sessions with a presentation session covered existing laws, new laws, on fireflows, including new legislation, transitions in place and how the changes will a discussion on the importance of being affect rural water systems. After a short break, proactive in the planning of your distribution Aus continued with the help of Jeremy Mazur, system, working on new development and representing the Texas Water Development what to expect in the future.

Attendees pose for a picture during a break at the Dallas Fall Management Conference. 20

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

After all attendees enjoyed a nice lunch, Scott Swanson of La Costa Environmental presented on drought management and conservation and gave an overview of best management practices as they pertain to water conservation plans, water loss/ waste, efficiency, pollution, and more. Neal Goedrich, P.E. of Southwest Engineers followed up with “How to Deal with the ‘Boom and Bust’ of the Oil Patch,” a session focusing on the impacts the oil industry has on water systems and potential solutions to the challenges involved. Day one came to a close with an election law update for


All veterans attending the 2013 Fall Management and Districts’ Conferences in Dallas were invited to the front of the room to lead the Pledge of Allegience during the joint general welcome session.

water supply corporations, given by Zent. The session focused on changes made to the law by the 2013 Legislature and gave an overview of amendments to TRWA’s sample election procedures. After day one adjourned, conference attendees were invited to take advantage of a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to the Riverwalk for dining and entertainment options, as well as sightseeing opportunities. The second day of conference began with “Using Systems’ Websites for Compliance” where TRWA Environmental Services Director Celia Eaves discussed how systems can use websites to keep their customers informed, including information regarding Consumer Confidence Reports, Revised Total Coliform Rule, Disinfection Byproduct Stage 2 and Public Notices. This was followed by a session on Board Member Policies, delivered by Aus, which discussed the Board/Manager

David Corbin, Association of Water Board Directors, mingles with one of our speakers, Neal Goedrich of Southewest Engineers, before his session.

partnership, the defined roles of the Board of Directors and the Manager, common problems between the two, building relationships and an overview of the TRWA Board Policy Manual. This was followed by an update on Tariff Policies, delivered by Zent and TRWA Technical Assistance Director Larry Bell, which included a description of latest draft updates to the TRWA sample tariff. For those who were unable to attend the San Antonio event, a second occurrence of the conference was hosted in Dallas on November 6-7 in conjunction with the Water Districts’ Conference. Attendees were able to take advantage of this format by attending sessions for either education track, tailoring their experience to suit their needs at no additional charge. Nearly 300 attended the two conferences, which were held at the Omni Dallas at Park West. Before conference events officially began, we offered a 4-hour Public Funds Investment Act renewal course on Tuesday, November 5. This was a great opportunity for treasurers, chief financial officers and finance officers to get their renewal credit completed before the end of the year. The conference program officially kicked off early the next morning with a general welcome session where TRWA President James Morrison invited all veterans in the audience to come to the front of the room to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. It was spectacular to see just how many of our rural water folks in attendance had served our country in one capacity or another—several members commented that there were more people up front than there were in the seats. Continued on page 22 Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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Continued from page 21

After morning announcements were made, the morning program commenced with a joint session on legislative updates delivered by Aus. After a short break, Aus was joined by Bech Bruun of the Texas Water Development Board and Michael Canales of USDA – Rural Development to discuss the rural water funding process, as well as what the passage of Proposition 6 means for Texas rural water. Hodges and MacManus once again rounded out the morning with a general session on fireflows, and then all broke for lunch before concurrent breakout sessions in the afternoon.

Nevada WSC was well represented at the Fall Management Conference in Dallas.

The remainder of the Fall Management Conference program mirrored that of the San Antonio event. The Water Districts’ Conference followed up lunch with a session on election law specifically as it pertains to districts. A number of bills were passed during this legislative session that affected these processes, and Zent covered the highlights in her presentation. After a short break, John Carlton of the Law Office of John Carlton gave a two-part session entitled “Districts: Back to the Basics.” Part 1 of this session covered water district operations, whereas Part 2 focused on contracts between the district and various entities. After sessions adjourned, the hotel hosted a social hour in the foyer for attendees to enjoy drinks and appetizers on the house. This gave attendees from both conferences the opportunity to network and mingle with their colleagues before heading out on the town for dinner.

TRWA President James Morrison with Bech Bruun of the Texas Water Development Board and Michael Canales of USDA – Rural Development. 22

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

Day two started with a session presented by Aus discussing emergency conditions and how general management should handle them, including emergency approval for projects, a description of the process and what resources are available. This was followed by “Bookkeeping for All” presented by Angie Taylor Rubottom of West View Financial Consulting, which covered accounting rules and standards, as well as software and other resources that will help you plan for your system’s financial health. Guy Goodson of Germen Gertz, LLP concluded the program with an overview of the bond process for capital improvements financing. “This was our first time holding the two conferences together under the same roof. I was surprised to see how many people took advantage of being able to attend sessions at both conferences – it worked out really well,” said Michael Vollmar, TRWA training and development director. “Based on member feedback, we will likely follow this model again in the future.” TRWA would like to thank everyone who helped to make both of these conferences a great success. We hope you join us in 2014 for our conference series, which kicks off in January with the Water Board Directors’ Governance Conference in Austin. Registration for this event, as well as the entire 2014 schedule, are now available on our website at www.trwa.org. If you have any questions, please contact us at 512.472.8591.


Don’t find yourself stranded without a water operator. Hire a veteran today and be ready for tomorrow. veteran employment program

1616 Rio Grande, Austin, Texas 78701 foundation@texasrwf.org 512.472.8591

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entertainment districts. For details on nearby family-friendly attractions and activities, visit our website.

TRWA Briefs Register for the 45 Annual Convention

A full agenda is now online at www.trwa. org. If you have any questions about this convention, please contact us at 512-4728591.

Now is the time to sign up for the TRWA 45 th Annual Convention! Registration is now online for the top training event of the year for water and wastewater professionals. Hosted at the Omni hotel in Fort Worth on March 1214, 2014, this is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in the issues facing rural water. This includes sessions on fireflows, regulatory updates, CCNs, CCRs, water reuse, water quality risks, and so much more!

TWDB Announces First Agriculture and Rural Texas Ombudsman

th

In addition to informative sessions, the convention offers several events for attendees to enjoy, such as the welcome reception, the annual President’s Banquet featuring a stage performance by award-winning author, Dr. Michael Johnson, silent and live Texas Rural Water PAC auctions, and the Chuck Wagon Round-up luncheon. You can also explore the exhibit hall where some of the latest product and service advancements will be on display. When you are not attending the TRWA Convention’s events and sessions, take your family and enjoy all that Fort Worth has to offer. Fort Worth, also known as “Where the West Begins,” was founded as the lawless western outpost of the United States. Now known as the City of Cowboys and Culture, the city boasts a mix of preserved western heritage, unrivaled museums and cultural attractions, and safe and accessible

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Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

With the passing of Proposition 6 in November, $2 billion was transferred into the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) from the State’s Rainy Day Fund to support projects identified in the State Water Plan. Because 10 percent of the funds are earmarked for rural communities, the Texas Water Development Board announced a new position within the department for an Agriculture and Rural Texas Ombudsman to help the agency reach out to rural communities and address their water supply needs. On December 6, Doug Shaw was named to this position. Shaw is a sixth generation Texan who grew up on a dairy farm near Godly, Texas in Johnson County. He has worked within the agency’s water planning division since 2006. Texas Rural Water Association has already met with Shaw and has begun preliminary discussions with him about our membership and our goals for the upcoming year. We plan to continue to cultivate this relationship with Shaw and the Texas Water Development Board to ensure our members’ needs are heard as they begin to prioritize water projects to be funded by the SWIFT.


Now Accepting Applications for 2014 TRWF Scholarships The 2014 Texas Rural Water Foundation Scholarship cycle is now open! We are accepting applications for both Student and Operator/Manager Scholarships now through February 5, 2014. The Student Scholarship Program was established to assist qualified students in pursuit of higher education and a potential career in the water and/ or wastewater industry, and the Operator/ Manager Scholarship Program was established to assist qualified individuals in their pursuit of continued education and career advancement in the water/wastewater industry. These scholarships are designed to help defray the costs of tuition, fees, books and/or room and board for the recipient. Because the Foundation has absorbed these programs from the Texas Rural Water Association, we are now able to extend these scholarships beyond the scope of TRWA membership. These funds will continue to bolster the water and wastewater industry in rural Texas, but now anyone interested in supporting and promoting our industry can apply.

The number of scholarships and the amounts awarded will be based upon the number of qualified applicants and the amount of funds available. Historically, student recipients have received $1,000 to be applied toward the academic year, and operator/ manager recipients have received up to $250 each for TRWA-approved courses taken during the program year. Scholarship recipients will be announced at the 2014 TRWA Annual Convention, to be held March 12-14 in Fort Worth, Texas. All recipients will be contacted directly with information on how to receive payment. Recipients will also be recognized in the April/May issue of this magazine. For more information, visit www. trwa.org or you may contact Allison Kaminsky, communications director, at Allison.Kaminsky@ trwa.org or 512.472.8591. We look forward to hearing from you!

Each TRWA member was sent at least one scholarship packet containing the application forms for both programs. If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please ask your supervisor for the desired packet. These application forms, along with eligibility information, are also available for download on our website at www.trwa.org. Please share these opportunities with your peers and community members who may benefit from one of these programs.

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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Advertiser Index AIA Insurance Agency.......................................... Page 9 Capps Insurance Agency .............................................25 Childress Engineers .....................................................16 Chlorinators Incorporated ...........................................23 Daniel & Brown, Inc. .....................................................10 DN Tanks .......................................................................15 Dunham Engineering .....................................................8 Fort Worth CVB............................................. Back Cover Global Treat ...................................................................15 J.F. Fontaine & Assoc., Inc...........................................24 Jim Cox Sales, Inc. ....................................................... 11 Leonard Water Services, LTD ......................................24 Maguire Iron ..................................................................23 Pittsburg Tank & Tower Maintenance Co., Inc ...........23 Russell Drilling Co., Inc. ..............................................16 Tabor & Associates, Inc. ..............................................23 Tank & Vessel Builders.. ..............................................25 Texas Aquastore ...........................................................18 Texas Rural Water Foundation ....................................23 TraC-N-Trol, Inc. ............................................................17 Velvin and Weeks .........................................................17

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Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013


Plan Ahead CONFERENCES: January 23-24, 2014 Water Board Directors’ Governance Conference, Austin Doubletree North, Austin, TX

March 12-14, 2014 45th Annual Convention, Omni Fort Worth Hotel, Fort Worth, TX

OPERATOR TRAINING COURSES: Water Credit Courses Surface Water Production 1: Mission, February 11-13 Surface Water Production 2: Mission, March 4-6 Water Distribution: Riverside, January 28-30 Water Utility Calculations: Harlingen, January 28-30 Water Utility Safety: Brownwood, January 7-9  Winnsboro, January 14-16

Water and Wastewater Credit Courses Customer Service Inspections: Bastrop, January 8-9  Kenedy, February 12-13 Pump and Motor Maintenance: Crystal Beach, January 22-24  Brownwood, February 25-27 Valve and Hydrant Maintenance: Winnsboro, February 19-21

Public Funds Investment Act Training Initial 6-Hour Training: Fort Worth, March 11 Renewal 4-Hour Training: Fort Worth, March 12

Quality on Tap! - November/December 2013

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1616 Rio Grande| Austin, TX 78701-1122 Telephone: (512) 472-8591 | Fax: (512) 472-5186 www.trwa.org

FORT WORTH WATER GARDENS IN DOWNTOWN

Welcome Texas Rural Water Association! M AR CH 1 2 -1 4 , 2 0 1 4 Plan your adventure at www.FortWorth.com facebook.com/Ft.Worth

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Quality on Tap - November/December 2013  

Quality on Tap is the official publication of the Texas Rural Water Association.

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