Water Services

Six terrific reasons to attend a free sprinkler workshop

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If learning to program your sprinkler controller, spot irrigation leaks, and trim your water bills rank high among your summer goals, you’ll want to attend one of three free workshops hosted by College Station Water Services as part of Smart Irrigation Month.

Each participating household will receive a rain gauge, soil moisture meter, and $25 gift card to a home improvement store to get you on the way to saving water.

The first seminar is scheduled for this Saturday, followed by additional workshops on June 17 and July 22:

  • June 10 — 10 a.m.-noon, CSU Meeting & Training Facility (1603 Graham Rd.).
  • June 17 — 10 a.m.-noon, Event Center at Castlegate II (4205 Norwich Dr.).
  • July 22 — 10 a.m.-noon, CSU Meeting & Training Facility (1603 Graham Rd.).

Here are six terrific reasons to attend a Sprinkler Spruce Up seminar:

  1. You have a small lot and have had a summer water bill greater than $30.
  2. You’ve had high summer water bills in the past and want to avoid sticker shock again.
  3. You’re curious about how slight adjustments to your watering schedule could save you money.
  4. You have a sprinkler system but are afraid that scaling back your watering schedule will kill your lawn.
  5. You don’t know how much water your sprinkler system uses or how much water your lawn needs.
  6. Your neighborhood or homeowner association collectively wants to reduce the amount of water consumption and runoff – and clear up those algae-ridden sidewalks!

You’ll discover valuable sprinkler system maintenance tips, see the latest in water-saving sprinkler technology, get pro tips from a licensed irrigator, and learn how to receive weekly watering advice from the Brazos Valley Water Smart Network.

For more information or to register, contact me at 979-764-6223 or jnations@cstx.gov.

 


About the Author

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.


 

Image Copyright: fotokostic / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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This weekend’s tax holiday can save money — and water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If your landscape needs a spruce-up, this weekend is the ideal time to upgrade your irrigation controller, install a rain sensor, and add mulch to your new drought-tolerant plants.

And it’s all tax-free.

The state comptroller’s office is offering a sales tax holiday Saturday through Monday on the purchase of certain water-efficient products. The tax holiday was made possible by legislation passed in 2015 that provides an incentive for Texans to conserve our limited water resources.

Eligible tax-exempt items can be used to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature, which reduces evaporation. For example, mulch is tax exempt because it cools the soil and helps retain water.

Other tax-free items include:

  • WaterSense labeled products.
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hose.
  • Moisture control for a sprinkler or irrigation system.
  • Rain barrel or an alternative rain and moisture collection system.
  • Permeable ground cover surface that allows water to reach underground basins, aquifers or water collection points.
  • Plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Soil and compost

WaterSense-labeled products go through an independent, third-party certification process and meet the EPA’s specifications for efficiency and performance. The beauty of WaterSense is having water-saving products in your home or business that deliver exceptional performance and savings on water bills for years to come.

In addition to tax savings, rebates for toilets and rain barrels are available for College Station water customers.

Take advantage of this opportunity to help conserve our water resources while saving yourself some cash. For more information visit the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday page on the Texas Comptroller’s website.

 


About the Author

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 received a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


Image Copyright: raywoo/123RF Stock Photo 

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Public Works connects us, enhances our quality of life

By Wally Urrutia, Sanitation Superintendent

Most of us take for granted that our trash will be picked up on time, our drinking water will be clean, and our public facilities will be adequately maintained. But College Station’s public works infrastructure, facilities, and services wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated professionals of the Public Works Department.

Efficient and professional public works programs manage our water, sewer, streets, traffic operations, storm water drainage, fleet maintenance, public building maintenance, recycling and solid waste collection. These services are vital for the safety, health and high quality of life we enjoy in our growing community.

This week marks the 57th annual National Public Works Week, which celebrates the thousands of men and women across the United States and Canada who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services known as public works. This year’s theme is “Public Works Connects Us,” which celebrates the role public works plays in connecting our communities with our streets, roads, bridges, and public transportation.

National Accreditation

Did you know that College Station is the only city of our size (80,000-150,000 population) in Texas with nationally accredited Public Works and Water Services departments? Administered by the American Public Works Association (APWA), the accreditation program recognizes agencies that go beyond the requirements of established industry practices.

The College Station Public Works Department consists of eight divisions — Capital Projects, Facility Maintenance, Streets Maintenance, Drainage Maintenance, Traffic Operations, Sanitation, Fleet Services and Administration. Our 123 employees deliver sanitation services and plan, build and maintain the infrastructure that allows our community to grow and prosper.

About Public Works Week

Since 1960, the APWA has sponsored National Public Works Week as a way for its 28,000 members to educate the public on the importance of public works in their daily lives. The occasion is marked each year with scores of resolutions and proclamations from mayors, governors, and presidents.

As we observe National Public Works Week, we honor and thank the employees of our Public Works and Water Services departments for their professionalism, hard work and the high level of dedicated service they provide to our community every day.

 


About the Blogger

Sanitation Superintendent Wally Urrutia is in his 30th year with the City of College Station. He was named Solid Waste Manager of the Year in 2016 by the Texas Public Works Association.


 

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New water meters will improve accuracy, planning

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

College Station Water Services is replacing about 5,000 residential water meters to allow the city to more accurately monitor water usage, plan for future water needs, and support water conservation.

The project began in April and is expected to be complete in June. You won’t be charged for your new meter, which will be replaced in order of billing cycle to allow you to begin a fresh cycle with the new meter.

The contractor won’t need to enter your home or business to do the replacement, but they may walk through your yard to access the water supply valve. Our water meters are located below ground in plastic, concrete or cast iron meter boxes with lids, typically near the sidewalk or curb.

The contractor’s vehicles are marked “Contractor for College Station Water Services.” If you’re home, the workers will let you know before briefly shutting off your water. If you aren’t home, they’ll leave a tag on your door to let you know they replaced your meter.

As with any measuring device, meters can become less accurate as they age. Water meters more than a decade old can significantly under-register flows. If the new, more accurate meter results in a slightly higher water bill, that means your old meter wasn’t registering all the water you used.

If you experience any problems or leaks with the new meter, please call College Station Utilities Dispatch at 855-528-4278. Choose option 2 to report a water issue and leave your contact information.

If you have any questions or concerns, call Water Services at 979-764-3660.

 


About the Author

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 received a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Ready to help College Station win a national challenge?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Is College Station one of the country’s most water-wise communities?

We think so, but we need your help to prove it.

Throughout April, College Station will participate in the Sixth Annual Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a friendly, nationwide competition to determine what cities are the most water-wise. To win, cities must have the highest percentage of residents take the challenge.

College Station will compete in the 100,000-299,999 population category won last year by Ventura, Calif, which had 350 residents participate. In 2016, the event awarded prizes to nearly 1,000 residents in winning cities.

What’s in it for you, besides the pride of living in a nationally recognized water-wise community? Quite a bit, actually.

If you’ve entered the prize drawing and we finish at the top, you could win:

  • A new Toyota Prius (grand prize).
  • A $1,000 shopping spree at a home improvement store.
  • 50 Greening Your Cleaning Gift Baskets from Earth Friendly Products.
  • 50 Toro EVOLUTION® Series controllers (equipped w/ Smart Connect®, Weather Sensor, and additional 4-station module).
  • 50 Cree 6-pack dimmable (84 percent less energy) LED light bulbs.
  • 50 Avex Brazos Autoseal® water bottles (set of 2)
  • 25 EcoFlow® shower heads from Waterpik.

How to participate

College Station Mayor Karl Mooney challenges you to conserve water, energy and other natural resources through a series of informative, easy-to-use online pledges. Teachers and students are encouraged to take part in the Classroom Water Pledge Challenge to earn prizes for their school.

To participate, click on one of the following links from April 1-30 and take the pledge. Encourage your friends and neighbors to take it, too.

The pledge asks residents to take simple actions to save water, such as fixing leaky faucets, taking shorter showers, and using energy efficient appliances — because saving energy also saves water.

Presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, the campaign was created in 2011 to complement existing municipal water conservation programs, promote drought resiliency and healthy watersheds, and reduce stress on aging water infrastructure. In 2016, residents from 4,100 cities pledged to reduce water consumption by 1.9 billion gallons — enough to fill 2,877 Olympic-size swimming pools.

That’s a lot of water!

Related Links:

 


About the Author

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 received a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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3 simple steps to save big on your water bill

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

More than one trillion gallons of water are wasted in American homes each year because of easy-to-fix leaks. That’s why the City of College Station is joining with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week to encourage homeowners to find and repair leaks during the annual Fix a Leak Week.

In the average home, household leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year. That’s enough water for 270 loads of laundry.

You can identify leaks around your home and start saving today with these three simple steps:

1. Check

Check your water bill and water meter for signs of leaks. If your water use this winter exceeded 12,000 gallons a month for a family of four, you probably had leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when you’re not using any water. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Water meters also have a leak indicator – if there is a (+) sign on a digital water meter, or if the red dial is moving at all when you’re not using water – that’s a sign of a leak.

Check for dripping faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, and other fixtures. Silent toilet leaks, a common culprit of high water bills, can be detected by placing a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and waiting 10 minutes before flushing. If any color appears in the bowl during that time, you have a leak. Don’t forget to check your irrigation system and spigots, too.

2. Twist

Apply pipe tape to make sure plumbing fixture connections are sealed tight and give leaking faucets and showerheads a firm twist with a wrench. If you can’t stop those drops yourself, contact a licensed plumber.

For additional savings, twist a WaterSense-labeled aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without affecting flow. Faucet aerators only cost a few dollars can save a household more than 500 gallons each year—enough for 180 showers.

3. Replace

If you just can’t nip that drip, it may be time to replace the fixture. Look for WaterSense-labeled models, which use at least 20 percent less water and are independently certified to perform as well or better than standard fixtures. Replacing an old, inefficient showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model will shrink your household’s water footprint by 2,900 gallons annually while still letting you shower with power, thanks to EPA’s efficiency and performance criteria.

With less hot water passing through, WaterSense-labeled showerheads can also save enough energy to power a television for a year. If you Replace an old toilet that uses 3.5 gallons or more per flush with a WaterSense-labeled toilet, you could be eligible for a $100 rebate.

How do you get started?

First, click here to take the WaterSense Pledge, then follow WaterSense on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest tips.

Finally, grab a wrench or contact your favorite handy person, plumber, or certified irrigation professional to repair your leaky toilets, faucets, showerheads, and irrigation systems.

The water you save will help conserve our precious water while saving you a substantial amount of money.

 


7204119348_7a9cc790a2_oAbout the Author

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator for more than 15 years 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 earned a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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