Posts tagged “Wastewater

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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (May 23)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, May 23. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:24 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session.

5:25 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled no consent items for workshop discussion.

5:50 p.m.

Economic Development Update

The council reviewed the city’s economic development efforts and discussed ways to enhance our economic competitiveness. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:28 p.m.

Fire Asset Reliability

The council reviewed the Fire Department’s adequacy and response reliability.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:32 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

6:38 p.m.

The regular meeting has started. Mayor Mooney said item No. 3 on the regular agenda (parking restrictions on Langford, King Arthur, Guadalupe, and Lancelot) has been pulled and will not be considered tonight.

6:58 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Seven people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized Army Capt. Sean P. Sims as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 32-year-old El Paso native died on Nov. 13, 2004, when his unit received small arms fire while clearing a building in Fallujah, Iraq.
  • Carlos Espina, Eduardo Espina, Carlos Prida, and Raphael Cruzan asked the council to bring soccer fields back to Anderson Park.
  • Donald and Patsy Deere spoke against the proposed parking restrictions on Langford, King Arthur, Guadalupe, and Lancelot. That item has been pulled from tonight’s agenda.

6:59 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $287,305 contract with Air-Tech Brazos Valley for facilities corrective maintenance services.
  • The $330,029.53 purchase of furnishings from multiple vendors for the renovated Larry J. Ringer Library.
  • An ordinance amendment that clarifies that customers are responsible for placing solid waste containers out for collection and for removing them afterward.
  • An ordinance amendment that clarifies that payment is not a defense for a violation of prohibited parking. Some Northgate parking spaces transition at times to prohibited parking for loading zones or passenger pick-up and the payment system can’t prohibit payment during these times.
  • An ordinance amendment that increases the civil fine for parking without paying in the Northgate Garage from $50 to $115 for payment within 10 days and from $60 to $125 for payment after 10 days.

7:14 p.m.

Parking Restrictions on Poplar, Ash, Live Oak and Nimitz

The council voted unanimously to remove stopping, standing, and parking along one side of Poplar, Live Oak, Ash, and Nimitz Streets, and on one side of a segment of Edelweiss Avenue from 7-9 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. on school days.

Ash Street residents contacted the city about cars parked on both sides of the road that could impede emergency vehicle access. Additional evaluation led the Traffic Management Team to also recommend parking restrictions on Poplar, Live Oak, and Nimitz.

The principal of Rock Prairie Elementary contacted the city about cars parked on both sides of the road during the afternoon pick-up times, which affects the ability to see children crossing. In addition, when vehicles park along Edelweiss, the road effectively becomes a single-lane roadway for a two-direction operation.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

7:22 p.m.

Landscaping and Mowing Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a $1.06 million contract with Green Teams for citywide mowing and landscape maintenance. The contract does not include regional parks and athletic fields.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:31 p.m.

Wellborn-Holleman Intersection

The council voted unanimously to approve an advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for improvements at the Wellborn Road-Holleman Drive intersection. The agreement has no budgetary impact and covers work within the state’s right-of-way. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:33 p.m.

Southwood Valley Sewer Line

The council voted unanimously to approve a $1.22 million contract with Palasota Contracting for the Southwood Valley Trunk Line Phase 1 Project to increase capacity for development.

The project area starts about 160 feet south of Bee Creek on the west side of State Highway 6, runs south for about 1,000 feet toward the northwest corner of FM 2818 and State Highway 6, then goes southwest about 1,250 feet toward Brothers Boulevard.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:38 p.m.

Highway 6 Gateway Sign

The council voted unanimously to approve a $149,486 contract with JaCody Construction for a gateway sign located just north of Peach Creek Cutoff along State Highway 6 within TxDOT right-of-way.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:44 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items, and Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, June 13.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 25)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 25. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:13 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session.

5:35 p.m.

Planning & Zoning Commission Plan of Work

The council conducted a joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss the commission’s 2019 plan of work, which includes items related to the Comprehensive Plan, neighborhood integrity, and the Unified Development Ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:39 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Drought Contingency and Water Conservation Plan: The 2014 Drought Contingency Plan update contained several revisions from the previous version adopted in 2009. The proposed plan does not make significant changes from 2014. The 2019 plan maintains year-round encouragement of voluntary water conservation, following guidance from the state.

6:04 p.m.

Thomas Park Improvements

The council discussed improvements for Thomas Park. City staff recommends completing the plan over multiple years, staying in the first year within the $1 million budgeted for FY19. Mayor Mooney suspended the discussion, which will resume after the regular meeting.

The Parks and Recreation Board recommends spending the $1 million on a covered tennis court, a dog park and two covered picnic tables on the park’s north end.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:05 p.m.

Mayor Mooney suspended the workshop, which will resume after the regular meeting. The council will take a short break.

6:13 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:20 p.m.

Groundwater Conservationist of the Year

The Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District presented Pebble Creek Country Club with its Groundwater Conservationist of the Year Award for commercial irrigation.

6:23 p.m.

National Community Development Week

The mayor proclaimed this week as National Community Development Week.

6:26 p.m.

Municipal Clerk’s Week

The mayor proclaimed May 5-11 as Municipal Clerks Week.

6:52 p.m.

Hear Visitors

?? people spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized Air Force Airman 1st Class Corey C. Owens as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 26-year-old San Antonio native died on Feb. 17, 2011, in a non-combat incident at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
  • Eight people spoke in support of building a new pool in Thomas Park.

6:53 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • An annual blanket purchase order estimated at $180,000 with Lonestar Freightliner Group for repair parts and labor for fire trucks.
  • A $352,000 change order to the Graham Road Substation Project and a revision to the date of substantial completion from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31.
  • Renewal of an annual contract not to exceed $150,000 with All Around Tree Service for landscaping, tree trimming, and removal services.
  • A $281,998 contract with Bayer Construction Electrical Contractors for the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Barron Road and Alexandria Avenue.
  • An ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding secondhand dealers.
  • An ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding drought contingency and the Water Emergency Plan.
  • A resolution adopting the updated Water Conservation Plan as required by the state.
  • An ordinance amending the city’s Code of Ordinances to stagger appointments to boards and committees to allow the city council to make annual appointments.

7:24 p.m.

Comp Plan Committee Appointments

The council made appointments to the Comprehensive Plan Evaluation Committee, which will serve as the steering committee for the city’s 10-Year Comprehensive Plan review:

  • City Council: John Nichols, Linda Harvell, Elianor Vessali
  • Planning & Zoning Commission: Dennis Christiansen, Elizabeth Cunha, Jeremy Osborne (Alternate: Joe Guerra)
  • Citizens: Michael Buckley, Clint Cooper, Brian Bochner, Bradford Brimley, Lisa Halperin, Julie Schultz
  • Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: Shana Elliott

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:31 p.m.

Bird Pond Road Land Use

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the land use from Estate to Restricted Suburban for about 13 acres northeast of the Rock Prairie-Bird Pond intersection. The change will allow the development of a residential subdivision. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:59 p.m.

Bird Pond Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Estate to Planned Development District for the same 13 acres as in the previous item. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:08 p.m.

Northgate District Study

The council voted unanimously to approve a $188,000 contract with Waltman Group to complete a Northgate District study and mobility/operations plan. The increase in high-density residential development has created safety and mobility concerns for people walking, biking, and driving during weekdays and weekend evenings.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:16 p.m.

Lick Creek Sewer Trunk Line

The council voted unanimously to approve a $10.9 million contract with Thalle Construction for the Lick Creek Trunk Line Project. The sewer line will extend from the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant through the southern boundary of Pebble Creek Country Club and tie into an existing line north of Fitch Parkway.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:21 p.m.

Ringer Library Shelving

The council voted unanimously to approve the $460,000 million purchase of shelving for the newly renovated Ringer Library from Lone Star Furnishings. The renovation project budgeted $875,000 to furnish the building. Requests for remaining furnishings will be presented to the council at a later date.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:23 p.m.

The council discussed future agenda items. Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop will resume after a short break.

8:30 p.m.

The workshop has resumed.

9:37 p.m.

Thomas Park Discussion (continued)

The council concluded its earlier workshop discussion of improvements for Thomas Park. The consensus of the council was to not include a dog park or splash pad but to continue exploring a new swimming pool and other possible improvements as part of a broader plan. The discussion will continue as part of the FY20 budget process.

9:41 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports.

The council meets again on Monday, May 13.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science from Texas Tech.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Thomas Park Improvements: In the workshop, the council will discuss options for improvements to Thomas Park. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommends a covered tennis court, a dog park and two covered picnic tables on the park’s north end.
  2. Traffic Signal at Barron-Alexandria: The consent agenda includes a $282,000 contract to install a traffic signal at the Barron Road-Alexandria Avenue intersection.
  3. Water Conservation and Drought Plans: Also on the consent agenda are updates to the city’s drought contingency and water conservation plans.
  4. Bird Pond Road Development: After a pair of public hearings, the commission will consider a request to change the land use and zoning for about 13 acres northeast of the Rock Prairie-Bird Pond intersection. The changes would allow the development of a residential subdivision.
  5. Lick Creek Sewer Line: The council will consider a $10.9 million contract with Thalle Construction for the Lick Creek Trunk Line Project. The sewer line will extend from the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant through the southern boundary of Pebble Creek Country Club and tie into an existing line north of Fitch Parkway.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. CSPD Resource Allocation Study: In the workshop, the council will review a study by Etico Solutions that evaluated and analyzed police officer staffing. The information is based on five years of call data and three years of leave.
  2. Wolf Pen Creek Corridor: The council will have a workshop discussion on the status of the Wolf Pen Creek Corridor.
  3. Wastewater Public Utility Corridor: After a public hearing in the regular meeting, the council will consider establishing a public utility corridor for the Northeast Wastewater Trunk Line Project Phase 2 within city greenways east of Art & Myra Bright Park in the Raintree subdivision and east of Wilderness Drive.
  4. 10-year Comprehensive Plan Update: The council will consider a $167,500 contract with Planning NEXT for the city’s Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Evaluation and Appraisal Report. The planning process will begin in May and is expected to be finished by next summer.
  5. Georgie K. Fitch Park Trail: The council will consider a $363,000 contract with Kieschnick General Contractors for the development of the Georgie K. Fitch Park Trail to safely connect the park to the Ringer Library.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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Fighting fatbergs is a dirty (but avoidable) job

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Remember the iconic line from the movie “Titanic”?

“Fatberg, right ahead!”

Wait, what?

Sorry, the movie line was actually about an iceberg. But fatbergs are real, and they can put a fat hole in a utility’s maintenance and operations budget.

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) – along with flushable and non-flushable rags and wipes – merge in our sewers to form solid, immovable blockages known as fatbergs. They are worse in the winter months when cooler temperatures make it easier for the FOG to solidify.

Recently in London, it took nine weeks to dislodge a fatberg measuring 800 feet long and weighing 130 tons. That’s the same as 10 London double-decker buses.

The unsightly blobs can also significantly impact water quality and the environment after sewer overflows. We traced a recent sewer overflow to grease and paper towels coming from a fast food restaurant, which had to close for five hours while we made repairs.

Who drew the short straw?

While College Station hasn’t had fatbergs that colossal, we aren’t immune to problems caused by FOG and wipes. When a big grease blob sticks to the ultraviolet light used to disinfect our wastewater, the light can’t do its job.

When that happens, Courageous operators must manually remove disgusting balls of grease, wads of wipes, paper towels – even underwear – to keep expensive equipment from being damaged.

I’m not sure, but our brave operators probably draw straws to see who handles that dirty job!

Fatbergs can be costly

FOG and trash in the sewer system can also lead to increases in your wastewater rate. For the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion, a $150,000 preliminary screening station was added to the design to remove such things as wipes, rags, hygiene products of the cotton and plastic variety, and trash.

If you need to see it to believe it, the City of Spokane, Washington filmed an experiment with several commonly flushed items to find the answer to the question “will it flush?” Spoiler alert: only the toilet paper flushed.

Manually removing the grease at our wastewater plants costs the city an average of $600 a week.

3 ways to trim the fat

  1. Scrape food scraps into the garbage and let grease solidify in pans before placing it in the trash. Pour oil and grease into a can and after it hardens, put the sealed container in the regular trash.
  2. Avoid placing paper products – even those marked as flushable – down the drain or in the toilet. #NoWipesinPipes
  3. You can help protect your sewer system by remembering to only flush the 3 P’s – pee, poop, and toilet paper.

College Station Water Services – especially our valiant wastewater operators – appreciate your assistance in reducing our fatberg problem.

If you have any questions, email me at 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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