2017 Membership Meeting, Questions Answered
April 13, 2017
Thank you for attending our annual membership meeting. We do appreciate your questions and comments as we are all in this together.
Water Quality Cards (Trihalomethanes THM’s) –In August 2016, after a free chlorine burn, one (1) sample site out of 4 turned out high in THM’s. The EPA rates the samples on a ‘running annual average’ so this has caused KWSC to send out notices every quarter for a full year. A running annual average basically means that they always keep 4 samples on record per testing site. For example, if you have 2 good samples and the third one happens to be elevated it causes the average to be high for the next 12 months even if the next three samples are within normal range. TCEQ forces us to send out notices every quarter even though the water is perfectly safe to drink. All of this translates to the simple fact that 1 sample out of 16 samples taken throughout the entire year was shown to be elevated after a free chlorine burn. Those numbers simply were not a correct representation of our entire system and the way it is managed. The risks to health from these by-products are minuscule in comparison with the risks associated with inadequate disinfection, and this was only one (1) sample in one (1) area of our system. KWSC added automatic flush valves to the sample site area preventing this from happening again in the future.
A little history on THM’s – Water has been treated with chlorine for over 100 years and is still used in public swimming pools. The treatment of water with chlorine has been proven invaluable, stopping a lot of the waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. Ammonia was added to drinking water in the 90’s. Water systems are regulated by state and federal laws allowing systems to return to free chlorine burns for no more than 30-days per year. This treatment change is good for removing biofilm in pipelines and while the water continues to be safe to drink, it will elevate THM’s for that short period of time.
Brown or Orange Water – Manganese is a source of colored water. Manganese is considered a secondary constituent because it is not proven harmful but does cause coloration in drinking water. I do understand that when water is colored, we have no desire to drink it because it is unpalatable. Manganese is found in a lot of foods we eat on a regular basis such as nuts, grains, fruits, vegetables, and tea. The fact is that it is safe to drink and is not considered a heath concern. KWSC is using water treatment and adding a new aeration system at the water treatment plant to help eliminate THM’s and colored water. We are doing our best to ensure you never receive colored water again in the future.
Will KWSC ever be in a situation like Flint, MI or Marlin? – No. Our entity would not be subject to situations that happened to Flint and Marlin.
The reason Flint’s problem occurred was due to old pipes installed between the 1920’s and the 1950’s. During this period of time, most pipes were sealed with lead joints. When Flint changed their water source to the local river, the water coming into the water treatment plant was corrosive and it began to eat away the lead in the joints. This caused lead contamination which leads to brain damage in children, learning disabilities, kidney failure in older adults, and can prove to be fatal. That situation cannot happen to KWSC because our system is newer and contains no lead joints.
KWSC has been monitoring for lead and copper since around 1994, as mandated by the state to check for high levels of lead and copper and as of this date has been 100% compliant with state and EPA rules and regulations.
A failed water system caused the Marlin situation. To prevent this scenario from happening, KWSC, as required by TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), has redundant pumping capacity. In case a pump fails, another pump is ready to function. If a pump fails while the other one is being used, KWSC would aggressively seek to repair the broken pump. Our goal is always to have redundancy in our system. Our distribution system has a maintenance protocol and our employees check the system regularly for water leaks and weak points in the distribution system. We try to repair weak points before they fail. KWSC takes a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach.
In summing up the situation in Flint and Marlin, it is very unlikely these 2 situations will ever occur in the KWSC water system.
Leaks in Water Lines, an extension of existing water lines, and replacement of old water lines – KWSC does have a long range plan to replace, loop, and/or upgrade waterlines in older parts of the over 345 square miles of service area. Unfortunately, these projects are very expensive. These projects are near and dear to KWSC, and we do understand your frustration with the time it takes to get these things accomplished. We would like to have already completed all these projects but due to budget issues and trying to keep your water rates as low as possible, these projects have to be spread out over several years.
New homes and how it affects water pressure – KWSC is required by federal and state law to only allow a certain number of meters based on line size. If new homes are added to an area maxed out in line size, no new meters can be added without upgrading to a larger water line.
Sand in the water line and replacement of water heater – Sediment is a natural occurrence in the water system and in water heaters. KWSC flushes all dead end mains every single month. Just as your AC filter has to be cleaned on a regular basis, so does your water heater. It is recommended to clean your water heater at least once a year. KWSC does not recommend you flush your own water heater as it is best to hire a professional, but if you choose to do it yourself, some basic directions for cleaning your water heater are as follows:
Locate the breaker/fuse box for an electrical heater or the thermostat for a gas heater.
Disable the circuit or fuse that powers the electrical water heater, or turn the thermostat to "Pilot" on a gas heater.
Turn off your cold water supply by rotating the water shut-off valve clockwise.
Open the hot water faucet in your sink or tub.
Attach a garden hose to the drain cock, or valve, located at the bottom of the heater
Extend the garden hose to a place where the water from the heater can safely discharge.
Open the drain cock to allow the water to exit the heater for five to ten minutes.
Close the drain clockwise and remove the garden hose.
Turn the water supply back on and let the tank fill.
Close the water heater drain
Turn the water supply back on and wait until the hot water line begins running continuously
Turn off the tub spigot
Source of directions provided by WikiHow http://www.wikihow.com/Flush-a-Water-Heater follow website for more detailed instructions with pictures.
How to run for Board Member – A letter is sent out to our membership in December of each year which includes a request for submission of applications to run for a position on the Board of Directors. Once applications are received, the individual will be placed on the ballot for membership votes.
The cost to pay a bill online using a credit card – KWSC checks annually for lower costs regarding payment online for credit card use. The credit card fees go directly to the credit card company. KWSC does not receive money for the use of your credit card. KWSC does not pay the charges associated with credit card use, simply because all members would have to bear the costs for the credit card fees when only an average of 20% of our membership uses credit cards for payment.
Water Bill does not show base rate to customer – KWSC does use cards for billing, only because of the cost savings compared to detailed billing. You can find the base rate and other charges associated with water service on our website at www.kempnerwsc.com under the customer service tab at the top of the page.
What are the benefits to the member regarding rate increases – KWSC is non-profit and uses 100% of your water rates to ensure safe and quality water. Cities can charge less for their water based on the collection of taxes. All of our charges for water are based on an independent water rate study of our system and divided among all members. One of the benefits KWSC is currently working on is an electronic meter allowing members to see their usage and be alerted if there is a possible leak on your side of the meter. We plan to have these meters in place by the end of 2017.
Alerts on the website - Please visit our website at www.kempnerwsc.com and click the Alerts button on the right of the screen. You will be alerted if there are any issues of concern. You can choose to be notified by email or text. Our recommendation is to sign up for email only or both. Sometimes the alerts may be too long for a text message, so you will either need to click on the website or check your email for the full message.
Fire Department payment and response – Thank you for your contributions to your local fire department. The KWSC service area is divided up by the fire departments determining which fire department receives your contributions. If you have questions regarding which fire department will respond when you call 911, please contact your county commissioner.
The breakdown of contributions by KWSC members for the past fiscal year are as follows:
$8,922.88 Kempner Volunteer Fire Department
$4,584.59 Copperas Cove Volunteer Fire Department
$4,330.07 Lampasas Volunteer Fire Department
$1,716.70 Oakalla Volunteer Fire Department
$19,554.24 Total Contributions
CONTRACT WITH LAMPASAS
Contract with Lampasas (why is it so bad and who takes responsibility?) – When the contract was signed in 2006 there was no issue with the contract being bad. It wasn’t until our water treatment plant went online in 2010, the subsidy was discovered. Your guess is as good as mine because current legal counsel and management were not present at the time.