Posts tagged “jennifer nations

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.


 

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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.


 

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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.


 

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When will College Station get a water reservoir?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

From time to time, someone will ask, “when will College Station get a water reservoir?” Throughout my 23 years with the city’s Water Services Department, the answer has always been “it won’t.”

But if such a topic were to surface, it would likely happen at a meeting of the Brazos Region G Regional Water Planning Group, one of 16 regional groups in the state.

College Station will be among the water users discussed at the regional planning group’s public meeting on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. They want to gather input from stakeholders in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Lee, Milam, Robertson, and Washington counties on matters related to available water supplies, projected needs, and management strategies.

The feedback will help shape the 2021 Regional Water Plan the regional groups submit to the Texas Water Development Board.

Under the regional water planning process, stakeholder interest groups such as cities, water utilities, agriculture, river authorities, industry, environmental, groundwater conservation districts, and more gather regularly to discuss water needs and strategies. Discussions include population projections, user needs, and strategies such as reservoirs, groundwater wells, and conservation.

In other words, individuals with knowledge of water needs and population collaborate to make sure our water future remains sustainable.

The regional water plans are developed on a rolling five-year cycle, then consolidated into a state water plan. The latest five-year plan – to be finalized in 2021 — is in the draft stage and is almost ready for its public debut. The final version will be reviewed by the Texas Water Development Board and incorporated into the next state plan.

The regional meetings tend to be “must-see” events for water nerds like me, but the public and other water professionals are also encouraged to attend. Even if you don’t consider yourself a water nerd, you may come away impressed at the diligent planning that goes into ensuring that Texas and the Brazos Valley continue to have a reliable supply of one of our most vital resources.

For more information, go to brazosgwater.org.

 


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.


 

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Where there’s smoke, there’s wastewater

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

College Station Water Services’ has started its latest round of smoke testing to evaluate the condition of some of our older wastewater lines. Since today is World Toilet Day, it’s a perfect time to make sure these sewer lines are working properly.

We’ll conduct the tests along University Drive and part of the Eastgate area today through Friday between 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. If necessary, we may have to extend some of the work to Monday.

World Toilet Day is designed to inspire action about the global sanitation crisis. According to the World Health Organization, a safely managed sanitation service means people can use toilet facilities that are their own, not shared, and we dispose of waste in a manner that protects human health and the environment.

Smoke testing is an indispensable tool that helps us maintain our essential infrastructure by identifying the locations of defects and improper connections. Our technicians blow an odorless and non-toxic smoke into the sewer and wait to see where it might leak.

As part of the process, smoke may exit through vent pipes on roofs, wastewater manholes, and from the ground where there are breaks in the sewer system. It’s also possible that smoke may find its way into service connections and vent from buildings served by the lines.

Our wastewater collection system is designed to treat wastewater, not stormwater, and excess water takes up capacity in the pipes and winds up in our wastewater treatment plants. We must treat like sewage the extra water that gets into our system through inflow and infiltration, and that means higher treatment costs.

Inflow is stormwater that enters the system through direct connections such as downspouts and drains connected to 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.

We should count ourselves as fortunate that we aren’t among the 4.2 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to safely managed sanitation services.

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

 


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.


 

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Sales tax holiday can save you money — and water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

The Memorial Day weekend in the Brazos Valley will be busy with the Texas Weekend of Remembrance, high school graduations, dance recitals, athletic events, and more.

The return of sunny, warm weather also means it an ideal time to make your home and landscape more efficient. If you upgrade your irrigation controller, install a rain sensor, and add mulch to your drought-tolerant plants this weekend, it’s all tax-free.

The Texas Comptroller’s Office has declared a sales tax holiday from Saturday through Monday on the purchase of certain water– and energy-efficient products. This year marks the third time the tax holiday has provided an incentive for Texans to conserve our limited water resources.

Eligible tax-exempt items are things that can be used to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature to reduce water lost to evaporation. Among the eligible items are:

  • WaterSense-labeled products.
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hoses.
  • Moisture control for sprinkler or irrigation systems (rain shutoff switches or soil moisture sensors).
  • Rain barrels (rainwater harvesting equipment is always exempt from state sales tax).
  • Permeable ground cover surfaces that allow 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 Environmental Protection Agency’s specifications for efficiency and performance. The beauty is having water-saving products in your home or business that deliver exceptional performance and savings on water bills for years to come.

For more information, visit the Texas Comptroller’s Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday webpage.

Stay cool this weekend and get ready for water and energy 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.


 

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State honors BV WaterSmart for conservation impact

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If you’re among the more than 500 College Station residents who’ve signed up to receive irrigation notices from Brazos Valley WaterSmart, you’ve seen the impact of the innovative program on your water bill. For those of us who keep an eye on our precious aquifers, the impact has been even more dramatic.

The program’s goal is to improve residential outdoor water use and reduce landscape overwatering, and it’s succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. When you consider our population has grown by about 30 percent since the 2010 Census, the results are downright astounding.

The water budgets it generates and other interventions such as our irrigation checkups have reduced the number of high-volume single-family residential consumers in College Station by nearly 50 percent.  Since the program’s inception in 2010, the cumulative reduction in water use in College Station is more than 630 million gallons of water. That’s about how much our community consumes in two full winter months.

The program has even had a positive effect on the efficient use of your tax dollars, trimming the City of College Station’s electric bill by at least $110,000 a year because of reduced pumping, treatment, and electricity needed for distribution.

It’s not surprising that others across the state have noticed our miracle on the Brazos.

Last week, Brazos Valley WaterSmart received the prestigious Blue Legacy Award from the Texas Water Development Board as part of “Texas Water Day at the Capitol” in Austin. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding and innovative commitment to the state’s mission of promoting responsible management of water resources and the conservation of our water resources.

Brazos Valley WaterSmart is an educational and research partnership of Texas A&M University, the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District, and the City of College Station. That means a lot of outstanding people are behind this tremendous success story.

How BV WaterSmart Happened

Faculty, staff and graduate students from the A&M’s Water Management and Hydrological Science degree program, Texas AgriLife Research, and the Texas Center for Applied Technology worked with staff from the city and district to develop the program. Agriculture and Life Sciences Professor Ronald Kaiser is the director.

The research team found that about half of the water used in College Station and Bryan is for landscape, lawn, and outdoor purposes. They knew that helping the community find creative and innovative ways to be more efficient was the key to significant savings.

The six programs they created include weather stations, a website, personalized weekly watering notifications, residential water budgets, free residential irrigation system inspections, water conservation seminars, and public service announcements. Each program focuses on a different aspect of outdoor water usage to educate residents on ways to conserve.

To everyone involved — especially the environmental technicians who work on specifying, installing, and maintaining the weather stations and rain gauges that make up the weather-based watering recommendations — WAY TO GO!

 


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.


 

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Sales tax holiday a chance to save water, money

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Memorial Day weekend in the Brazos Valley means it’s time to Remember the Fallen, along with high school graduations, dance recitals, athletic events, and more. But if you can carve out the time, it’s also a great time to make your home and landscape more efficient.

And it’s all tax-free.

The Texas Comptroller’s Office is offering a sales tax holiday on the purchase of certain water and energy-efficient products from Saturday through Monday. The sales tax holiday was made possible by legislation passed in 2015, and this year marks the second time the tax holiday has provided an incentive for Texans to conserve our limited water resources. In addition to tax savings, rebates for toilets and rain barrels are available for College Station water customers.

Eligible items are things that can be used to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature to reduce water lost to evaporation. Mulch is on the list because it is an excellent way to cool the soil, suppress weeds, and help plants use water efficiently. You can’t go wrong with a good thick layer of organic mulch.

Other tax-exempt items include:

  • WaterSense-labeled products.
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hoses.
  • Moisture controls for sprinkler or irrigation systems (i.e., rain shutoff switches).
  • Rain barrels or an alternative rain and moisture collection system.
  • Permeable ground cover surfaces that allow water to reach underground basins, aquifers or water collection points.
  • Plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Water-saving surfactants.
  • Soil and compost.

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

For more information, visit the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday page on the Texas Comptroller’s website. Stay cool this weekend and enjoy water and energy 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.


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