TRWA Named State Association of the Year
Investing in the Future of Rural Water Member Updates from TRWA District 11
September / October 2016 www.trwa.org
TRWA Board of Directors
Lara Zent Officers Larry Bell Pat Allen President Celia Eaves Guadalupe (Dist. 9) Janice Gibbs, CPA Brian Macmanus Vice President Allison Kaminsky Cameron (Dist. 6) Angela Russell, CMP Chris Boyd Secretary Erin Selvera Denton (Dist. 3) Michael Vollmar Barry Miller Treasurer Gonzales (Dist. 5) Clay Hodges Immediate Past President Hunt (Dist. 7)
Finley Barnett Taylor (Dist. 1)
Bruce Alexander Medina (Dist. 2)
Delores Goode Lampasas (Dist. 4) Charles Beseda Hill (Dist. 8)
Kent Watson Brazos (Dist. 10)
Kevin Spence Franklin (Dist. 11)
Vickie Armstrong Kaufman (Dist. 12)
Robert Nettles Walker (Dist. 13)
Rhonda Shaw Rusk (Dist. 14)
Established in 1969, the Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) is a statewide nonprofit trade association with an active membership consisting of approximately 750 nonprofit water supply corporations, water districts, small-town water departments and investor-owned utilities. 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, operators and office professionals provide efficient service and clean, safe drinking water to their customers. Through onsite technical assistance, education and information exchange, TRWA helps its members better meet their needs as well as the needs of their customers. 2
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Executive Director and General Counsel Technical Assistance Director Environmental Services Director Finance Director Communications Director Member Services Director Legal and Legislative Services Director Professional Development and Training Director
Melody Bennett Pam Cantrell Adrienne Emmerich Patti Flunker Zak Hansen Angela Harris Deborah McMullan Ariane Walker Amanda Wilson
Project Support Specialist Accounting Support Specialist Course Development Specialist Executive/Legal Assistant Communications Assistant Project Support Specialist Assistant Projects Manager, Environmental Services Training Support Specialist Administrative Assistant
Field Staff Thomas Acker, Jr. Michael Beadnell Ross Brookbank Nathan Cantrell Alex Eaves Paul King Steven Mindt Charles Perkins Refugio Rodriguez Anne Ruthstrom James Smith William White
Instructor Instructor FMT Specialist Wastewater Technician Wastewater Technician Circuit Rider FMT Specialist Circuit Rider FMT Specialist Source Water Protection Specialist Circuit Rider Assistant Technical Assistance Director
Contact the Editor Editorial and advertising inquiries may be directed to the Editor, Allison Kaminsky, at (512) 472-8591 or email@example.com.
Find TRWA on Facebook “Like” our Page and join the conversation at: www.facebook.com/TexasRuralWaterAssn
Follow TRWA on Twitter! Find us at @TexasRuralWater and @TRWALegislative for industry and legislative news relevant to you!
In Every Issue: Letter from the President
Letter from the Executive Director
Keep it Legal
Answers to your legal questions Answers to your technical questions
TRWAâ€™s Calendar of Events
Texas Rural Water Association Named Association of the Year
Investing in the Future of Rural Texas Water
By Allison Kaminsky, Texas Rural Water Association The National Rural Water Association honored TRWA with its most prestigious award in September.
By Kathleen Jackson, Texas Water Development Board The TWDB offers many resources that benefit rural communities. Read this article by one of the Board Directors on funding solutions that can help!
16 Member Updates from TRWA's District 11
By Zak Hansen, Texas Rural Water Association Tri-SUD Commemorates Golden Anniversary; Cypress Springs SUD Celebrates Long-Time Employee; South Rains SUD Honors Gus Metz at his Retirement; Red River County WSC Celebrates 50 Years of Service
Participate in TRWA's New Leadership Program
TRWA Gets Texas Legislators Involved with Rural Water
By Lara Zent, Texas Rural Water Association TRWA is currently recruiting for our new Leadership Development Program, which will kick off in 2017. Learn more about this great opportunity.
By Allison Kaminsky, Texas Rural Water Association Our Legislative and Legal Services Team have been hard at work in preparation for the 2017 legislative session.
Annual Eminent Domain Filing Begins November 1, 2016; TRWA Awards of Excellence Recognize Those Who Shine Above the Rest; TCEQ Introduces e-App for Licensing; Enter the PH2OTOSTREAM Photo Contest Today Read about career opportunities in your area!
On the Cover: TRWA Accepts State Association of the Year Award at NRWA Annual WaterPro Conference. Quench â€” September / October 2016 3
Greeting Friends and Neighbors, I remember at one time in my life, there were periods where time seemed to slow a bit with only short periods where my days got busy and the nights too short. My life always seemed to return to a slower, more even pace. Well, that feeling of a life at a slower pace was replaced many years ago with busy days and long weeks filled with a variety of things that require my attention and demand decisions. I am sure many of you can relate, or even add to this in many ways. The folks at Texas Rural Water Association are a prime example of life with busy days, long weeks and a variety of things that require their expertise and attention. The more I am involved with Texas Rural Water Association, the more I have found that the work that is done also has a special touch.
“The Texas Rural Water Association excelled in all categories of the award, which can only be accomplished by teamwork, strong leadership and member support.”
A special touch that can only come from an Association that truly cares and gives their best to ensure the decisions and work performed was discussed from many different angles and scenarios. The end result is the best work product possible. This work ethic and service attitude toward its member systems must have been obvious and was noticed by the National Rural Water Association as they voted the Texas Rural Water Association as the State Association of the Year. BOOYAH!!! This award is given to the premier state association that projects a team effort in all areas of professional association operations and membership service. The Texas Rural Water Association excelled in all categories of the award, which can only be accomplished by teamwork, strong leadership and membership support. More information about this award is featured on page 6 of this issue of Quench. Yes, it is thanks to all of you who show support by calling with your questions, attending training classes and participating in our many conferences. It is thanks to your appreciated monetary support as members and in support of our legislative efforts with your PAC contributions. It is thanks to all of these things, along with the hard work performed daily by you and your Texas Rural Water Association. This is how things are done! Congratulations to all of you, let’s keep it up. It’s great to be a Texan! Best Regards,
Pat Allen President Texas Rural Water Association
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Letter from the Executive Director In gearing up for this year’s fall conferences and the 2017 legislative session, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of leadership and all the great leaders we have within our rural water community. At TRWA, we have started planning next year’s annual Convention, and our team has decided “leadership” should be the theme of the conference. Our rural water leaders are visionaries who are planning for the future needs and sustainability of their communities by planning and investing in the water and wastewater resources that are needed now and in the future. As small cities utilize the decertification laws to take away service area, what is happening is a bad business deal for many communities and for the state of Texas as a whole. Water and wastewater service area is being taken away from the entities that are specialists in this field and have invested in the resources to provide these services, in favor of entities that are generalists and often lack the expertise and resources. An important part of what we do at TRWA is represent your interests at the Texas Legislature. We work with legislators to file and pass bills that make good business sense for rural utilities and their communities, and work to thwart legislation that would be harmful. We’re gearing up for the 2017 session, which begins on January 10th, though bill filing begins on November 14th. We have drafted bills and are in the process of seeking bill sponsors addressing the TRWA Board’s three key legislative goals for this next session. Since January, we have had weekly meetings to educate legislatures about the great work that our members do and the challenges they face. Our rural water leaders are also often the change-makers in their communities—taking on leadership roles in many areas besides water and wastewater services. As leaders in your community, you often have personal and professional relationships with the state representatives and senators who represent your community at the Texas Legislature in Austin. These relationships are key to TRWA’s success at the Capitol.
“Our rural water leaders are visionaries who are planning for the future needs and sustainability of their communities...”
Please let me or Erin Selvera know if you have a good relationship with your local state representative or senator. You may be the best person to meet with this individual about our legislative priorities and concerns. Legislators want to hear from their own constituents and local leaders about what they can do in Austin to help their communities at home. Thank you to everyone who has already attended one of our fall conferences, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming Fall Management Conference in Dallas. This is an opportunity for leaders from around the state to meet each other, learn from each other and, hopefully, come back with new knowledge and ideas that will assist you in the great work that you do every day for rural Texas. Warm regards,
Lara Zent Executive Director and General Counsel Texas Rural Water Association Quench — September / October 2016 5
Texas Rural Water Association Named State Association of the Year By Allison Kaminsky, Communications Director, Texas Rural Water Association
e are proud to announce Texas Rural Water Association was named the 2016 State Association of the Year by the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) at its annual WaterPro Conference in September. This award not only highlights the achievements of TRWA, but also honors the efforts of the directors, staff and, most of all, our members that support us! NRWA’s Awards of Excellence were established to recognize the outstanding contributions of the member state affiliates that provide the foundation and structure that is NRWA. The awards recognize state associations in six categories, the most esteemed of which is State Association of the Year. “The most prestigious and most honored award is the State Association of the Year,” said Paul Fulgham, chair of the NRWA Awards Committee. “It is presented to the state association that projects a team effort in all areas of professional association operations and membership service. The State Association of the Year has excelled in all categories of the award and this is only accomplished by teamwork, strong leadership and member support.” “With an active membership of 750 utilities providing water and wastewater to over 2.5 million customers throughout the state, this state is able to offer many resources and programs to benefit their members,” Fulgham said. “Last year, this association trained over 5,100 individuals in all aspects of water and wastewater management through classroom and online courses, regional workshops and conferences.” In addition to the training we provide through our conferences, classroom and online training, other programs highlighted in the nomination included the onsite assistance we provide through our federal contracts with the United States 6
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Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as our state contracts with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Public Utilities Commission. Also emphasized were the legal services we provide to our members, our advocacy and legislative activities, and our ongoing engagement with lawmakers and regulatory staff through one-on-one meetings and committee participation. The efforts of our Foundation to attract new workers to rural water and wastewater jobs and promote our industry to new audiences were included as well. Two of the Foundation’s most successful programs— the Veteran Employment and Scholarship programs—each work to bolster the water and wastewater industry’s workforce in their own ways. Also featured were the network of utilities who participate in our Rural Water Emergency Assistance Cooperative (RWEAC) and our trained first responders who can provide aid to rural systems in the event of an emergency. Last but not least, Quench magazine and its loyal readership did not go without mention. Our successful communications initiatives that connect us with you, including our website and social media efforts, have allowed us to build an active and thriving community out of our member-base. TRWA Executive Director Lara Zent was in attendance at the WaterPro Conference in Orlando, Florida and accepted the award on behalf of the Association. Also present were many of the Association’s onsite assistance staff, as well as TRWA’s Board President Pat Allen, Vice President Brian Macmanus and Director Kent Watson. Watson also serves on NRWA’s Executive Board as Secretary.
TRWA Executive Director Lara Zent accepts the Association of the Year Award during the NRWA WaterPro Tribute to Excellence Ceremony in September.
“I am so honored and excited to share this award with my board and staff. It serves as testament to the great work of our team and our dedication to our members and the rural communities they serve,” said Zent.
Azle Avenue City of Lake Worth, Texas 130,893 Gallons of Potable Water
Nominations are submitted in essay form and are screened for anonymity before being passed along to the awards committee. Any information that could indicate which state is being nominated is removed from the submission before being reviewed and scored by the awards committee. “The sheer size of our state alone makes us truly unique as we bridge a huge geographical gap to bring our programs and resources to our members,” said TRWA Communications Director Allison Kaminsky. “It was not an easy task to nominate TRWA for an award without tipping our hand to the committee as to which state we were from.” Other award recipients at the ceremony included South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems for Outstanding Achievement in Communications, Publications and Public Relations; Ohio Rural Water Association for Outstanding Achievement in Legislative Initiatives; Missouri Rural Water Association for Outstanding Achievement in Technical Assistance; the Rural Water Association of Utah for Outstanding Achievement in Training; and Wisconsin Rural Water Association for Outstanding Achievement in Member Services.
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AND TRUST-AQUASTORE! SEE US AT THE FOLLOWING CONFERENCES: NISTM 9th Annual Conference at the Moody Gardens Hotel in Galveston, TX Booth # 513 on Sept 28-29, 2016 TRWA 2016 Fall Management Conference at the Hilton Palacio del Rio Hotel in San Antonio, TX on Oct 5-6, 2016 TRWA 2016 Fall Management Conference at the Hilton Rockwall Lakefront in Dallas, TX on Nov 2-3, 2016 Phone 903.870.5000 – www.texas-aquastore.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
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Investing in the Future of Rural Texas Water By Kathleen Jackson, Board Member, Texas Water Development Board
nvesting in the future of rural water is a good investment for Texas. Rural communities, while small in size, provide unique and invaluable contributions to our state. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is a long-standing partner of the Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA). Over the past few months, I’ve been traveling around the state meeting with TRWA Board members, seeing first-hand the great work their leadership provides to rural communities to ensure a reliable water supply for the communities they serve. I am proud to see your Board members take a proactive role in planning to meet future water needs. The TWDB has resources available that can benefit rural communities. We have Regional Water Project Development teams, each dedicated to a different region of the state, who help entities navigate projects from inception to reality. Our regional planning teams provide a personalized approach to finding the best financial assistance options for water projects. Communities don’t need to have a project on the books before they call us; come talk to us first, and we can provide guidance on the process. The TWDB’s dedication to rural Texas is strong. In the last 10 years, the TWDB has made nearly 1,100 commitments for almost $12 billion dollars through the agency’s financial assistance programs. More than half of these commitments were for rural entities with populations less than 10,000. For example, two of those many projects were in Argyle and the Lake Palo Pinto area. Planning for the future, the Greater Texoma Utility Authority, on behalf of the Argyle Water Supply Corporation, sought funding from the TWDB for water system improvements that would provide enough water for current demand and projected growth. The TWDB provided a $5,155,000 loan for a new 750,000-gallon ground storage tank and water transmission lines, all part of the Corporation’s 10year capital improvement plan. The project, now completed, enhances water delivery and pressure to customers. 8
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Kathleen Jackson meets with Clay Hodges, Cash SUD general manager and TRWA Immediate Past President. Cash SUD serves Hunt County, Texas.
Similarly, the Lake Palo Pinto Area Water Supply Corporation was in need of additional capacity at its existing water treatment plant. The TWDB provided a $1,480,000 loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to finance construction costs associated with rehabilitating and expanding their water treatment plant. The project includes increasing the capacity of the plant and making additional system improvements. The financial assistance could save the Corporation approximately $255,000 over the life of the loan and helps ensure a dependable water future for the area. The TWDB has numerous financing programs available, and we are excited to be able to offer long-term, cost-effective financing to help keep payments low, multi-year commitments to enable entities to fund projects in stages, and principal forgiveness. One of the many financing programs available for rural communities is the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT)* program. In order to be eligible for SWIFT financing, the entity’s project must be included in the state water plan. A goal of SWIFT is to provide 10 percent of the funds to support projects for rural political subdivisions or agricultural water conservation. Already in the first
Everyone with an interest in Texas water is invited to the Water for Texas 2017 conference. Topics will feature innovative scientific, planning, and financial solutions to water challenges; interactive data and technology; and compelling conversations on water issues that affect all Texans. Water for Texas 2017 January 23–25 Austin, Texas
The Texas Water Development Board provided financial assistance to the Greater Texoma Utility Authority, on behalf of the Argyle Water Supply Corporation, for a new 750,000-gallon ground storage tank.
More information at: http://waterfortexas.twdb.texas.gov
two rounds of SWIFT—the second having been approved in July—$45 million has been committed to rural entities with 10,000 or less in population. Another $967 million has been committed to communities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000.
Conference registration is now open! ***
Safeguarding the future of rural communities is a shared priority between the TWDB and TRWA members. The TWDB is committed to working with you to find the strategic approach that is best for your community. Planning today is critical for the future. Consider the TWDB a partner and resource, and connect with us to learn about all of our financial assistance programs and put a plan in place to finance your short- or long-term water goals. Now is the time to invest in water projects and a bright future for rural Texas!
Kathleen Jackson has served as a Board member for the Texas Water Development Board since March 2014. She is a registered professional engineer with a diverse background representing agricultural, environmental, industrial and wholesale-supply interests. A native of Beaumont, Jackson has three children, sixth-generation Texans, who all reside and work in Texas.
Additional information about financial assistance is available at www.twdb.texas.gov/financial/index. asp. Contact the TWDB at (512) 463-0991 or Financial_Assistance@twdb.texas.gov.
TRWA Ad 2016 (bleeds).pdf 1 2/2/2016 7:57:33 PM
*SWIFT was established by the Texas Legislature and voters in 2013 to fund projects in the state water plan and was created through the transfer of a onetime, $2 billion appropriation from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The $2 billion will be leveraged with revenue bonds over the next 50 years to finance approximately $27 billion in water supply projects. The SWIFT program includes two funds, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). Revenue bonds for the program are issued through SWIRFT. C
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Keep It Legal
Answers to Members’ Questions by Erin Selvera, TRWA Legal and Legislative Services Director
I got notice from the Comptroller that I owe sales tax. I thought our system was tax exempt. What do I do?
A: Texas Tax Code Section 151.355 provides exemptions related to the construction of two types of water or wastewater systems: regional systems certified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and water or wastewater systems constructed or operated as a public-private partnership. This section is typically used by Water Supply Corporations (WSCs), Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) and private contractors that are building a water system in conjunction with a city as a public-private partnership. For WSCs, the first step is to verify whether TCEQ has issued a certification for your system as a regional service provider. The Executive Director has the authority to review, issue, approve and act on certification requests and must do so within 90 days of receipt. Once TCEQ certifies your system as a regional water or wastewater provider, you can claim an exemption on qualifying purchases. Qualifying exempt purchases include purchased or leased equipment, services and supplies. The exemption includes the cost of electricity used to operate equipment that removes water from a river, lake or well; operate equipment that transports water from its source to a storage tank or holding facility before the water is treated; transport water to treatment; or operate water-treating equipment. The exemption also includes dedicated office trailers or other facilities at the job site and all equipment within the office, but only if the equipment is used solely at the regional system site. The Comptroller’s Sales and Use Tax Bulletin for Water and Wastewater Systems provides more details on what is exempt versus items that are taxable, which can be found online at: http:// comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxpubs/tx94_123.pdf. If your WSC utilizes contractors to carry out work for the system, they can also claim the tax exemption for qualifying purchases. However, a contractor should not claim an exemption for any equipment or supplies that will be used on both qualifying and non-qualifying jobs. A contractor that buys equipment for sole use on qualifying jobs that is later used in 12
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a taxable manner should refer to Comptroller Rule 3.318(e) concerning taxable divergent use. Certification as a regional service provider does not automatically entitle a WSC to tax-exempt status for all purchases. For example, sales tax is due on storage tanks, pumps and pipe used to remove water from its source, transport it to a storage tank or processing point and deliver it to a consumer; electricity used to transport water after treatment, such as moving the water to a storage facility or transporting it to the customer; and on items that are merely useful or incidental to the water processing operation. Because of this, the Comptroller will not list regional service providers on their website as taxexempt organizations. To claim the right to make nontaxable purchases, the Comptroller has developed Form 01-339 Texas Sales and Use Tax Resale, the electronic version of which can be found at http:// comptroller.texas.gov/taxinfo/taxforms/01-339.pdf. In addition, a nonprofit WSC may be exempt from paying sales tax on the purchase, lease or rental of tangible personal property and on the purchase of taxable services for projects that are funded by two Texas Water Development Board funds: the Rural Water Assistance Fund (Tex. Water Code Section 15.994(f)) and the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP) (Tex. Water Code Section 17.921(l). Cities and districts are exempt from sales tax on purchases of taxable items sold, leased or rented to, or stored, used or consumed in accordance with Texas Tax Code Section 151.309. In addition, Tax Code Section 151.355(6) allows entities that contract with cities as public-private partnerships an exemption for equipment, services and supplies used solely to construct or operate a water supply or wastewater system. The partnership must be certified by the political subdivision that is a party to the project. For example, a private contractor and a city may have a partnership, which the city certifies, to construct a water and wastewater system to serve new areas within the city. The scope of this exemption is the same as that for certified regional water systems, like many WSCs. The operator of the public-private partnership should provide the construction company with a valid exemption certificate.
Q: Are any of the documents or maps of our system confidential? A: Yes. Texas Government Code Chapter 418 addresses the confidentiality of information related to risk or vulnerability that could be subject to terrorism or related criminal activity. Section 418.181 states that documents or portions of documents in the possession of a governmental entity are confidential if they identify the technical details of particular vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to an act of terrorism. This provision applies to districts, cities and WSCs. If you receive a Public Information Act request for any documents that contain confidential information, you will need to request an attorney general opinion to withhold that information and protect it from disclosure. Under TCEQ rules at 30 Texas Administrative Code Section 1.5(d), a person submitting information to the agency may request that the information be designated as confidential. When submitting confidential information, each claim of confidentiality must be made upon submission, and each page must be stamped "confidential." Otherwise, under TCEQ’s policies, all information collected, including server log information and information submitted on electronic forms, is subject to disclosure to others upon request according to the requirements of the Texas Public Information Act (codified at Texas Government Code, Section 552.011, Vernon's 2000) and the State Government Privacy Policies Act (codified at Texas Government Code, Section 559, Vernon’s 2001). Therefore, to protect this sensitive information from public disclosure, every document that contains information subject to Section 418.181 should be marked confidential before it is sent to the TCEQ or any other state or federal agency. Q: What can we consider in our board meeting closed session/executive session and who can be there? A: An executive session is a meeting or part of a meeting that is closed to the public. The Texas Open Meetings Act (codified in the Texas Government Code Chapter 551) generally requires that meetings of a governmental body be open to the public. However, the Act provides certain narrowly drawn exceptions. Five categories of exceptions generally apply to meetings of WSCs, districts and cities: discussions seeking legal advice from an attorney, deliberations about real property transactions, deliberations about prospective gifts, deliberations about personnel matters and deliberations about security devices or security audits. I’ll focus on the
most common exemptions, such as Section 551.071 that allows a closed meeting when the board is seeking the advice of its attorney. A system may consult with its attorney in executive session to obtain legal advice such as to discuss legal issues raised in connection with awarding a contract; however, it may not discuss policy considerations, such as the merits of a proposed contract, financial considerations or other nonlegal matters. Another common exception to the requirement to hold an open meeting is Section 551.072, which allows a governmental body to conduct a closed meeting to deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person. If your system is negotiating the purchase of an easement or a piece of property to install a well or pump station and the board discussed the critical nature of the price of the property or its location in the presence of the landowner, that discussion could detrimentally affect subsequent negotiations. Another exception often used by WSCs and districts is section 551.074, which allows a governmental body to conduct a closed meeting to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee. There are three key points to remember about this exception. First, deliberations about a class of employees must be held in an open session. Second, closed deliberations about the selection of an independent contractor are not authorized. Third, if the deliberations are about a public officer or employee, they have the right to have the discussion heard in open session. Finally, Section 551.076 allows a governmental body to conduct a closed meeting to deliberate the deployment, or specific occasions for implementation, of security personnel or devices; or a security audit. It is advisable that if your system is installing any new security devices, deliberation about how they work, where they may be installed and how effective they will be should be discussed in a closed session to protect the integrity of their purpose. There are five key points to remember regarding closed meetings in general. First, a governmental body must give the public advance notice of the Continued on page 14 Quench — September / October 2016 13
Continued from page 13
subjects it will consider in an open meeting or a closed executive session. The Open Meetings Act does not require the notice of a closed meeting to cite the section or subsection numbers of provisions authorizing the closed meeting. However, it is advisable to include this information since the presiding officer must announce and identify the section or sections of this chapter under which the closed meeting is held in accordance with Section 551.101. Governmental actions taken in violation of the notice requirements of the Act are voidable. No judicial decision or attorney general opinion states that a governmental body must indicate in the notice whether a subject will be discussed in open or closed session, but some governmental bodies do include this information. If the notices posted for a governmental body’s meetings consistently distinguish between subjects for public deliberation and subjects for executive session deliberation, an abrupt departure from this practice may raise a question as to the adequacy of the notice. Second, the closed session can occur only after a quorum of the governmental body first convenes in an open meeting for which notice has been given as provided by this chapter and during which the presiding officer publicly announces that a closed meeting will be held and identifies the section or sections of this chapter under which the closed meeting is held. Third, no final action can be taken in an executive session. Instead, a final action, decision or vote on a matter deliberated in a closed meeting may only be made in an open meeting that is held in compliance with the notice provisions of Chapter 151.
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Fourth, only board members have a right to attend an executive session. The corporation’s attorney must be present in person or by phone when it meets under Section 551.071. The board has discretion to include in an executive session any person whose participation is necessary to the matter under consideration and whose interests are not contrary to the legal basis for the executive session. Fifth, as discussed in my prior column, a governmental body must make and keep either a certified agenda or a recording of each executive session, except for an executive session held by the governmental body to consult with its attorney. If you have a legal question you would like answered, please email email@example.com. 14
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Member Updates from TRWA's District 11 Compiled by Zak Hansen, Communications Assistant, Texas Rural Water Association
Tri-SUD Commemorates Golden Anniversary
ri-Special Utility District, serving the area and communities surrounding the City of Mount Pleasant, expanding outward into Franklin, Titus and Morris Counties, celebrated in April its 50th anniversary. In 1965, 267 families living north and west of Mount Pleasant, Texas, joined together to form the Tri-Water Supply Corporation, a nonprofit organization purposed to develop a centralized water system. Organized under Article 1434a of the 1925 Revised Civil Statutes of Texas, the system was funded with a Farmers Home Administration loan of $270,000, and began operations in fall 1966. The original system consisted of two plants, Ripley and Oakgrove, with water purchased from the neighboring City of Mount Pleasant, sourced from the nearby Lake Bob Sandlin. Within five years of its creation, the system had expanded to provide service to Cookville, Coopers Chapel, Argo, Rocky Branch, Cason and Chapel Hill. In 1976, the system was boosted with a $1.73 million FHA loan and a $200,000 grant for the creation of additional distribution lines and plants; the John B. Stevens, Franklin, Kaylor, East First Street and Meadows Curve plants were constructed with these funds. A third sizable addition was made to the system in 1978, when loans and grants totaling $560,00 and $570,000, respectively, paid for the construction of the Rocky Branch, Concord and Cookville plants and an overhaul of the original Oakgrove Plant. In November 2002, Tri-Water Supply Corporation became Tri-Special Utility District—Tri-SUD for short—to match the growth and improvements made in the system’s then-40-year history. To keep up with expansive customer growth, additional master meters were installed to deliver more water from the City of Mount Pleasant to outlying consumers, and a number of new plants have been constructed to meet needs. More recent improvements include the Midway, Roach and East First plants, as well as Plant Nos. 14, 15, 17 and 18, with Plant 16 still to be built. A full 50 years from its original 267 families and 16
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At Tri-SUD's 50th anniversary celebration, Texas Rep. Bryan Hughes awarded a flag flown over the Capitol to Board President C.W. Forsythe. Around 150 people attended the celebration.
two plants, the Tri-SUD system of today comprises 15 plant sites and storage tanks and more than 600 miles of distribution lines. That infrastructure allows Tri-SUD to distribute an average of 35 million gallons of water each month to more than 5,200 residential and 150 commercial users.
Cypress Springs SUD Celebrates Long-Time Employee
n July 1 of this year, Gail Kerr celebrated her 30th anniversary as office manager for Cypress Springs Special Utility District. The system threw a party in her honor to commemorate the occasion. Board and staff attended, and gave her many gifts, including an engraved watch from the system. Gail was kind enough to answer a few questions about her life, years of service to Cypress Springs SUD and her experiences in the industry. Where are you from? I was born in Franklin County (Mt. Vernon) and have lived in a little community called Purley for the past 65 years and counting.
Where did you work before Cypress Springs Special Utility District? I was a stay-at-home mom for a few years, then my parents, husband and I went into business operating a Country Store in Purley for five years. My mother and I mainly ran the store, with my husband helping out when he would get off work. We kept the store open six and a half days a week, keeping extremely long hours with very little time off. We decided it was more than we could take care of and still be involved in our children’s activities, so it was with sadness we closed the store. How did you get involved with the system and come to work there? A couple months after closing the store, I started to look for a part-time job…I stopped in the water office to pay my water bill and was visiting with the office manager, who had worked there a long time. When I told her I was out looking for a part-time job, she asked if I would be interested in working there. I said I would, and started work the next week. When I started to work I took payments, answered the phone and took over the responsibility of doing the billing for a water system adjoining us, which later merged with our system. Within a couple of months I went full time, then a few months later I suddenly found myself alone in the office, because the office manager suddenly left her position. Needless to say, it was an extremely rough transition trying to learn jobs I hadn’t been shown. In what ways have you seen your system grow/ change since you’ve been there? Since starting part-time in January 1986, then going to full time in July 1986, we have changed our name from South Franklin Water Supply to South Franklin Water Supply Corporation to Cypress Springs Water Supply Corporation, and now to Cypress Springs Special Utility District. We have gone from one water treatment plant to three. CSSUD has purchased or merged with these developments and other water systems, growing our CCN area to include Tall Tree (Lake Development), Kings Country (Lake Development), Saltillo WS, North Franklin WS, Parkview WS and Pelican Bay (development). When I started working and billing in 1986, we billed approximately 1,200 customers, and have grown to 4,646 today. What is your favorite part of your job? One of my favorite parts of my job has always been having a good working relationship with my fellow employees, management and our
In July, Cypress Springs SUD celebrated Gail Kerr's (center) 30th anniversary as office manager for the system.
Board of Directors. I have learned, especially in the early years, the strength and growth of your system depends on a knowledgeable manager, an informative board that sees to the interests of the customers as well as the system, and employees who work together for the good of the water system. You cannot have a smooth-running water system if everyone isn’t doing their job. Do you have any advice for others in your industry and/or those just starting out? I will say up front it takes a certain type of person to work in the water business. There are no two days that are the same. When you think you have heard every type of question there is, a new one will be asked. You never know what will happen when you answer the phone. I can truly say to expect the unexpected every day and you won’t be disappointed. It is not an easy job, but it can be a rewarding one, especially when you get that urgent call that water is running in a customer's house—and we can take care of the ASAP. When I look back over these past 30 years, I have been blessed to have come in contact with so many people. Who do you come home to? I am so blessed to come home to the love of my life, my husband Ray, to whom I have been married for 47 years and counting—if he can continue to put up with me. Tell me about your family. Ray and I have two children, Jason and Amber. Jason is a graduate of Baylor University and a behavior specialist, and his wife Brandy is a fifthgrade teacher. They both work in Mexia, Texas, and have one child, Katie Jean, three-years old and one Continued on page 18 Quench — September / October 2016 17
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of our three grandchildren. Our daughter Amber attended NTCC in Mt. Pleasant and works in the medical field. She and her husband Chris live near Mt. Vernon and have two children, Kristen, a junior at Mt. Vernon High School, and Kody, a freshman who also attends Mt. Vernon High School.
fifth-wheel travel trailer until January, then move to Shelton, Washington. Where did you work before South Rains SUD? I worked for a plastic company in Indianapolis. I worked there for 49 years and was even the President of the company before retiring and moving to the Emory, Texas area.
What do you do in your free time?
How did you get involved with South Rain SUD?
I try to spend as much time as possible with our grandchildren, whether it be watching our granddaughter Kristen play volleyball, our grandson Kody’s activities, or trying to visit our little granddaughter Katie Jean, who lives three hours away. I do love to cook and try to prepare as many meals as possible for the upcoming week, since I go in early in the mornings on work days to get out ahead before the day begins. One of my favorite things to do is get up early on the weekend and sit outside in the spring and fall, when the weather is so nice, and just drink coffee and listen to the peaceful noises that living in the country brings.
When I came in to sign up for water services, the people in the office told me they needed board members, so I signed up to be on the ballot; since no one else signed up, I was elected to the board of directors.
South Rains SUD Honors Gus Metz at his Retirement
outh Rains Special Utility District bid farewell to Gus Metz at his retirement party on August 23, 2016. Gus, 92, previously served on the system's board of directors and subsequently worked as the system's general manager for over 10 years. TRWA Circuit Rider Paul King was fortunate enough to sit down with Gus and ask him a few questions about his history. What do you like about the water business? You get to meet a lot of interesting people, and you meet some people you wish you hadn’t met. How much has your system grown? From 700 connections to more than 1,000. What are your plans for retirement? Since [my wife and I] sold [our] house in Emory, we are going to live on Lake Fork in our daughter’s 18
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How old were you when you were placed on the board of directors? Around 80 years old. How did you become GM of South Rains SUD? Six months after I became a director, the manager quit. Since I was the only one retired, I volunteered to watch the system until we found a suitable replacement. We did not find a suitable replacement, and I was having so much fun running the water system I asked the board if I could have the job, and they said yes. What is the best advice you could give to water system managers? Follow the rules and take care of your employees—they are the ones who make you look good. What is the way you have found to deal with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)? Follow the rules and you will have no problems with TCEQ. What are your thoughts about TRWA? They always give good advice and supply you with the tools you need to run your water system properly. When we have had legal problems in the past, the legal department has been very helpful. What is the biggest change you have made to South Rains SUD? When I took over as manager, South Rains was not being run like a business—it was run more on the good ol’ boy system. I am proud to say that South Rains is run like a business now, and we converted to a special utility district.
Red River County WSC Celebrates 50 Years of Service
Left to right: Wendell Davis, general manager; Betty Kelsoe, office manager; and Deadra Baird, bookkeeper. Kelsoe is Red River County WSC’s longest-serving employee with 30 years’ experience.
ed River County Water Supply Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary of service to its members Monday, October 10.
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Other directors of the nine-member board are Bruce Scott, Harvey Carter, Courtney Huddleston, James Welch, Dr. Robert Maroney and Leonard Simington, Jr.
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Current board members of Red River County WSC are: John Ragsdill, president; Billy Mitchell, vice president; and Tanny Emery, secretary-treasurer.
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A Q&A column with TRWA Technical Assistance Director Larry Bell
We are a district and have a customer who had a house rented to someone, but chose to keep the billing in his name and not have his renter put the bill in their name. They had a leak and it caused the bill to be in excess of $1,400. We gave them a leak adjustment, which cut the bill down to just over $900. Our customer is refusing to pay the bill unless we "split" the balance with him and has basically said “do what we need to do, he isn't paying it.” Our policy has always been to move the balance onto their main account if a bill was left unpaid. I am unable to find where this is written; can you point me in a direction to look, please? I know of other water systems who send a notice to their customer in a situation like this telling them they will lock off the service to their other accounts if it is not paid.
a requirement for service, the owner/member is ultimately responsible for keeping the account balance current, as well as all other accounts they have with the corporation. If the owner opts to allow for an alternate billing agreement, we recommend the WSC give notice to the owner of any delinquencies prior to disconnection and a notification fee can be charged to the account in accordance with the provisions of the corporation’s tariff. Additionally, the TRWA Sample Tariff provides for notice to renters five days prior to the scheduled disconnection date if the owner/member opts to cancel membership and discontinue service to an occupied property. Q: While updating our tariff compared to TRWA's, we had a situation arise: A member is selling property with a transfer of membership. She told us she is transferring and what her last day would be, but said nothing about the transferee. We locked the meter until the transferee shows up wanting water, but how long a time period should the membership remain in limbo like that if they do not immediately request service and no bill is going out?
"The TRWA Sample Tariff provides for notice to renters five days prior to the scheduled disconnection date if the owner/member opts to cancel membership and discontinue service to an occupied property.”
A: Typically, a district can't require a land owner to be held responsible for tenant/renter water bills. In this situation, because the owner signed the service agreement and chose to keep the bill in his name as the responsible party, it is his obligation to pay the remaining balance. He has the option to have the tenant reimburse him for the costs. Also, there is no rule or statute that allows a district to disconnect “other” water services because one of their service locations becomes delinquent. The district should discuss with the owner the need to have the service in their tenant’s name to prevent this situation in the future. This may also be one of those times when your board may want to consider filing some type of “small claims court action” against the owner if they do not pay. As for removing the leak adjustment from the current billing offered to this customer, that is up to you and the board. If you were a WSC, because membership is 20
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A: If the current member comes to sign or delivers the properly completed and signed transfer paperwork, then their part is over unless the transfer form requires them to include the new member information on that form. Since the member didn’t provide anything other than when they were leaving, it was good practice to do a final reading and lock the meter. The TRWA Sample Tariff Section 10 (c.)(4) allows for 10 days to provide the proper paperwork before service is disconnected. The system has to wait until the new owner comes by or the new member packet is completed and sent to you. Once you get all of the paperwork back, verify it is properly completed and the
necessary fees, such as the reconnect and CSI fees, are paid, the meter can be unlocked. Until then, the meter should stay locked. During the time the meter is locked, the WSC can’t legally charge the old member nor the new member any monthly minimum/base rate because they don’t have the ability to use the water. Whether they wait one week or one year before requesting the meter be unlocked, it is up to the new owner to decide they need service, provide the WSC with the properly completed paperwork and pay all the fees due. Q: I was wondering if you may know at what pressure most small water companies like us control their system operating pressure? We are aware of the TCEQ rule of a minimum of 35 pound per square inch (PSI). Our plant has operated at 55-60 PSI for many years. However, we are thinking of lowering our pressure to the 45-50 PSI range. We plan on doing this in 2-3 PSI increments until we arrive at the lower pressure. Since we have about 200 connections, with the last connection less than 1 mile from the plant, we feel we can do this with no problem. We would, of course, make sure there was no adverse effect on our customers and that the pressure at the end of the line exceeded the TCEQ standard.
higher customer elevations, but was that pressure reading at a time when not all customers were at home and using any water? Lowering your pressures may cause some customers’ pressures to fall below the 35 PSI requirement. It is important the pressure can be maintained when all customers are using water. This is where an engineering pressure model of the system would be beneficial to determine how low the system could set their system tank pressure and still maintain the required 1.5 GPM and 35 PSI to all customers. This process may have already been done by an engineer, and it could be that the current pressure settings are the correct settings for your system. I would verify what your engineering reports say or conduct the necessary tests before lowering your system’s pressure. If you have a technical question you would like answered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A: I’ve seen pressures leaving water plants from 40 PSI to 120 PSI due to elevations, customer demands, line sizes being too small and so on. Each system is different. Just as you said, it is only 1 mile to the last customers on your system. The vast majority of systems in rural areas have customers that are 10 to 30 miles from their water plants or elevated storage tanks. Not knowing the elevations of the water plant site and the customers within your system, I can’t know exactly if you can lower the pressure in your system or by how much. Each system is required to provide continuous and adequate pressure to all customers at all times during the day. You’ve probably already done so, but a pressure recording should be completed at each customer’s meter location at the highest locations in the system while some flush valve is open to represent multiple customers using water at the same time. TCEQ rule Section 290.44(d) states that systems have to maintain a minimum pressure of 35 PSI at all points within the distribution network at flow rates of at least 1.5 gallons per minute per connection. You may be able to maintain 35 PSI at these Quench — September / October 2016 21
Participate in TRWA's New Leadership Development Program By Lara Zent, Executive Director and General Counsel, Texas Rural Water Association
o you know any young leaders within your utility or community who would be interested in playing an integral role in the future of the Association and the Texas rural water industry? Let us know! We are currently recruiting for our new Leadership Development program, which will kick off in 2017. Participants in this program will receive leadership and advocacy training by TRWA, and would also have opportunities to get involved with the association at a larger level. These young leaders will have input on TRWA committees, may be invited to contribute articles for Quench, or even asked to present at conferences. We are looking for energetic and engaged individuals who are interested in leading efforts such as organizing meet-and-greet events with local state leaders and attending local high school and college career events to promote careers in our industry. “In the next 10–12 years, many of our current industry leaders will be retiring, so it is important
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to train and cultivate our future leaders,” said Chris Boyd, TRWA’s Board Secretary and Chair of the new Leadership Development Committee. In the same vein, we are also recruiting individuals to run for Alternate Director positions on TRWA's Board. Of the 14 TRWA districts, only three currently have alternate directors. Any employee or board member of a TRWA member system is eligible to run, and we are discussing ways to make these positions more meaningful and engaging for those serving in these roles. Filling these positions is vital to the continuity of knowledge during Board member transitions and, historically, has often resulted in future board members of our Association. If you are interested in the Leadership Program and/or serving as an Alternate Director on TRWA’s Board, please contact TRWA’s Executive Director, Lara Zent, at email@example.com or at (512) 4728591.
find it. service it. document it. boost productivity.
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TRWA Gets Texas Legislators Involved with Rural Water By Allison Kaminsky, Communications Director, Texas Rural Water Association
n the March/April issue of Quench, we ran an article about how we are putting your PAC dollars to work in anticipation of the fast-approaching 2017 legislative session. At that time, we were already busy at the Capitol making connections and laying the groundwork necessary to forward our upcoming legislative agenda. The same holds true today, and our Legislative and Legal Services team's efforts have kicked into high gear as session draws closer and closer. We have continued to meet with key legislators and their staff throughout the summer and into the fall to discuss issues that are important to the Association and our members. We have also had the opportunity to get them directly involved with our members. In September, we visited with Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11) on his home turf in Kingsland, Texas. TRWA hosted a lunch for Conaway, who is the chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, and presented him with PAC funds to show our support. At the luncheon, representatives from Kingsland WSC, Conaway's district office and consulting firm, and TRWA Board and staff were able to talk at length about the big picture issues facing our state and nation, and how important water is to the future of both. Lunch was followed by a tour of Kingsland WSC's new treatment plant, led by Kingsland WSC's General Manager Leonard Leinfelder and Board
Texas Rep. Tracy King (center, bottom row) joined TRWA Board and staff for dinner in San Antonio in October.
President Danny Stone. During the tour, Conaway got to see first-hand the benefits of USDA funding, without which the plant would not have been possible. Several of the system employees were able to get face time with Conaway, as they gave him a history of the system, educated him about the treatment process, and discussed the issue of operator passage rates on exams. In October, Texas Rep. Tracy King accepted our invitation to give a legislative preview and keynote at our Fall Management and Districts Conferences in San Antonio. The evening prior to the conferences, King joined TRWA Board and staff for dinner where we presented him with funds from our PAC. The following morning, King gave our members a look into what the hot-button issues are going to be in the upcoming session, and then fielded questions from the audience. King tackled questions on a variety of topics, resulting in some great discussion on CCNs, eminent domain and groundwater issues. We are looking forward to having Texas Rep. Kyle Kacal speak at our upcoming Fall Management Conference in Dallas, and we plan to have more opportunities for our members to engage with legislators in the future.
Kingsland WSC hosted a system tour for Congressman Mike Conaway (fourth from left) and TRWA Board and staff in September. 24
Quench â€”September / October 2016
Keep an eye out in upcoming issues of Quench for legislative updates and news that can impact you. For more information on the Texas Rural Water PAC and to make a contribution, please visit our website at www.trwa.org or give us a call at (512) 472-8591.
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TRWA Briefs Annual Eminent Domain Filing Begins November 1, 2016
minent Domain filing for 2017 begins November 1, 2016, and runs through February 1, 2017. All entities with this authority, including water and wastewater supply corporations, water districts and cities, are required to file this yearly report with the Texas Comptroller or face penalties of up to $2,000 for noncompliance. This requirement was set forth in Senate Bill 1812 by the 2015 Texas Legislature to help the Comptroller update and maintain their eminent domain authority database. Water districts and water supply corporations derive eminent domain authority from Water Code Chapter 49 and general law cities primarily from Local Government Code Chapter 251. Investorowned utilities do not have eminent domain authority. Although the filing requirement is fairly straightforward, some systems may not have all the information necessary for this filing due to incomplete or missing office records or loss of institutional knowledge with employee and board turnover. For other systems, this requirement will be burdensome because it’s something else they have to keep track of. Texas Rural Water Association began offering an eminent domain filing service last year to assist systems with this new state mandate, and will continue this service for 2017. Subscribers from last year will only need to fill out an update/change form with TRWA, and our staff will do the rest! If you did not sign up for this service last year, we have a quick and easy enrollment on our website at www.trwa. org. Once you sign up for the service, TRWA will continue to timely file the reports each year, unless a subscribing system cancels the service. Subscribing systems will not have to worry about forgetting or missing the deadline and being assessed penalties. If an entity fails to report by the February 1, 2017 deadline, the Comptroller will notify the entity it has 30 days to report or be subject to a civil penalty of $1,000. If the entity does not report within another 30 days after the initial notice, the Comptroller will issue another notification with an additional $1,000 penalty. TRWA members that subscribe will be charged 26
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$150 for the first year of this service, and $100 for subsequent years. The service for nonmembers is $200 for the first year, and $150 each year thereafter. There will be an added charge for last minute subscribers, who sign up on or after January 15, 2017, so don’t wait to sign up! For more information or to subscribe to this service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-472-8591. A link to the online subscription form is available at www.trwa.org.
TRWA Awards of Excellence Recognize Those Who Shine Above the Rest
s you may have read in our last issue, TRWA has made some big changes to our Awards of Excellence this year, upping the ante on our individual awards and adding two new system-wide awards into the mix in 2017. Our individual awards are still meant to recognize the shining stars of our member utilities, though this year we have expanded the eligibility of our categories to include more system personnel. The 2017 awards will now be given in the categories of Excellence in System Management, Excellence in Administration and Excellence in Operations. The Excellence in System Management award allows for the recognition of any utility manager who exemplifies exceptional leadership and oversight skills. The Excellence in Administration award is meant for all supporting personnel whose hard work and dedication keep their utility’s office administration running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. The Excellence in Operations award is designed to recognize any personnel who are instrumental in the utility's technical operations and go above and beyond the call of duty in their work.
We are also excited to announce that we will be giving out two system-wide awards for Excellence in Community Outreach, one for small systems serving 1,500 connections or fewer and another for large systems serving more than 1,500 connections. Both awards, sponsored by Master Meter, are designed to applaud utilities that have made significant efforts to engage their communities. No initiative is too big or small, as long as it gets you results! Use this opportunity to showcase your hard work and share your ideas with your industry peers who can learn from your successes.
on the Occupational Licensing main page. Paper applications will continue to be accepted for those individuals who have no access to a computer. There will be a six-month grace period where TCEQ will be gradually phasing in the preapproval process using the e-Application and working with users on issues and improvements. The goal is to have only preapproved applicants in exam sessions by March 1, 2017. In order to accomplish this goal, e-Applications must be submitted by January 1, 2017 in order to have applications preapproved barring any deficiencies in the application.
All award winners will be honored at RuralWaterCon in March and will be featured in the spring issue of this magazine. Individual winners will each receive a $500 prize and a commemorative plaque, and their nominating system will receive a free registration for any employee to attend a 2017 TRWA conference of their choice. The systemwide winners will each receive a $1,000 prize and commemorative plaques.
Using the new process, here are the steps to follow to obtain an occupational license:
It is now easier than ever to complete your nomination! We have simplified the nomination form and essays, and also created a way that you can easily re-nominate someone who did not win in a previous year. Please remember that eligibility is limited to TRWA member utilities and their employees. Former award winners are not eligible for individual awards. Nomination forms have been mailed to all TRWA member utilities, and you can also submit your nomination online at www.trwa.org. All entries must be postmarked or delivered by December 15, 2016 to be considered. If you have any questions about the nomination form or the awards process, please contact the TRWA Communications Department at (512) 4728591 or email email@example.com.
TCEQ Introduces e-App for Licensing
he Occupational Licensing section at TCEQ is introducing a new way of applying for a license. E-Application, or e-App, is their new online application form, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In conjunction with the e-Application, TCEQ will be transitioning to a preapproval process before applicants can sit for exams. The e-App can be accessed online at https:// www20.tceq.texas.gov/occlic/ and can also be found
1. Make sure you meet all the licensing requirements and have all the supporting documentation. Visit www.tceq.texas.gov/ licensing for details. 2. Complete and submit an online application using e-App for Licensing. You’ll pay the application fee during the online process. Most licenses cost $111. 3. Wait. In 6 to 8 weeks, you’ll receive an approval letter in the mail or a deficiency letter asking you to clear a few things up. 4. Once you receive an approval letter, you can register to take your exam! 5. Pass the exam! You get up to four attempts or one year, whichever comes first, so don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam the first time. 6. Your license will be issued within a few days upon passing the exam. To find out more about e-App, visit www.tceq. texas.gov/licensing/eapp. If you have questions about this new process, contact TCEQ at licenses@ tceq.texas.gov or call 512-239-6133.
Enter the PH2OTOSTREAM Photo Contest Today
e are proud to announce the third annual PH2OTOSTREAM photo contest is now accepting entries! As part of our continuous efforts to shine a spotlight on the past, present and future of rural water, we need your help.
H2OTOSTREAM is our response to a need for images from, and for, rural Texas—a way to share the contributions of rural Texas water and wastewater systems with the greater public. This photography contest will provide both TRWA Continued on page 28 Quench — September / October 2016 27
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and TRWF with images to use freely throughout all communications and promotions. Ask yourself: what do you see when you look at the utility responsible for your drinking water and/or wastewater treatment? Who are the people working to provide these services to rural Texas, and how do they do it? Do you have any historical images representing how far we have come from the days of hand pumps and buckets? Contest categories under consideration include: • • • •
Rural Texas Water: A general category for images representing the rural water and wastewater utility industry Water Infrastructure: Images of the technology that drives water utilities Utility Operators in Action: Images depicting utility personnel working in the field Rural Water History: Images that provide a pictorial history of rural water. If you have images of your system’s ground-breaking, your original board, historically significant artifacts, etc., we encourage you to scan your images and send them in!
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Each category winner will receive a $50 cash prize and be spotlighted in a future issue Quench. The Grand Prize winner will be selected from the category winners and will also receive a matted and framed print of their photo. All finalists will receive a letter of recognition, and all entered photos may be featured on Association and Foundation program materials, websites and social media, and will be credited to the photographer. All entry packages must be received by January 15, 2017 to be eligible. Winners will be notified in mid-February, and highlighted in the spring issue of this magazine. For more information about this contest, including eligibility requirements, rules and guidelines, and to download a contest release and entry form, please visit the Texas Rural Water Foundation’s website at www.texasrwf.org or the Texas Rural Water Association's website at www. trwa.org. If you have any questions or inquiries about the contest or rules, you may call the TRWA Communications Department at (512) 472-8591 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, Photo Contest Inquiry.
Classified Ads South Sabine Water Supply Corporation General Manager South Sabine WSC is seeking a qualified individual to fill the position of General Manager. This position reports directly to the Board of Directors. South Sabine Water Supply has approximately 875 water meters and is located in South Sabine County Texas in the community of Fairmount. Minimum Requirements: High School Diploma or equivalent, plus 5 years job related experience. As a minimum, must hold and maintain a current "C" Groundwater and Distribution License. Five years managerial or administrative experience supervising employees is required, with references. Must have knowledge of State and Federal rules and regulations that affect the Corporation. Must have a high degree of organizational ability, along with above average friendly customer relations skills. Excellent computer skills needed; Microsoft Word and Excel are a plus. The GM is responsible for all supervisory, management and administrative functions required to operate South Sabine WSC accordance with procedures outlined in the current Corporation Bylaws. Salary and benefits are substantial and intended to attract exceptional candidates. Our customers are mixed with weekend homes and many retired folks, along with permanent residents. With the proximity of Toledo Bend Lake it makes a great place to live with taxes being below average. South Sabine Water Supply Corp is an equal opportunity employer To apply, please email resume to Jesse.Hartley@ yahoo.com or mail resume to: South Sabine Water Supply, Attn: Jesse Hartley, 807 Fairdale Rd, Hemphill, Texas 75948. Please confirm mailed resume to above email address.
Texas Rural Water Association Water and Wastewater Instructors TRWA is currently accepting resumes for full-time, part-time and contract-based Water and Wastewater Instructors. Individuals are required to possess TCEQ approval as an instructor in the areas of Water, Wastewater and Customer Service Inspections. Successful candidates must be knowledgeable of current TCEQ Rules and Regulations, such as Chapters 217, 290, 291, and PUC Chapter 24, as well as applicable EPA SDWA and Clean Water Act regulations. Qualifications: Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be considered: • Have at least 60 hours of classroom instructional experience or have completed the following training: • 40 hour – Methods of Teaching or Effective Instructional Techniques; and • 40 hour - Organization and Use of Training Materials or Instructional Design and Evaluation. • Have a class B (or higher) Water, Wastewater, and Customer Service Inspection license. • Be familiar with TCEQ operator critical operating tasks for water, wastewater and customer service inspections. • Have at least three years of applicable hands-on experience in subjects to be taught. • Be a clear and effective communicator with the ability to relate detailed technical information. • Be familiar with Microsoft Office Suite, including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. • Be able to enter data into database programs and/ or spreadsheets. • Be able to develop online courses and assist in maintaining or updating existing online courses. Familiarity with Articulate software preferred. • Be willing to travel extensively across Texas. • Pass pre-employment drug test and submit to future random drug test. • Have a good driving record and able to maintain a valid driving license. • No prior convictions of any federal offenses. To Apply, email cover letter, resume and salary requirements to email@example.com or mail to TRWA, Attn: Training Department / Instructor Position, 1616 Rio Grande, Austin, Texas 78701.
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Classified Ads City of Port Arthur Engineering Designer III The City of Port Arthur seeks a knowledgeable, creative individual to serve as Engineering Designer III. The successful individual will provide technical and administrative staff assistance to the Director (and Assistant Director) of Utility Operations. Essential duties include, but are not limited to, planning, supervision and coordination of activities of the Utility Operations Department, including plan design and specifications, project cost estimates for water and sewer line tasks, as well as utility maintenance and utility engineering. Any combination of experience and training equivalent to eight years of increasingly responsible experience in the administration of potable water treatment, wastewater treatment and maintenance operations, including three years of supervisory experience. Possession of a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or sanitary engineering, or a related field. Preference may be given to individuals with experience in the management of wastewater and/or potable water treatment operations; possession of TCEQ or equivalent Class C Wastewater License or above. The successful applicant should have hands-on experience operating Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment Plants: a 9.2 MGD, a 2.75 MGD, and a .3 MGD. The salary range is from $60,510/yr. - $75,266/yr. (DOE&Q) with an excellent fringe benefits package. Qualified applicants should submit an online application, available at www.portarthur.net under the Employment tab; or submit a letter of interest, a résumé, and a Disclosure and Release Form to: CITY OF PORT ARTHUR, Attn: Human Resources Analyst, P.O. Box 1089, Port Arthur, Texas 77641-1089. You may also submit by email to cheryl.gibbs@ portarthurtx.gov, or by fax to (409) 983-8282. (EEO/AA/V/F/RC/H)
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City of Port Arthur Treatment Plant Operator
The City of Port Arthur seeks a licensed Treatment Plant Operator to fill a vacancy in its Wastewater Treatment Plant to effectively supervise the operations, maintenance and staff of a wastewater treatment plant. Qualified applicants must possess a Class C, or higher, wastewater treatment certificate of competency issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and have the ability to obtain Class A certification. Applicants must have a minimum of four years of experience in wastewater treatment plant operations and collection system maintenance, including two years supervisory experience. Possession of, or the ability to obtain, a valid Texas Commercial Driver’s License is required. The most-qualified applicant should have hands-on experience operating Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment Plants: We have a 9.2 MGD, a 2.75 MGD, and a .3 MGD. Salary ranges from $41,086/yr. - $51,215/yr. (DOE&Q) with an excellent fringe benefit package. Qualified applicants should submit an online application, (along with current water licensure), available at www. portarthur.net under the Employment tab; or submit a letter of interest, a résumé, TCEQ license, and a Disclosure and Release Form to: CITY OF PORT ARTHUR, Attn: Human Resources Analyst, P.O. Box 1089, Port Arthur, Texas 77641-1089. You may also submit by email to cheryl.gibbs@ portarthurtx.gov, or by fax to (409) 983-8282. (EEO/F/H/AA/RC/ADA/V)
Southwest Water Company Multiple Positions
SouthWest Water Company has various openings for Water/Wastewater Operators, Water/Wastewater Field Technicians and Maintenance Technicians in the following areas: Pflugerville/Austin, Boerne/San Antonio, Benbrook, Conroe, Mabank and Pottsboro. Positions perform routine checks of the facilities, maintenance and field customer service; as well as help ensure compliance with governing agencies' regulations. SouthWest Water Company offers • $1,000 sign-on bonus for licensed operators • Company vehicle (select locations) • Competitive salary commensurate with experience • Exemplary benefits package including Medical, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance, Short and Long Term Disability, Long Term Care, 401(k) & Sick Pay • Generous vacation and holiday schedule • Training and education allowance • Performance and certification rewards • Referral bonuses • Employee Service Awards Requirements: TCEQ water and/or wastewater license, advanced skills and technical knowledge of water and/ or wastewater treatment, HS diploma or GED, 1-2 years’ related experience; water and/or wastewater operations and maintenance experience. Apply at: https://swwtx.applicantpro.com/jobs/.
Plan Ahead CONFERENCES: November 2-3, 2016
Fall Management Conference, Dallas, Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront
January 2-3, 2017
TRWA/TWCA Water Law Seminar, Austin, Doubletree by Hilton
March 29-31, 2017
RuralWaterCon 2017, Austin, Renaissance Hotel
OPERATOR TRAINING COURSES: Water Credit Courses
Water Laboratory: San Antonio, Dec. 6-8
Water and Wastewater Credit Courses
Chlorinator Maintenance: Harlingen, Nov.15-17 Customer Service Inspections: Riverside, Nov. 29-30 Pump and Motor Maintenance: San Antonio, Nov. 15-17 Bartlett, Nov. 29–Dec. 1 Harlingen, Dec. 6-8 Valve and Hydrant Maintenance: San Antonio, Nov. 1-3 Utility Management: San Antonio, Nov. 8-10 Utility Safety: Mesquite, Nov. 8-10
Wastewater Credit Courses
Basic Wastewater: Bartlett, Dec. 6-8
Public Funds Investment Act Training PFIA Initial: Rockwall, Nov. 1 PFIA Renewal: Rockwall, Nov. 1
PITTSBURG TANK & TOWER MAINTENANCE CO., INC.
We have a crew in YOUR AREA! Inspections Wet Dry ROV
Repair In Service Cleaning Paint Insulation
New & Used
ROV inspections can be viewed on TV console During inspection & DVD provided. All inspections Include bound reports, recommendations, and cost estimates.
(270) 826-9000 x 4601 (270) 826-9000 x 1001 270-748-1325
AIA Insurance Agency......................................... Page 15 American Flow Control.................................................23 Childress Engineers......................................................19 Chlorinators Incorporated............................................29 CROM..............................................................................14 Daniel & Brown, Inc.......................................................19 DN Tanks........................................................................23 Ferguson Waterworks...................................................25 Global Treat....................................................................28 Hayes Engineering........................................................26 HD Supply...................................................................... 11 KSA Engineers.................................................................9 Maguire Iron...................................................................21 Pittsburg Tank & Tower Maintenance Co., Inc............31 RG3 Meters..............................................................10, 22 Russell Drilling Co., Inc................................................30 Schaumburg and Polk...................................................14 Smith Pump Co., Inc......................................................23 Tabor & Associates, Inc................................................23 Tank Connection............................................................19 Texas Aquastore..............................................................7 TraC-N-Trol, Inc..............................................................19 USA Bluebook................................................ Back Cover Quench — September / October 2016 31
1616 Rio Grande| Austin, TX 78701-1122 Telephone: (512) 472-8591 | Fax: (512) 472-5186 www.trwa.org