Posts tagged “water

3 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. The council has a short agenda this week, so here are three items to watch:

  1. Thoroughfare Plan: In the workshop, the council will hear an update on the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s proposed 2050 Major Thoroughfare Concept Map and the College Station Thoroughfare Plan.
  2. Capital Projects Funding: The council will have a workshop discussion about funding capital projects.
  3. Woodson Village Utility Rehabilitation: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider an $816,000 consultant contract for design and construction phase services for the replacement of water and sewer lines near Haines Drive, Glade Street, Dexter Drive, and Timm Drive.

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 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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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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Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (May 16)

2014 Council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, May 16. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:28 p.m.

The workshop has started. Councilman James Benham is absent tonight.

5:45 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:

  • University Drive Pedestrian Safety Improvements:  The resolution would allow the mayor to sign an advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for cost participation in the University Drive Pedestrian Improvements Project, which will begin at near Lodge and extend through College Avenue. The project will improve pedestrian mobility and safety while balancing acceptable levels of traffic.

 

  • Water Service Area Swap: The objective is to clean up the official boundary lines of the water service area to allow the city and Wellborn Special Utility District to serve where they are best positioned and make the water system more efficient. The changes affect four locations and have been endorsed by the WSUD board.
  • Fitch-Victoria Traffic Signal: The project will include new traffic and pedestrian crossing signals at the intersection of Fitch Parkway and Victoria Avenue along with associated pavement markings and sidewalks. The signal is expected to be operating by the fall.
  • Munson Avenue Construction Contract: The Munson Avenue Rehabilitation Project will rehabilitate Munson Avenue from Lincoln Avenue to Dominic Drive. The improvements will include new concrete pavement, the rehabilitation of water and wastewater lines and the installation of a section of underground duct bank for future electrical utilities.

6:50 p.m.

CVB Performance Audit

The council discussed city Internal Auditor Ty Elliott’s audit of the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, which receives most of the city’s hotel occupancy tax revenue.

Elliott said the CVB’s accounting procedures and controls have improved since the last audit in 2011 but added that the CVB also has a relatively large amount of liquid assets. In addition, certain cost analysis methods may be able to aid the CVB in better understanding project returns.

According to Elliott, the CVB’s direct impact on bringing events to the College Station and Bryan area has not significantly changed since 2011, with the most impact being on sports events. The CVB’s expenditures have also increased since 2011, especially on marketing and personnel.

Elliott said employee turnover at the CVB appears to be high and that some of CVB’s strategic goals seem disconnected from its mission. He added that the Destination Marketing Association International calculator could be a useful tool for internal CVB decision making, but policymakers should be skeptical of using the calculator to provide justification for funding requests.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:07 p.m.

Status of Police Facility Design

The council was updated on the design status of a new police facility at the southeast corner of the Dartmouth Street-Krenek Tap Road intersection. 

The consensus of the council was to move forward with the size estimate of 79,000 square feet and to modify the Krenek Tap Overlay to better accommodate construction. Upon the recommendation of staff, the council decided not to house Fire Department administrators in the building. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:11 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:19 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:23 p.m.

National Public Works Week

Mayor Nancy Berry proclaimed this as National Public Works Week with a presentation to several employees of the city’s Public Works Department. The week is designed to recognize the contributions public works officials make every day to our health, safety, comfort, and quality of life.

Pictured below with Mayor Nancy Berry are Senior Traffic Engineer Troy Rother, Assistant Director of Public Works Emily Fisher, Street/Drainage/Irrigation Superintendent Marshall Wallace, and Crew Leader Jason Best.

PublicWorks

7:25 p.m.

National Bike Month

Mayor Berry proclaimed May as National Bike Month with a presentation to members of the city’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Advisory Board. Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month promotes bicycling as a healthy activity that helps the environment. Pictured with Mayor Berry below are Councilwoman Blanche Brick, Greenways Program Manager Venessa Garza, and Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways board members Tina Evans and Brandon Boatcallie.

BicycleMonth

7:28 p.m.

Annual Arts Council Scholarships

The Arts Council of Brazos Valley and Brazos Valley Art League, through the generous support of the Astin Winkler Charitable Trust, award multiple scholarships each year to promising young artists in the Brazos Valley. The College Art Scholarship is open to graduating seniors in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, or Washington counties who will attend an accredited college or university with a course of study in the arts, culture or heritage fields. 

This year’s scholarship recipients are Ester Araujo and Bryson Bounds from A&M Consolidated High School, and Mitchell Bradford of College Station High School. Pictured below with these excellent students are their families, members of the College Station City Council and representatives of the Arts Council Brazos Valley.

ArtsCouncilScholarships

7:39 p.m.

Brazos Valley Fashion Week

The mayor received a donation of $43,361.02 from Brazos Valley Fashion Week to benefit the Fun for All Playground at Beachy Central Park. Upon completion, this playground for people of all ages and abilities will be the only facility of its kind in the region. Considerable work and support for the cause came from students of Lindsay Zahn’s Project-Based Sociology Class at A&M Consolidated High School, who produced this video:

Representing that class tonight were Kacey Corbett, Jailene Lopez and Hailey Phillips, who are pictured below with members of the College Station City Council, representatives of the Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs who are spearheading the private fundraising, Parks and Recreation Department employees, and project supporters.

Funforall

7:43 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army Pfc. James D. Parker as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Bryan native died Jan. 21, 2004 in a mortar attack near Ba’qubah, Iraq. Members of the Parker family were present for the recognition.

7:43 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted 6-0 to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A resolution allowing the mayor to sign an advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s cost participation in the University Drive Pedestrian Improvements Project.
  • Changes to the water service area boundaries between the city and the Wellborn Special Utilities District.
  • A change order reducing the Graham Road Rehabilitation Project contract with Elliott Construction by $96,826.
  • A contract not-to-exceed $150,000 with Crossroads Asphalt Preservation for the surface sealing of city streets.
  • A $182,645.29 contract with Jamail & Smith Construction for facility corrective maintenance services. Contract pricing is available through an interlocal cooperative purchasing agreement with Buyboard.
  • A $66,895.25 contract with Binkley & Barfield for professional engineering services related to the design of traffic signal and intersection improvements at the intersections of Harvey Road at George Bush Drive East and Harvey Mitchell Parkway at Longmire Drive.
  • A $265,597.50 contract with Larry Young Paving for sidewalk improvements along Langford Street.
  • A $680,335.37 contract with Brazos Paving for a new traffic signal at the intersection of Fitch Parkway and Victoria Avenue.
  • A $2.45 million contract with Elliott Construction for the Munson Avenue Rehabilitation Project.
  • A lease with the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency for the use of the Twin Oaks Law Enforcement Training Facility by the Police Department.
  • A $250,694 contract with Layne Christensen Company to repair the pumps in Wells 6 and 8.
  • A utility agreement with the Brazos County Municipal Utility District No. 1 board addressing the provision of water and sewer service to the district.
  • The appointment of the Aggieland Humane Society’s executive director as the local rabies control authority.

7:49 p.m.

Wellborn Settlement Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to Planned Development District for about 26 acres between Wellborn Road and Royder Road near Greens Prairie Road West. 

The change will allow the development of clustered single-family residences.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:51 p.m.

150 Graham Rd. Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to change the zoning from Light Industrial and Heavy Industrial to Suburban Commercial for a 1/2-acre at 150 Graham Rd.

The change will allow the development of a daycare facility and retail/office space.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:55 p.m.

Agreement with MUD No. 1

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a strategic partnership agreement with Brazos County Municipal Utility District (MUD) No. 1 that outlines the terms and conditions for annexing the area.

The city council created the district in 2014 for the Texas World Speedway property.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

7:57 p.m.

Easement Abandonment at 105 Holik St.

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to abandon a public utility easement at 105 Holik St. to accommodate a building expansion on CSISD property.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:03 p.m.

Jane, Eisenhower Parking Removal

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance removing parking on both sides of Jane Street and Eisenhower Street between University Drive and Cooner Street.

The change was made to allow emergency vehicle access to the proposed Embassy Suites development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:05 p.m.

Northgate Park Parking Removal

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve an ordinance removing parking on part of Boyett Street to allow fire department access to the proposed Northgate Park Apartments development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:25 p.m.

Certificates of Obligation 

The council voted 6-0 to authorize the issuance of up to $30.5 million in Certificates of Obligation (Series 2016) to provide resources for streets, police station design and initial project costs, information technology, electric and water improvements, and debt issuance costs.

This debt issue will not affect property tax rate or utility rates.

General Obligation and Refunding Bonds

The council voted 6-0 to authorize the issuance and sale of up to $56 million in General Obligation Improvement and Refunding Bonds (Series 2016) to achieve savings due to lower interest rates.

The refunding is estimated to reduce the overall cost of the bonds by at least 12.618304 percent over their remaining life, saving at least $3.96 million. The savings will help the city by providing an additional margin council may choose to use for projects not currently funded.

The refunding will not impact the property tax rate.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

8:25 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, May 26.


Colin KillianAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (March 10)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, March 10. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:26 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

6:47 p.m.

Water Master Plan Update

The council heard a presentation about the city’s updated Water Master Plan, including population and demand projections, system analyses, and plans for capital improvements.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council: (more…)