Water Services

What’s the tall candy cane thing on Highway 6?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If you drive down State Highway 6 south of Rock Prairie Road, you may be intrigued by the tall red and white pole south of the Baylor Scott & White Hospital. 

No, it isn’t a lighthouse, and we’re not expecting a flood —although that wouldn’t surprise anyone in 2020. It’s not a giant candy cane or a stray element of Christmas in the Park, either.  

The giant candy cane is supporting the crane being used to construct College Station’s third water tower, which will provide water pressure, storage, and fire protection to the city’s east side. The 190-foot tall structure will store three million gallons — 12.5 million tons — of water in its bowl. 

The crane support is red and white for FAA purposes, but the “candy cane” will be removed when construction is finished in the spring of 2022.

If you’re curious about how water towers work, here’s a brief explanation:

 

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after serving two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!  

 


Can you Imagine a Day Without Water?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Millions of Americans take water for granted. They turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. They flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. 

Regular hand washing is one of the most important ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, yet we rarely think about what it takes to make water flow freely from the tap and safely return to the environment. 

Wednesday marks the sixth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a day of action and awareness that highlights water’s essential nature in our daily lives and the importance of investing in our water infrastructure to responsibly provide a sustainable water supply for future generations.

Every day, College Station Water Services does the essential work of ensuring you have clean, healthy drinking water and safe sanitation. Our ample water supply helps protect public safety in other ways, too. 

Without sufficient water pressure for our network of 3,233 fire hydrants, the College Station Fire Department wouldn’t be able to fight fires. Thankfully, our water distribution system’s outstanding reliability helped College Station receive a Class 1 ISO fire rating — and that means you may pay less to insure your home or business.

Our two water towers hold a combined five million gallons and provide enough water pressure to simultaneously run washing machines and irrigation systems while supplying adequate flow from hydrants to extinguish fires. A third water tower under construction near the Baylor Scott & White Hospital will stabilize the water pressure and help meet our ever-growing demands.

As the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant expands its capacity from two million to five million gallons per day, the Carter Creek plant continues to turn an average of six million gallons of wastewater into clean water every day.

Here are two ways you can commemorate Imagine A Day Without Water:

  1. Watch Brave Blue World, a Netflix documentary that starts airing Wednesday. The film spotlights global water issues and highlights scientific and technological advancements that assure the world of access to clean water and safe sanitation services while protecting the environment.
  2. Encourage fifth-graders you know to enter the Imagine A Day Without Water poster contest, sponsored by Texas Section AWWA and Water Environment Association of Texas by Oct. 31. Up to 13 winning entries will be featured in the 2021 Imagine A Day Without Water calendar. Participants are invited to draw a picture that illustrates the theme of “What Do You Love About Water? Why is Water Important to You, Your Friends, or Your Family?”.

College Station consistently ranks among the nation’s best places to live and fastest-growing communities. We’re committed to investing in the infrastructure our growing community needs to remain such a great place to live and do business.

 


About the Blogger Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after serving two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


  If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!  


Video: Our water is absolutely safe to drink

In this episode of “Actually…,” Water Resource Coordinator Jennifer Nations says that College Station’s water is quite safe. Only a handful of naturally occurring contaminants have been detected, and the city adds another (chlorine) to disinfect the water and kill germs.

The city’s 2019 water quality report can be found at cstx.gov/water.

– Public Communications Office


Sales tax holiday weekend: Save money, water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If you’ve had additional time around the house in the last two months, you may have considered sprucing up your landscape with water-efficient plants or replacing your leaky faucets. You just needed a good deal to save a little money.

Thanks to the state comptroller, that deal is here. During this weekend’s sales tax holiday, you can purchase certain water– and energy-efficient products through Memorial Day. The sales tax holiday was created by the legislature in 2015  to incentivize Texans to make the most efficient use of our limited water resources.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, the controller tweaked the rules a  bit. You don’t have to make your tax-free purchases in-store since many people now order online and have the products shipped. A complete explanation of how it all works is on the comptroller’s website.

Tax-exempt items are things you can use to help conserve or retain groundwater (where College Station’s water comes from), recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature to reduce evaporation. Highlights include:

  • WaterSense labeled products can be bought for business or personal purposes. Business and rental property owners take note!
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hoses.
  • Moisture controls for sprinklers or irrigation systems such as a rain shutoff switch or soil moisture sensor.
  • Rain barrels. If a barrel isn’t on your project list now, don’t worry — rainwater harvesting equipment is always exempt from state sales tax.
  • Plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Soil and compost.

WaterSense products go through an independent third-party certification process and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. Having water-saving products in your home or business not only trims your water bill but also delivers exceptional performance for years.

Stay cool this weekend, and enjoy your savings!

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


Your tap water remains healthy and secure

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Despite concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak, the coronavirus has not been detected in public water supplies, which have a low risk of contamination. When you turn on your faucet, you can be confident your tap water is a safe and secure source for the water you need for drinking, cooking, and maintaining personal hygiene.

College Station’s drinking water is drawn from a protected artesian aquifer and is disinfected with chlorine. Our environmental technicians routinely test at least 100 water samples each month to ensure we maintain appropriate disinfection levels throughout our distribution system. These standard disinfection practices are specifically designed to inactivate viruses.

The City of College Station’s water and wastewater utilities remain in continuous operation and are focused on providing you with safe, healthy water.

Related Links:

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 


Where there’s smoke, there isn’t always fire

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

In recent weeks, College Station Water Services has been conducting another round of smoke testing to evaluate the condition of some of our community’s aging wastewater lines. We started in the oldest areas of our wastewater collection system and will periodically test other parts of the system.

Through next week, we’ll be smoke testing in the area bounded by Harvey Road, Texas Avenue, Francis Drive, and Earl Rudder Freeway.

We do our best to make sure the public is aware of these tests, but the Fire Department still gets calls from worried residents who see smoke seeping out of sinks, vent pipes, manholes, and even the ground. Although no fire is present, CSFD still must respond, which ties up our valuable emergency response resources.

Smoke testing identifies locations of defects and improper connections. Technicians blow an odorless and non-toxic mist into the sewer and wait to see where it leaks out. It may exit through vent pipes on roofs, wastewater manholes, and the ground above breaks in the sewer system. Smoke might even find its way into service connections and vent from buildings served by the wastewater lines.

What are the benefits?

The wastewater collection system is designed to treat wastewater, not stormwater, and plays a vital role in maintaining our infrastructure. Excess water from inflow and infiltration takes up capacity in the pipes and ends up in our treatment plants, where it must be treated like sewage and results in higher treatment costs.

Inflow is stormwater that enters the sewer system through direct connections such as downspouts and drains that are connected to sewer service lines. Infiltration is rainfall that accumulates near sewer lines and enters the system through structural problems such as cracks and holes in the pipes.

Is it dangerous?

We use an odorless, non-toxic, non-staining mist that’s highly visible at low concentrations. It’s not really smoke, so it isn’t hazardous. If the mist enters your home, open your windows or doors and it should quickly dissipate.

Typically, the smoke enters buildings through a dry P-trap — the curved portion of pipe under the sink — or outside the base of a toilet where the wax seal has come undone. You can prevent this by running water down infrequently-used sinks. The sinks you use regularly have water in the P-trap that keeps the smoke from entering.

For more information, contact me at 979-764-6223. Please report problems with water, wastewater, or electricity to utility dispatch any time at 855-528-4278 and have your account number ready.


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!