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QUALITY ON TAP! September/October 2013

Texas Rural Water Foundation Accepts Two Veterans into Employment Program Also Inside: Cash SUD Celebrates its 50th Anniversary Do You Know Anyone Who Deserves a TRWA Award of Excellence? Can Parasitic Worms Get into Drinking Water?



Officers James Morrison Clay Hodges Pat Allen Tommy Carswell Scott Adams

President Huntsville (At-Large) Vice President Greenville (Dist. 7) Treasurer Marion (Dist. 5) Secretary Lufkin (Dist. 14) Immediate Past President Ft. Davis (Dist. 2)

District Directors John Frantz Chris Boyd Michael Taylor Brian Macmanus Charles Beseda Vacant Barry Miller Kevin Spence Roy Perkins Bill Goheen Kent Watson

Hartley (Dist. 1) Aubrey (Dist. 3) Brownwood (Dist. 4) Harlingen (Dist. 6) Penelope (Dist. 8) District 9 Gonzales (Dist. 10) Franklin (Dist. 11) Kaufman (Dist. 12) Mabank (Dist. 13) Bryan (Dist. 15)

At-Large Directors Kent Smith Vacant

Itasca At-Large

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! - September/October 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! 12






By Bill Goheen, East Cedar Creek FWSD Bill Goheen writes about the communications process between professional engineers through the completion of a project.

In Every Issue: Letter from the Executive Director


Ask Larry


Rural Water Foundation Accepts Two Veterans 12 Texas into Employment Program By Jessica Noelke and Rashedah Mohammed, Texas Rural Water Foundation Trevor Allen and Robert Lingenfelter are the first veterans to participate in the VEP in the program’s first year.

Answers to your technical questions

Keep it Legal


Answers to your legal questions

Advertiser Index


Plan Ahead


TRWA’s Calendar of Events




The More Things Change, the More They Stay The Same


Cash Special Utility District Celebrates its 50th Anniversary Cash Special Utility District celebrated 50 years of serving water to rural customers during July of this year.


Do You Know Anyone Who Deserves a TRWA Award of Excellence? Time is running out to nominate yourself or one of your colleagues for one of the highest honors TRWA has to offer.


Can Parasitic Worms Get into Drinking Water Tanks?


TRWA Briefs

By Erika Henderson, Pittsburg Tank & Tower, Inc. Your tanks may be vulnerable to parasites. How can you prevent them?

2014 TRWA Legal Handbook Coming Soon; Systems Show Appreciation for Efforts of Texas Senator; Registration Now Open for Water Board Directors’ Governance Conference; Happy Retirement to Robert Elder, Parker County SUD. Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013



Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

Letter from the Executive Director Support Proposition 6! My message this month is simple, and it is to ask you to do one simple thing to help rural water in Texas. VOTE FOR PROPOSITION 6! Proposition 6 is a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot on November 6. It creates a fund, called the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), dedicated for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to water supply and conservation projects identified in the State Water Plan. Passage of Proposition 6 allows a one-time investment of $2 billion to be transferred from the Economic Stabilization Fund (“Rainy Day Fund”) into SWIFT that could provide up to $30 billion in financial assistance over 50 years. Thanks to the collective efforts of TRWA members, the Texas Legislature passed legislation directing the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to undertake efforts so that not less than 10 percent of that $2 billion will be directed to projects benefiting rural Texas. SWIFT would work much like an endowment. Earnings on the $2 billion, along with portions of the principal, will be used to provide financial assistance for projects in the water plan. SWIFT would be used to support the issuance of bonds for projects, and the proceeds will be lent to local entities. Funds will revolve back into the SWIFT over time to support more projects, all while protecting as much of the state’s investment as possible. TWDB could provide assistance in the form of an interest subsidy, deferral of payment or the State Participation Program, an existing program in which the state purchases an initial interest in a project and sells it back to the local or regional entity over time.

“Please join TRWA in supporting the passage of Proposition 6.”

Proposition 6, along with House Bill 4 and House Bill 1025, provide a new day for rural water funding in Texas. But we won’t be able to take advantage of it if the voters don’t pass it. So please join TRWA in supporting the passage of Proposition 6. Please register for the TRWA 2013 Fall Management Conference in Dallas or the TRWA 2013 Water Districts Conference, both of which will be held in Dallas on November 6-7. Learn more about elections laws updates, water infrastructure funding and financing, fireflows, drought and many other important topics. Hopefully we’ll be able to talk about ways that TRWA members can benefit directly from Proposition 6’s passage on the previous election day. Let’s work together as we approach a new day for funding opportunities for Texas Rural Water!

Fred Aus Executive Director Texas Rural Water Association Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same By Bill Goheen, East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District


elow is an adaptation of an article, “Lasting Impressions,” I had published in the Kansas Rural Water Association (KRWA ) magazine as a much younger person. Sometime before June of 1984, the local water district’s Board of Directors came to an agreement with the project consultants that it might be a good idea to hire their surface treatment plant operator before the plant construction was completed. I was told the idea to have the plant operator come on line before the plant was completed, and I thought this was a good idea. Looking back, had I known what this “good idea” was going to consist of and the trouble I was headed for, I may have tried to convince the board that I was their man for the job, but “let’s wait ‘til the plant is completed.”

It sure didn’t take long to get on the wrong side of the contractor’s superintendent—all of 10 minutes! I think it was probably three months before the engineering firm’s inspector had their fill of me. At the next meeting of the Board of Directors, I was requested to stay out of the nearly completed treatment plant. Boy! What a response to someone who was only trying to encourage the consultant and contractor that some minor changes would be beneficial. I feel now that I did contribute; there were mistakes in the plant and these did require changes, though I would have to admit some of my ideas were not 100 percent correct. The treatment plant has been completed and the thing does operate. The conflicts I experienced with the consultant and the contractor demonstrated there must be a working relationship among all parties to a contract to yield a successful project. I would like to only submit two proposals for consideration. Number 1: No matter how many licenses, certificates or degrees you may hang on your wall that enable you to work with water, there is none there that grants that you can walk on water. Number 2: This may best be described as a little prayer: “Lord, let me learn all which I may desire, but please don’t let me get so smart that I lose my ability to use common sense.” 6

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

Today, I reside in the great State of Texas and still hear of stories and experiences from utilities, large and small, that their project experienced difficulties due to miscommunication and/ or conflict. I hope the following addition to my previously published article will help reduce the risk of a project heading for conflict. Before a project is ready for construction there are several pre-construction phases: planning, design, design review and team meetings. The team may be as small as the governing body funding the project and their paid staffing completing the work. Projects that may fall under this simplest process are main line extensions and minor replacement projects. Be sure to forward TCEQ any upgrades and extensions that fall under regulatory reporting. Major projects are the ones that can go astray if due diligence and prudence falls by the wayside. I am speaking of projects that involve financial consultants, outside funding sources, engineering, attorneys and contractors. I do want to stress that once your funding sources are secured the remaining professional team works for you. Regardless of any pressures applied by one or more of the professional team, you as the responsible governing body are accountable to your rate payers. Due diligence and prudent decision making is the key to a successful project. Prior to securing financial funding you knew this major project was a necessity (the Plan). I will assume you have the remaining professional team secured for your project; if not, this would be the time to advertise and solicit for professional qualifications. Be prepared to add six months to a year prior to starting your project. A good source for guidance for this process is your Texas Rural Water Association. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume your financial team has secured your funds for the project, your professional engineer and attorney are already in place and you have been pleased with their past due diligence and project completion. Let’s get started.

Engineer Your engineer should provide a percentage cost of the project for their fees. For smaller funded projects, the percentage is usually up to 6 percent of the project cost. For projects that are well in to the thousands and million dollar ranges, the percentage usually falls around 3 percent of project costs. On much smaller projects that may be funded through operation reserves, the fee may be set as hourly. Do not shy away from design questions. Your engineer should be able to satisfy your concerns. During my professional tenure it has been said, “There is no such thing as a dumb question, only one that was not asked.” A good source for guidance for this process is your Texas Rural Water Association. Your engineering firm should provide an itemized breakdown of their costs associated with each segment of the project. The typical listing should cover, as a minimum, preliminary design, final design, advertising and bidding process and inspection. I may suggest, depending on your level of internal staffing, the inspection fees could be awarded to the utility and you could assign a knowledgeable person as your on-site inspector for the project. Engineering firms may take offense to this and for sound reason; however, if you have competent staffing and time can be allotted for the individual to take on the task, this is an option. If this is something you would like to consider, you should consult with your financing agency to ensure this is an option under the funding agreement. Attorney I am unclear what role an attorney would play in a typical project. However, if this project is a brand new incorporated water/wastewater system, I see the need for an attorney. Legal work and counsel is a must for such an endeavor. I am aware some systems will not do anything without attorney advice. A good source for guidance for this process is your Texas Rural Water Association. Contractor This is a key segment of your project. Your engineer is responsible for advertising and collecting sealed bids from contractors who are interested in bidding on your project. It is the responsibility for all interested contractors to complete the full document. I recommend that the

appropriate staffing of the utility review the bid document and discuss with the engineering firm any possible changes, if any are discovered, prior to finalizing for the advertising for bids. Once this process is completed, your engineer will post the advertisement on professional websites and local newspapers for contractors to review. All interested contractors must submit their bids back to a location instructed by the engineer in sealed packets no later than the date and time noted by your engineer. The closing date and time is normally the date and time for the bid opening and I highly recommend that your system be represented and attend the meeting. During this meeting, your engineer should have a sign-in sheet and a bid sheet available, which provides a heading for all contractors present to sign in with their company name and contact information. Once the preliminary introductions are made, all bids are opened, read out loud and recorded on a bid sheet. Your engineer should then let all present know that he/she will review all bids for accuracy and will schedule a date and time for the awarding of the project. This is normally done at the next monthly meeting of the governing body. Remember, as the governing body you may or may not accept any and all bids and motion to reschedule a second bid opening. I would recommend that a committee be selected to meet with the engineer for a briefing regarding their conclusions of the bid reviews for recommending a contractor head and shoulders above the rest. In closing, remember the engineer is responsible for the design and should stand behind his/her design to ensure the finished product does what it was designed for. The contractor is responsible for excavation and installing the materials, conducting integrity tests as specified by the engineer to ensure the product has no defects and that the product carries a one-year warranty. It appears to be a simple process, yet without clear and precise communications and due diligence, it can become a tragedy. Once again, a good source for guidance for this process is your Texas Rural Water Association. When working as a team, we can change the article’s title to “The More Things Change, the More They Improve.” Bill Goheen is the General Manager of East Cedar Creek FWSD and is on the TRWA Board of Directors Representing TRWA District 13. Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


Ask Larry A Q&A column with TRWA Technical Assistance Director Larry Bell I have a question concerning water cut-offs for non-payment during a heat advisory. Are there any state laws stating it is illegal to conduct cut-offs during a heat advisory? I manage a municipal utility district and heard though the “grapevine” that cut-offs during a heat advisory or 48 hours after such an advisory are illegal.


is lifted, unless they make payments or contact the office to make payment arrangements.

A: We are not aware of any state laws to this regard for water utilities.

Q: A couple of my employees have been stopped by a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state trooper and given warnings that they were required to have a commercial driver’s license to drive a 1-ton truck towing a dual wheel Gooseneck trailer that we use for hauling a large back hoe. In all my years in this business, this I the first time we have been cited on this issue. I looked up the requirement on the DPS website and it does say that a commercial license is required for vehicles with a combined gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more. Our truck and trailer exceed this limit. We think that DPS may have just started enforcing this requirement in our area because of all the fracking activity going on here. Is this an issue other systems are experiencing throughout the state? I’m concerned that requiring my employees to get a commercial license will be a greater expense and hassle. Are there any exceptions that apply to utilities? There is an exception for “emergency vehicles”; do we fall into this category?

The Public Utility Commission’s rules for electric utilities prohibit disconnection on electric service for nonpayment during extreme weather emergencies, which includes heat advisories, but this only applies to electric utilities and not to water systems. Your MUD board has discretion as to whether the MUD will delay disconnects until the heat advisory is lifted; but ultimately, the customers will still need to pay their water bills to continue to have access to water. If the board adopts a policy to delay disconnects until the heat advisory is lifted, the MUD may want to consider sending out this set of late and disconnect notices on a different color paper or highlighted in some way so that customers will be alerted to the exception, but will still understand that their meters will be disconnected as usual after the heat advisory

The purpose of this different type of notice is to show “good faith” by the MUD in accommodating an extreme weather condition, but to still let customers know that disconnections will take place on the date indicated.

A: Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to the commercial driver’s license requirement for utility-owned vehicles. The DPS commercial driver licenses rules at 37 Texas Administrative Code Section16.3 specifically state that the exception that applies to driving emergency vehicles such as a fire truck does not apply to utility owned vehicles. The rule also specifically states electric company employees repairing 8

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

weight rating. Typically on a truck, this will be located on the door jam. If the combined gross vehicle weight rating of a truck and trailer is 26,001 or more, the vehicle must be driven by a driver with a commercial license. The actual weight of the vehicles including what they are hauling does not matter. They look at the vehicle weight rating only.

a down line are not exempt. According to our Legal Department, the Texas Attorney General has also held that city and county employees are not exempt from the commercial license requirements when driving commercial vehicles for the city or county. The DPS Commercial Driver License handbook explains the three basic classes of licenses including when a commercial license is required as follows: CLASS A: Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle or vehicles towed exceeds 10,000 pounds; CLASS B: Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, any one of those vehicles towing a vehicle that does not exceed 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, and any vehicle designed to transport 24 passengers or more, including the driver; and a Class B license will be restricted to operating buses under 26,001 pounds GVWR if the skills test is taken in a bus with a GVWR of less than 26,001 pounds; and CLASS C: Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that is not a Class A or Class B if the vehicle is: 1) designed to transport 16 to 23 passengers including the driver; or 2) used in the transportation of hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded The way to determine whether a commercial license is required is to check each vehicle’s

As a final note, Texas Transportation Code Section 552.072 makes it a Class B misdemeanor for an employer to knowingly allow an employee to drive a commercial vehicle if the driver is disqualified from driving such vehicle, has been denied a commercial driver license, has more than one commercial driver’s license or if the vehicle is subject to an out-ofservice order. Q: Several times recently we have encountered our members’ irrigation systems installed over, under and all around our main lines. If our operators break one of these irrigation lines or have to cut them to access the main, what is our responsibility to make repairs to the irrigation system? A: Even though you may have a valid utility easement where your lines are located, your use of the easement cannot interfere with the landowner’s normal use of the property, which may arguably include installation of a sprinkler system to irrigate the lawn. Therefore, if the operator breaks or damages the sprinkler system or other property, the utility will be required to make or pay for the necessary repairs to restore the landowner’s irrigation system or other damages such as a broken fence, ruts in the hay field or other facilities or equipment on the owner’s property. If at all possible, the system should get the customer or member to mark his irrigation lines or other underground facilities prior to the system beginning any excavation for repairs. Even more importantly, the system should educate its customers when they sign the original easement and continue on an annual or regular basis to keep the customers/easement providers informed that there is a water (or Continued on page 10 Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


Continued from page 9

sewer) line across their property and that the landowners should not be installing pipes, fences or other structures which would limit or impede the water system from using that strip of land. If the system finds out that a landowner is going to install an irrigation system over and around your water lines, it’s important to meet with those customers so that the lines, fittings, and sprinkler heads are not located right where the utility’s easement is located, explaining that these could be damaged as results of the normal repairs the system will need to complete from time to time. It’s always best to try to avoid these problems before they arise. If you have a technical question you would like answered, please e-mail Larry.Bell@trwa. org.


Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

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Texas Rural Water Foundation Accepts Two Veterans into Employment Program By Jessica Noelke and Rashedah Mohammed, Texas Rural Water Foundation The Texas Rural Water Foundation’s (TRWF) Veteran Employment Program (VEP) has admitted two veterans who were hired by utilities prior to their application into the program. Trevor Allen and Robert Lingenfelter are the first veterans to participate in the VEP in the program’s first year. These two veterans recognize the commitment they are making for quality drinking water in their communities. The need for water and wastewater operators is predicted to increase by 12 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, the water and wastewater industry will lose 40 percent of its current workforce within the next 10 years. The VEP, a unique project of the Texas Rural Water Foundation, aims to fill that employment gap by offering training and licensure to qualified veterans. Robert Lingenfelter, a military policeman in the U.S. Army, recently was hired by Matagorda Waste Disposal and Water Supply Corporation. Ligenfelter was stationed in Alaska when he gained interest in working in the water and wastewater industry. He expressed a real interest in the industry by asking his future employers about ways he could prepare for the position before he was released from the military. “It is a field that provides services to the community and training and experience that no other industry can provide,” said Lingenfelter in his application when applying for the VEP. He was asked what interested him in working in the water and wastewater industry. “People don’t realize what it takes to provide them with good, drinkable water. That is why we are here.” Lingenfelter served in the military since 2001, serving two tours in Afghanistan, and is a decorated veteran. He has received the Army Achievment Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign 12

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

Medal with three campaign stars and the NATO Medal, along with other honors. Lingenfelter currently is enrolled in the Basic “D” water operator online course offered by the Texas Rural Water Association, and will take the exam to receive licensure. TRWA covers the cost for the course and reimburses the utility for the exam cost after the veteran passes and receives a license. The VEP also provides each veteran enrolled in the program a study guide that was adapted from existing TRWA curriculum by the TRWF AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) to help VEP participants pass the exam. Allen, a former U.S. Marine landing support specialist who spent his tour in Afghanistan, currently works as a water operator for the San Jacinto Special Utility District. Allen was discharged from the military and started working for a tire company when he realized that water operations would provide him with a career in which he could advance. “I really enjoy working in the water industry. It is fun and I feel like I am giving back, helping people out and taking care of the community,” said Allen. Allen also is a decorated veteran and has achieved many accomplishments in the military,

But this goal only can be met by the participation of others who would like to share in that mission. Rural utilities are encouraged to apply to the VEP in order to prequalify to help fill their employment needs more quickly with a veteran in need of a career. Veterans also can pre-apply to further the process of finding employment with a rural utility. TRWF is working in partnership with AmeriCorps VISTA, a national service program designed specifically to combat poverty in America. The Robert Lingenfelter works on a repair project for Matagorda WD & WSC. VEP hopes to bring job opportunities Lingenfelter is the second veteran accepted into Texas Rural Water to rural utilities across Texas and Foundation’s Veteran Employment Program. create a professional workforce, as including the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the well as give veterans the tools they need to Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a NATO succeed in the water and wastewater industry. Medal-ISAF Afghanistan and other awards he TRWF was founded three years ago, and with received while on active duty. the help of AmeriCorps VISTA, developed the Allen passed the water works exam and VEP along with new courses and manuals for received his operator license in August, and has water operators. TRWF is a 501(c)(3) supporting been serving his community as a licensed class organization to TRWA and opens up new “D” water operator ever since. opportunities to serve more communities in rural Texas. The VEP is very excited to have these two veterans as part of our program within the first Applications for utilities and veterans year, and will have flags flown over the Texas who would like to participate in the Veteran Capitol in their honor. Each veteran will receive a Employment Program can be found at www. certificate and the flag that was flown, along with Please contact the Texas Rural a signature of recognition by their local legislator. Water Foundation directly at foundation@trwa. Rashedah Mohammed and Jessica Noelke, the TRWF VEP coordinators, have been working diligently on the program since February when their AmeriCorps VISTA service terms started.

org or call 512-472-8591 with comments or questions.

“When Trevor was being admitted into the VEP, Rashedah was the first one to find out about the decision that was made by our supervisors,” said Noelke. “I have never seen her so excited. She had worked really hard and it really paid off.” The VEP’s goal is to assist veterans to find success through training, licensure and entry into the rural water and wastewater career field while providing utilities with qualified employees. Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


Cash Special Utility District Celebrates its 50th Anniversary


ash Special Utility District celebrated 50 years of serving water to rural customers during July of this year. Cash SUD began as Cash Water Supply Corporation, a non-profit, member-owned corporation, in 1963 under the rural water program of the Farmers Home Administration. The system secured a Farmers Home Administration loan for $205,515.00 in 1963 (equivalent to $1,600,000.00 in today’s dollars) to serve water to 200 customers south of Greenville, Texas. The Corporation converted to a Special Utility District in 2004, and has continued to grow over the years. The Cash Water System now serves over 5,900 customers and supplies wholesale water to seven area communities and school districts.

During the celebration, the system dedicated their administration building to long-time Board Member and President, Jimmy Humphries,

To celebrate its 50 th Anniversary, the District had an open house reception Friday, July 26 th in which many of the original loan documents and some of the first meters were displayed. The first meter reader, Mrs. Frances Wiggs, now 92 years old and wife of one of the first board members, shared stories of her days walking the meter reading route. The program concluded with a dedication of the administration building to the District’s long time Board Member and President, Jimmy Humphries, who retired after serving 24 years on the board. During his time on the board, Mr. Humphries logged in more than 550 hours of Texas Rural Water Association operator and board management continuing education classes.

Cash SUD’s first meter reader, Frances Wiggs, with current General Manager Clay Hodges. 14

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

“Jimmy believed in providing our customers with the best water possible at a fair price while keeping the District financially stable,” said Cash SUD General Manager

Clay Hodges. To summarize Humphries’s philosophy as a board member, he added, “Let management manage, and the board set policy.”

Public water is our business.

Does your system do something that stands out? E-mail or call 512-4728591 and tell us your story! You could see your system highlighted in the next issue of Quality on Tap!

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Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


5/26/11 10:50 AM

Keep It Legal

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


Can a special utility district (SUD) and a city enter into an agreement where the SUD cuts off water service for nonpayment of trash service? Are there any state laws that regulate this type of partnership? A: Although the law is not as clear as I would like it to be, there are statutes and TCEQ rules that I read to support this type of agreement. Similar to cities and counties, SUDs have the authority to provide trash collection services pursuant to Texas Water Code Section 65.203. Local Government Code Sec. 552.910 allows cities to enter into an agreement for the collection of unpaid utility charges or trash services with another city that operates a utility system, a county or public agency that provides solid waste disposal services, or another political subdivision acting on behalf of a municipality, county or public agency to assist in the collection of unpaid utility charges or trash services. “Public agency” is not defined, but arguably could include SUDs since they also have the authority to provide these services. This type of agreement allows a city to refuse to provide utility service to a person if they are past due on utility


Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

charges or trash owed to another party to the agreement, or to collect the charges for the other entity. Health & Safety Code Section 364.037 provides the same authority to counties. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s rules also authorize this type of agreement for investor-owned utilities, specifically allowing disconnection of service for “failure to pay solid waste disposal fees collected under contract with a county or other public agency.” See Title 30, Texas Administrative Code Section 291.88(a)(2) (F). TRWA has always looked to TCEQ rules for investor-owned utilities as guidelines for acceptable business practices when advising our SUD and water supply corporation members. Q: Does TCEQ require an interlocal agreement between two water supply corporations for an emergency interconnect? We have an agreement with a local city, and now we are working with another nearby WSC to provide them with a 1-inch meter for emergency purposes. A: Yes, TCEQ requires some kind of written agreement as part of its review and approval process of an interconnect project. It is always advisable to have a written agreement

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regardless so that the terms are clear to both parties and to future managers and directors of the corporations. TCEQ staff considers an interconnect to be a major system change requiring a submission of plans and specs for review and approval by TCEQ. As part of their review process, they require the parties to submit a written agreement so TCEQ staff may ensure that capacity requirements are being met. TCEQ does not consider this type of agreement to be an “emergency interconnect” because it is a cooperative agreement between two systems contemplating future emergency situations. The term “emergency interconnect” is addressed in TCEQ rules and the Water Code and contemplates an imminent emergency situation where service at a neighboring system has been discontinued or seriously impaired or is under threat of imminent impairment. In this situation, TCEQ may compel a system to provide an emergency interconnect to a neighboring utility for not more than 90 days. See 30 Texas Administrative Code Section 291.14. We learned at a recent TCEQ stakeholder meeting that TCEQ rarely utilizes this authority.

they already have a current employee they want to promote? A: No, I am not aware of any requirement to advertise for positions of employment at a water district or water supply corporation. Posting jobs internally as opportunities for promotion for current employees is considered a good business practice. Advertising for open or new employment positions may increase your pool of applicants and shows good faith in the community that the water system is getting the best possible pool of candidates. It is best to advertise with job specific criteria so that the district is not vulnerable to discrimination claims.

“TCEQ requires some kind of written agreement as part of its review and approval process of an interconnect project.”

Q: Are districts required to advertise for employment positions in the newspaper if

Q: A special utility district board member temporarily moved out of the district boundaries. Does this make him ineligible to serve on the Board of Directors? This board member is in the process of purchasing property inside the district and has plans to build a house. If this board member is ineligible, can he take a “leave of absence” from the board and leave his seat temporarily vacant or does he need to resign from the board? A: There is no requirement that a SUD Continued on page 18 Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


Continued from page 17

director must live in the district if he otherwise owns land in the district, is a user of the facilities or is a voter in the district, pursuant to Texas Water Code Sec. 65.102. So he does not need to resign or be removed from the board if he meets at least one of these criteria. If he does not meet one of these criteria, Texas Water Code Section 49.052(a)(6) provides that a person is disqualified from serving as a board member of a district if during his term of office, fails to maintain the qualifications required by law to serve as a director. Section 49.052(b) requires the board to replace the person serving as a member of the board with a person who would not be disqualified, within 60 days after the board determines that there is a disqualification.

remove the director, if a board member cures his ineligibility during that time period it would resolve the matter and allow him to stay on the board. The law for water supply corporations is similar and also does not address a leave of absence. In order to be eligible to serve on a water supply corporation board, a person must be a member of the corporation and meet any other criteria that may be set forth in the Corporation’s bylaws. Similar to the districts law, if the board determines that a person serving as a director does not meet these qualifications, the board shall, not later than the sixtieth day after making that determination, remove the director and fill the vacancy with a qualified person. If you have a legal question you would like answered, please e-mail

Texas Water Code Chapters 49 and 65 do not address leave of absences; however, since the board has 60 days to take action to

Aquastore composite elevated tanks never need to be repainted. Which is a low maintenance claim that actually holds water.

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Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

composite elevated tank quality.

Do You Know Anyone Who Deserves a TRWA Award of Excellence?


ime is running out to nominate yourself or one of your colleagues for one of the highest honors TRWA has to offer—a TRWA Award of Excellence! Every year, rural water systems across Texas submit nominations for these prestigious awards honoring excellence, dedication and achievement. All employees of TRWA member utilities are invited to recognize an outstanding manager, operator or secretary/ office manager for going above and beyond the call of duty. The submission deadline is November 13, 2013, so don’t miss this opportunity to identify a professional who surpasses the rest. Manager of the Year, Operator of the Year and Secretary/Office Manager of the Year awards will be presented at our 2014 Annual Convention. This year, the Convention will be held March 12-14 in Fort Worth, Texas. We encourage the nominee and the nominating officer to attend the Convention, where winners will be presented with a special ribbon for their name badge, an engraved plaque and a cash prize. Registration for the Annual Convention will available on the TRWA website by mid-December. Winners will also be recognized in the May 2014 issue of this magazine. Nomination forms can be found on the Texas Rural Water Association’s website at You can either fill the form out online or download it and mail or fax it to the TRWA office. A detailed essay is required as part of the process. The nomination form contains a list of categories that should be considered when writing your essay. Categories include, but are not limited to: •

Accuracy/Attention to Detail


Computer Knowledge

Customer Relations

Employee/Board Relations



Long-Range Planning

Media Relations


Problem Resolution

Project Coordination

Resource Management

You must address at least six of the categories listed in the nomination form; however, any additional categories, achievements or qualities you wish to note are encouraged. Please remember that eligibility is limited to employees of TRWA member utilities and that former award winners are not eligible. Each nominee may only be nominated for one of the three awards. All entries must be postmarked or delivered by November 13, 2013 to be considered. If you have any questions about the nomination form or the awards process, please contact Allison Kaminsky, TRWA Communications Director, at 512-472-8591 or

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


Can Parasitic Worms Get into Drinking Water Tanks? By Erika Henderson, Pittsburg Tank & Tower, Inc.


n August 26, 2013, a small Oklahoma town was advised not to use the tap water for cooking or drinking because red worms had been found in the town’s drinking water supply. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conducted an investigation and determined that midge flies entered the system through sand filters at the water treatment plant. The flies laid their eggs in the filters and when the eggs hatched the red worms simply swam into the water supply. 1 Fortunately, these worms were not parasitic, but several parasitic worms could get into drinking water systems: roundworms, flukes and tapeworms. These parasitic worms are transmitted by direct contact with their eggs, consuming a host that has the parasitic eggs or consuming the feces of hosts that contain their parasitic eggs. Once consumed, the parasitic eggs hatch and attach themselves to the intestines. Some stay in the intestines, but others travel to various organs and parts of the body to cause damage while they continue to grow and multiply. Hosts and Their Environments •

Hosts can include: aquatic life, insects, birds, rodents and other animals. They can gain access to drinking water through openings on tanks. Aquatic hosts can travel through the inlet or outlet pipes depending on the tank’s source of water. Aquatic life is often found in tanks that receive their water from lakes, streams, rivers or other waterways. A few years ago, more than 50,000 gallons of mud and aquatic life were removed from a two-million gallon tank in New York, and in Georgia, a fish swam past the camera during an inspection. These are all potential parasitic worm hosts.

Other hosts can gain access by holes in the roof, shell or floor. Gaps between the roof and shell, vents, or overflows with torn or missing screens can allow insects,


Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

birds and other small animals into the tank. If birds and insects are in the tank, then their feces and the possibility of parasitic eggs are also in the tank. Human beings that consume the contaminated water become the next host, where the parasitic worm continues to grow in them for years. Another disturbing fact is that these openings often go unnoticed until an inspection is performed, which means this potential risk could go unnoticed for years. •

Stagnant water also contributes to contaminated water. The stagnant water creates a list of microscopic organisms and bacteria that lures potential hosts into the tanks. Stagnation occurs when water is separated into layers arranged by density; the least dense and warmer water siting above the denser cooler layers of water coming in. The layers are caused by differences in temperature, pressure and pH. These unmixed layers cause water quality to deteriorate and age, increasing bacterial growth. Flies, mosquitoes, water fleas and other insects and crustaceans are attracted to the bacterium and birds are attracted to the insects.

Meet the Parasites Roundworms: Water fleas are possible hosts to the Dracunculus larva, a type of roundworm that causes a horrific disease known as guinea worm disease (GWD). Once the infected water fleas are ingested, stomach acid dissolves the water flea, but not the Dracunculus larva that hatches and travels to connective tissues. Often, no symptoms are noticed until approximately one year later, when the disease and worm presents itself with a painful, burning sensation, as a blister on the skin forms. About a week later, the blister ruptures exposing one end of the worm. Often, the infected person immerses the affected area in water to relieve the pain, but then hundreds of thousands of larvae contaminate the water, allowing the cycle to repeat again. To extract

1-800-327-9761 (except FL) E-mail:

TEL (772) 288-4854 FAX (772) 287-3238


the worm, a person must wrap the live worm around a piece of gauze or stick. The process can take hours to months and great pain accompanies it. 2 Other parasitic roundworms include: pinworms, hookworms, Ascaris, Baylisascaris and Stronglyloides Stercoralis. Pinworms are said to be the number one parasite in North America and the eggs can become airborne, living for days without a host. Hookworm eggs can live without a host for weeks, and Strongyloides Stercoralis can live with or without a host. Baylisacaris and Dracunculus Insignis are found in dogs, raccoons, minks, foxes, otters, skunks and other small animals of North America. 3 Just last year, a decomposing raccoon was found in a Virginia ground storage tank, and a dead squirrel was pulled from a Missouri ground storage tank. Ascaris worms are roundworms that cause respiratory problems, and live worms may be observed in the stool or exiting through the nose or mouth! According to Human Diseases and Conditions, “It has been estimated that 4 million people in the United States carry ascaris, most of them in rural southeastern areas.” 4 May 24, 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that, “During April 2010–March 2013, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services investigated multiple cases of ascariasis that have been reported by health-care providers, veterinarians and patents. After investigation, 14 persons on seven farms in Maine were identified with Ascaris infection.” 5

Flatworms: The Trematodes (flukes) are found worldwide, and their common hosts are fish, snails, water plants and fish-eating animals. These potential hosts are found and removed from water tanks yearly! Flukes are flatworms that live in the intestines, tissue, lungs or blood depending on what kind has infected the body. The Fasciolopsis Buski (intestinal fluke) infects the small intestines, and the Fasciola Hepatica (liver fluke) infects the billary ducts and gall bladder. The Paragonimus Westermani (lung fluke) is found in the lungs and is sometimes mistaken for lung cancer. The Schistosoma (blood flukes) are found in the blood and travel all over the body causing damage to red blood cells and organs. People infected with blood flukes get sick, weak and often die. 6 Tapeworms: The Cestodes (tapeworms) include: Taenia Solium (pork tapeworm), Taenia Saginata (beef tapeworm), Diphyllobothrium Latum (fish tapeworm), Hymenolpis Diminuta (rat tapeworm) and Hymenolepis Nana (dwarf tapeworm). The pork tapeworm can cause Neurocysticerosis (NCC), an infection of the brain or spinal cord. According to the American Academy of Neurology, “Neurocysticercosis is typically considered a disease of the developing world. Nonetheless, NCC is also diagnosed in the developed world. The disease now is on the rise in developed countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.” 7 January 15,2013, a NewRX editor of Life Science Weekly reported that, “Baylor University College of Medicine stated, ‘The rise in the number of cases of NCC in developed countries, especially in the United Continued on page 22 Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


tightly and a lock should be placed on them. Ladders should have appropriate ladder guards and locks to prevent people from entering the tank or placing potential hosts into the tank.

Continued from page 21

States of America, has largely been driven by influx of immigrants from endemic to nonendemic regions and the widespread access to neuroimaging. Cases of local transmission have also been documented particularly in the setting of a tapeworm carrier present in the household, with highlights the relevance of NCC as a public health problem in the USA. We estimate that between 1320 and 5050 new cases of NCC occur every year in the USA.’” 8

2. Clean and disinfect water tanks regularly. American Water Works Association (AWWA) states that, “Tanks should be washed out and inspected at least once every three years, and where water supplies have sediment problems, annual washouts are recommended.” 9 After reading this article, biannual inspections and cleanouts are probably more desirable. Water tanks can be taken out-of-service and a trained professional can physically enter the tanks to inspect and clean them, or a robotic inspection and cleanout can be performed. A robotic inspection does not require draining the tank and there is no downtime, liability or water loss. Lockout/tag out procedures and confined space permits are not needed, because no one enters the tank. The robot is equipped with lights and a color camera, and live viewing of the inspection takes place through a ground monitor. A DVD of the inspection is provided and both forms of inspections come with a written report that includes a detailed evaluation, photographs (hopefully, none with potential parasitic hosts), recommendations of needed repairs, code updates and a cost estimate for each item.

The beef tapeworm eggs can survive for months in the environment, and the fish tapeworm eggs mature in the water within three weeks. Tapeworms of wild animals can cause Alveolar Echniococcosis disease that mimics liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. Rat tapeworms and dwarf tapeworms are found in the feces of rats. Beetles and fleas eat the feces and become the new host. Several years ago, twenty-four dead rats were pulled from a Maryland water tank, and everyday insects and beetles are found in tanks.

Potential hosts can enter your tank through openings, such as this torn roof, that grant unauthorized access.

Prevention 1. Prevent the potential hosts from entering the tank by getting it inspected for openings that could lead to unauthorized access. Screens, free from rips or tears, should cover all pipe openings. Holes and gaps should be sealed or welded. Roof manways and hatches should seal 22

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

3. After an inspection has been performed and the condition of the tank has been determined, please address the issues. If the tank needs to be cleaned, then please clean it. If the water temperature during the inspection indicated possible stratification, then please take necessary steps to eliminate it. A mixing system may need to be installed to prevent the stratified water, and the water may need to be tested and treated more often.

Everyone deserves clean and healthy drinking water free from parasitic worms. Please take all necessary precaution to prevent potential hosts from getting into drinking water tanks and spreading these horrific diseases that result from the infections. Keep in mind-

Parasites in Humans. [7] Subhash Chandra Parija, MBBS, MD, PhD, FRCPath. “Trematode Infections.” 6 August 2013. http://emedicine.medscape. com/article/230112-overview [8] “Neurocysticercosis” American Academy of Neurology. 2013.

Screens, free from rips or tears, should cover all pipe openings. This overflow pipe without a screen poses as a threat for contaminants entering your tank.

this article only discussed multi-celled parasitic worms that could potential get into drinking water tanks. Another list of various single-cell parasites, viruses, and bacteria could also be lurking in drinking water tanks waiting to attack human cells! Erika Henderson is the Director of Research for Pittsburg Tank & Tower, Inc.

[9] News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly. “Study Results from Baylor University College of Medicine in the Area of Life Science Published.” NewsRX. 15 January 2013. library/topics/Taeniasis/954006.html [10] American Water Works Association. Manual of Water Supply Practices—M42, Revised Edition 2013. Steel Water-Storage Tanks. Chapter 8 Routine Operation and Maintenance-Tank Washouts, 92.

References [1] Poirer, Louise. “Oklahoma Town Expels Worms That Wiggled Into Water Supply” Engineering News-Record. 16 August 2013. < water_dams/2013/0916-red-worms.htm> [2] “Guinea Worm Disease. “ Encyclopedia Britannica. topic/170708/guinea-worm-disease. [3] “Parasite Facts and Figures.” Humaworm. [4] “Ascariasis.” Human Diseases and Conditions. [5] “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 24 May 2013. mmwrhtml/mm6220a6.htm [6] “Find the Nastiest Parasites in Humans.” Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


TRWA Briefs 2014 TRWA Legal Handbook Coming Soon The 2014 TRWA Legal Handbook will be available for purchase in late 2013! The new version of the Legal Handbook incorporates new laws and amendments passed by the 2013 Legislature and the latest administrative rule updates. The Legal Handbook covers two volumes —Volume 1 for general laws and Volume 2 for laws specific to water supply corporations or districts, depending on the type system. The subject matter indexes also have been updated and expanded to make it easier to find key information. The TRWA Legal Handbook is your most comprehensive, one-stop resource for statewide laws and regulations affecting water systems in Texas!

Systems Show Appreciation for Efforts of Texas Senator On September 23, Marilee SUD President Denny Brackeen and Mustang SUD President Bill Hathaway met with Texas Sen. Craig

Sen. Craig Estes accepting a Resolution of Appreciation from Mustang SUD President Bill Hathaway for his authoring of SB 1873.

Estes (R-Wichita Falls) to present Resolutions of Appreciation to the legislator. Effective September 1, House Bill 2055 and Senate Bill 1873 went into effect, amending the Special District Local Laws Code and granting Marilee SUD and Mustang SUD, respectively, the authority to issue bonds under Chapter 1371 of Government Code. Sen. Estes was co-author and primary sponsor of both bills, along with Texas Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) and Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco).

Registration Now Open for Water Board Directors’ Governance Conference Now is the time to sign up for the TRWA Water Board Directors’ Governance Conference! Registration is now online for this informative conference tailored specifically to address the training needs and concerns of utility governing bodies. Hosted at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Austin on January 2334, 2014, this is an excellent opportunity for both new and experienced board members. In addition to sessions focusing on pertinent Marilee SUD President Denny Brackeen presenting Sen. Estes a Resolution of Appreciation. 24

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

topics such as fireflows, Texas water policy, rural water funding and project financing, this year â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conference will feature a special keynote address by Texas Water Development Board Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. Attendees will also get the chance to meet and greet fellow directors from across the state during the Thursday night reception. A full agenda is now online at www.trwa. org. If you have any questions about this conference, please contact us at 512-4728591.

Happy Retirement to Robert Elder, Parker County SUD Robert Elder (center) with his son and wife at his retirement party in Millsap, TX.

as a TRWA charter Board Member. Read more about his story, and those of other Texas rural water pioneers, in future issues of this magazine.

Robert Elder, being presented an award for his lengthy service and leadership, by Parker County SUD General Manager Derrad Dickson.

In August of this year, Parker County SUD staff and board, past and present, along with several other members of the rural water community, gathered at the retirement party of Mr. Robert Elder. After 18 years of service on the Parker County SUD board, Elder has stepped down as Vice-President. Though retiring, Elder will still be considered a leader and a pioneer of the rural water industry in Texas. TRWA has a long history with Elder; he served as the second ever TRWA Board President from 1973-1975, and also served

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


Advertiser Index AIA Insurance Agency.......................................... Page 4 American Flow Control ................................................15 AquaSurance, LLC .......................................................10 Burgess & Niple ............................................................17 Capps Insurance Agency .............................................25 Childress Engineers .......................................................8 Chlorinators Incorporated ...........................................21 Daniel & Brown, Inc. .....................................................15 Dunham Engineering ...................................................12 Global Treat ...................................................................10 J.F. Fontaine & Assoc., Inc...........................................19 Jim Cox Sales, Inc. ....................................................... 11 Leonard Water Services, LTD ......................................23 Maguire Iron ..................................................................13 Pittsburg Tank & Tower Maintenance Co., Inc ...........21 Russell Drilling Co., Inc. ..............................................16 Tabor & Associates, Inc. ..............................................23 Tank Builders, Inc.. .......................................................16 Texas Aquastore ...........................................................18 Texas Municipal League ..............................................15 TraC-N-Trol, Inc. ............................................................17 Velvin and Weeks ...........................................................9 USA Blue Book ............................................. Back Cover


Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013

Plan Ahead CONFERENCES: November 6-7, 2013 Dallas Fall Management & Water Districts’ Conferences, Omni Dallas at Park West, Dallas, TX

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 Customer Service Inspections: Comanche, November 5-6  Waxahachie, December 3-4 Water Distribution: Lorena, November 19-21  Water Utility Management: San Antonio, December 4-6 Water Utility Calculations: Harlingen, January 7-9 Water Utility Safety: Brownwood, January 7-9  Winnsboro, January 14-16

Water and Wastewater Credit Courses Chlorinator Maintenance: Greenville, November 5-7  Harlingen, December 3-5 Pump and Motor Maintenance: San Antonio, November 20-22  Valve and Hydrant Maintenance: San Antonio, November 6-8 

Wastewater Credit Courses Wastewater Collections: Brownwood, November 12-14 Wastewater Laboratory: Harlingen, December 17-19 Wastewater Technology: Harlingen, November 11-15  Bridge City, December 16-20

Public Funds Investment Act Training Renewal 4-Hour Training: Dallas, November 5

Quality on Tap! - September/October 2013


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

Quality on Tap! Sept/Oct 2013  

September/October 2013 The official magazine of the Texas Rural Water Association.

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