Posts tagged “water conservation

3 steps to Fix a Leak and save money

 

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

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

Sponsored by the EPA’s WaterSense program, Fix a Leak Week can help you improve the water efficiency of your home by finding and repairing leaks. In an average home, leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water annually – enough to wash 270 loads of laundry. That makes for a hefty water bill, too.

You can identify leaks in 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 winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month for a family of four, you probably have leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak.

Water meters also have a leak indicator. If there is a plus (+) sign on your digital water meter, or if a red dial is moving — even slowly — when water isn’t being used, that’s a sign of a leak. Look for dripping faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, and other fixtures. Silent toilet leaks, a common problem that can send water bills soaring, 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 irrigation systems and spigots too.

2. Twist

Apply pipe tape to ensure plumbing fixture connections are sealed tight and give leaking faucets and showerheads a firm twist with a wrench. If you can’t stop the drips yourself, contact a licensed plumber. For additional savings, twist a WaterSense labeled aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without noticing a difference in flow. Faucet aerators cost a few dollars or less and 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 your fixture. WaterSense-labeled models use at least 20 percent less water and are independently certified to perform as well or better than standard plumbing 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 your television for a year.

Replace your old toilet using 3½ gallons per flush or more with a WaterSense-labeled toilet, and you could be eligible for a rebate of up to $100.

Get Involved

Grab a wrench this week or contact your favorite handy person, plumber, or licensed irrigator to address leaking toilets, faucets, showerheads, and irrigation systems around your home.

If you find and fix a leak, take a picture (a leaky selfie?) and share it on Twitter (#ifixleaks). For more information on how to save water, go to cstx.gov/water or contact me at jnations@cstx.gov.

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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Oct. 12)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Oct. 12. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:31 p.m.

The workshop has started. Council took no action on items discussed in executive session.

6:38 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:

  • Investment Policy: The Public Funds Investment Act requires an annual review and approval of the city’s investment policy and investment strategies. The act further requires that the governing body adopt a written instrument by rule, order, ordinance, or resolution stating that it has reviewed the investment policy and investment strategies and that the written instrument so adopted records any changes to either the investment policy or investment strategies. The City of College Station adopted an irrevocable OPEB trust on Sept. 11 and added to the investment strategy is the investment guideline for this trust.
  • Rio Grande Subdivision Parking Removal: This ordinance removes on-street parking on the northeast side of Little River Street beginning at the intersection of Harvey Mitchell Parkway South and extending 175 feet northwest to the intersection with a private alley.
  • Cordova Ridge Subdivision Parking Removal: This ordinance removes on-street parking on the northwest side of Cordova Ridge Court beginning at the intersection of Renee Lane and extending 640 feet southwest into its cul-de-sac.

7:05 p.m.

Water Conservation Update

The council heard a presentation by Texas A&M Professor Ron Kaiser, who has developed diagnostics to estimate how much water has been saved by local water conservation efforts. Kaiser provided a summary of significant achievements and ongoing programs.

He said the BVWaterSmart website and weekly notifications have played a significant role in reducing the amount of water wasted by overwatering landscapes.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:08 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.

7:18 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:24 p.m.

Municipal Courts Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed Nov. 6-10 as Municipal Courts Week to recognize the importance of municipal courts, the rule of law, and the fair and impartial administration of justice. Pictured below with Mayor Mooney are Municipal Court Judge Ed Spillane and the municipal court staff.

7:28 p.m.

Fill the Boot for MDS

Mayor Mooney recognized the College Station Fire Department for its participation in the recent Fill the Boot for Muscular Dystrophy event. Mooney proclaimed Oct. 26-28 as Fill The Boot Days in College Station. For more than 60 years, Fill the Boot has been a national firefighter tradition that gives hope and support to families affected by muscular dystrophy. Pictured below with Mayor Mooney are representatives of the College Station Fire Department.

7:37 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. John Ellison spoke about the poor behavior he frequently witnesses on weekends in Northgate.

7:38 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Renewal of a not-to-exceed $150,000 contract with Hilltop Securities for financial advisory services.
  • A $25,000 funding agreement with the Memorial for all Veterans of the Brazos Valley and its annual budget.
  • A $350,000 funding agreement with the Research Valley Partnership.
  • A $15,000 funding agreement with the College Station Noon Lions Club.
  • A $390,868 funding agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley for art and tourism marketing.
  • A $25,000 funding agreement with the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce and its annual budget.
  • A $114,376 funding agreement with Easterwood Airport and its annual budget.
  • A $325,000 funding agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley and its annual budget.
  • A $2,280,236 tri-party funding agreement with the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau and its annual budget. College Station’s share is $1,846,991 and Bryan’s is $433,245.
  • A $49,190 funding agreement with Keep Brazos Beautiful.
  • Estimated awards totaling $130,000 to CC Creations ($65,000) and M&M Apparel ($65,000) for city-branded uniforms.
  • A $400,000 funding agreement with the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau to administer its grant program.
  • A $3.29 million contract with Elliott Construction for the Eastgate Rehab PH IV
  • Project.
  • A $301,495 contract with Binkley & Barfield for engineering services related to the preliminary design of the Greens Prairie Road and Greens Prairie Trail projects.
  • A $258,200 contract with Freese and Nichols for the Drainage Capital Plan.
  • A resolution stating that the city council has reviewed and approved the city’s investment policy, broker-dealer list, and investment strategy.
  • Annual water meter purchases estimated to be $166,078.27 from Aqua Metric Sales Company through the Houston-Galveston Area Council contract.
  • Removed parking on the northeast side of Little River Street beginning at the intersection with Harvey Mitchell Parkway South and extending 175 feet northwest to the intersection with a private alley.
  • Removed parking on the northwest side of Cordova Ridge Court beginning at the intersection with Renee Lane and extending 640 feet southwest into its cul-de-sac.
  • An amendment removing contradictory language from a Community Development Block Grant funding contract with Brazos Valley Community Action Programs for affordable rental activity at 1112 Waynesboro Ct.
  • An amendment removing contradictory language from a Community Development Block Grant funding contract with Twin City Mission for affordable rental activity at 2404 Blanco Dr.
  • An ordinance amendment to allow the CSPD SWAT team to have key box access.

7:58 p.m.

Northpoint Crossing Modification

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to modify the concept plan of the existing Planned Development District at Northpoint Crossing. The change will reduce the width of sidewalks along Northpoint Crossing Drive to allow for the redesign of head-in parking and improve site identification and wayfinding.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:22 p.m.

Arrington Road Thoroughfare Alignment

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to approve a request to realign a future minor collector with Harpers Ferry Road at the intersection with Arrington Road. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Linda Harvell voted against the motion. Brazos County is reconstructing a portion of Arrington and requested the Thoroughfare Plan amendment to improve safety and efficiency in the corridor.

An earlier motion to delay the vote until additional information could be obtained failed by a 5-2 vote. Brick and Harvell supported that motion.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:22 p.m.

The council is taking a short break.

9:32 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

10:38 p.m.

Roadway Impact Fee Collection Rate

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 against reducing the roadway impact fee collection rate to zero. Councilwoman Julie Schultz and Councilman James Benham voted for the motion. The action would have reduced anticipated revenue for roadway capital improvement projects by about $12 million over the next decade.

The council adopted the one-time fees last year on new development to help mitigate the estimated $134 million in capital improvements needed in the next 10 years. Maximum fees were adopted with a lower collection rate phased in over a three-year period, with the initial fees scheduled to start Dec. 1. The adopted collection rate is about 9 percent of the maximum identified by state law.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:00 p.m.

Parkland Dedication Comp Plan Amendments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan to revise neighborhood and community park zones.

The amendments change neighborhood park zones to no longer include College Station’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and to combine some of the zones. The changes also reduce community park zones from four areas to two by combining Zones A & B into one zone west of Highway 6 and combining Zones C & D into another zone east of Highway 6.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:30 p.m.

Parkland Dedication UDO Revisions

After a public hearing, the council voted for staff to bring back reworded revisions to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding the broader use of Parkland Dedication Fees.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:39 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

11:39 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Oct. 26.

 


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 done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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 (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Water Conservation Update: In the workshop, the council will hear a presentation about local water conservation efforts, including a summary of significant achievements and ongoing programs.
  2. Funding Agreements: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider annual funding agreements with the Memorial for All Veterans of the Brazos Valley, Research Valley Partnership, Noon Lions Club, Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce, Easterwood Airport, Experience B-CS, and Keep Brazos Beautiful.
  3. Eastgate Water/Wastewater Rehabilitation: Another consent agenda item is a $3.3 million contract for Phase IV of the rehabilitation of water and wastewater lines in the Eastgate area.
  4. Northpoint Crossing Change: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to amend the concept plan for about 11 acres in the Northpoint Crossing Subdivision. The change would reduce sidewalks along Northpoint Crossing Drive to allow for the redesign of parking and would modify the sign ordinance to improve site identification and wayfinding.
  5. Roadway Impact Fees: After a public hearing, the council will consider reducing the roadway impact fee rate to zero. The fees are imposed on new development to help offset the city’s cost of building new roadways. The existing rate is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1 and is expected to generate $12 million in the next decade.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

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 done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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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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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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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