State Agencies Supporting Water System Partnerships
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
State Policies and Programs Regarding Water System Partnerships
DWSRF PRIORITIZATION OF CONSOLIDATION PROJECTS
Projects that include PWS consolidations can receive additional priority points in the state’s DWSRF loan program. TCEQ also contracted with the University of Texas to help PWSs with maximum contaminant level violations understand the issues and related consolidation options (e.g., interconnections, treatment, new sources). Financial impacts were also discussed, so that the PWS would understand the costs per customer for different options. TCEQ funded this high-level technical assistance to small PWSs using the DWSRF Small Systems Technical Assistance set-aside.
FUNDING AND ASSISTANCE COORDINATION
Numerous state and federal regulatory, funding and assistance agencies are members of the Texas Water Infrastructure Coordination Committee (TWICC). TWICC meets regularly with entities who operate PWSs and that are interested in getting funding and other assistance including forming regional partnerships.
TCEQ currently contracts with the Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) to provide consolidation assessment for PWSs interested in consolidating with another system. If consolidation is determined to be feasible and recommended, the contractor discusses consolidation with the water system officials and stakeholders.
ENFORCMENT AND RECEIVERSHIP
The TCEQ can ask the State Attorney General to bring suit in state court for the appointment of a receiver to collect the assets and operate and maintain the water system when a system violates a final order of the TCEQ or allows any property owned or controlled by it to be used in violation of a final order of the Commission; fails to provide adequate service or notice of public health hazards; fails to maintain facilities such that a potential public health hazard may result; or, displays a pattern of hostility toward or repeatedly fails to respond to the TCEQ or its customers. The court can also appoint a receiver if it is necessary to collect fees, penalties, or interest. The receiver can apply to transfer the required certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) and can seek to acquire, sell, or otherwise dispose of the system’s facilities. The court, after a showing of good cause by the system, can dissolve the receivership and return the assets to the system.
CONSOLIDATION IS A STATUTORY PRIORITY
The Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) §341.0315, requires TCEQ to “encourage and promote the development and use of regional and area wide drinking water supply systems” (THSC §341.0315[b]). To help meet that end, TCEQ requires anyone wishing to construct a new system within a municipality or within one-half mile of a district or political subdivision providing the same service or within ½ mile of a certificated service boundary of any other water service provider, to prove that an application for service was made to the provider and that all of the provider’s requirements for service were satisfied.
Helpful Links to State Resources
- Texas Water Infrastructure Coordination Committee: http://www.twicc.org/
- Texas Rural Water Association (TCEQ Contractor) TMF Brochure: http://www.trwa.org/associations/14156/files/FMTAssistanceBrochure.pdf
- TCEQ Feasibility Studies for Small Public Water Systems: http://www.beg.utexas.edu/research/areas/groundwater-studies/tceq-feasibility-for-small-public-water-systems
- The Feasibility of Regionalizing Water and Wastewater Utilities: A TCEQ Policy Statement: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/comm_exec/pubs/gi/gi357/gi-357.pdf