Article by Lauren Svatek – Cartoon by Jerry Cogan
Almost two-thirds of the surface of our planet is covered in water, but the majority of that water is salty and undrinkable. Less than 3% of that water is fresh water, but only about 1% is readily available to resource from groundwater, rivers and lakes. Inaccessible freshwater sources include deep aquifers and glaciers.
In our previous article, “Where Does Our Water Come From?” it was cited that FBCMUD47 receives groundwater from the City. So, how does our district ensure that the water you receive from your taps is clean and safe?
On a national level, Congress passed The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974 to regulate the United States’ public drinking water supply. In 1986 and 1996, the SDWA was amended and requires numerous actions to protect water and its sources. The US EPA has set standards to protect drinking water from contaminants (both man-made and naturally occurring).The US EPA, states, and local water systems are responsible for overseeing that these standards are met.
Under the SDWA, the state of Texas enforces the regulations set forth by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). There are many regulations that the TCEQ requires districts to follow. The mission statement of TCEQ is “The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality strives to protect our state's public health and natural resources consistent with sustainable economic development. Our goal is clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste.” TCEQ’s role also includes enforcing all regulations and implementing timely attention and resolution of environmental violations. Public water systems in Texas are also required to regularly test their water for 102 different contaminants to ensure it meets all federal and state drinking water standards. See https://www.tceq.texas.gov for comprehensive information.
At our community level, the FBCMUD47 has contracted with Municipal District Services (MDS) to ensure that our community has safe water and effective and efficient wastewater disposal. MDS is bound by state and federal regulations to achieve the goal of safe drinking water. MDS provides an extensive list of services, including:
- Ground and surface water plant operations, repairs, and maintenance
- Wastewater treatment plant operations and maintenance
- Water distribution, wastewater collection, and storm sewer collection systems
operations, repairs, and maintenance
- Lift station and storm water pumping station operations, repairs, and
- Meter reading, utility billing and collections, and customer care support
- Multiple utility bill payment options for District customers, including an online
- Comprehensive management services including regulatory compliance, long-
range planning, and management of capital improvement programs
- Operations and maintenance of detention/retention ponds, amenity lakes, parks,
jogging trails, and streets
- Builder services including, water taps, residential and commercial meter
installation, inspection services, and service applications
- Preventative maintenance and inspection services for sanitary and storm sewer
manholes, fire hydrants, water valves, and commercial meters
- Complete utility system evaluation and troubleshooting
Their trucks which have the MDS logo (click here to view logo) and personnel are within our District daily. MDS also provides the Consumer Confidence Report required by the TCEQ which is a document that summarizes information collected to comply with Federal and State regulations. It includes information about the source(s) of water used chemical contaminants, bacteriological contaminants, compliance with drinking water rules, educational health information, water system contact information and public participation opportunities. This annual report is provided by mail and on the FBCMUD47 website (under Resources/documents).
Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District 47 strives to provide the district with the safest water for drinking, hygiene, cooking, and other vital household uses. Water conservation and environmental conservation are a substantial part of being able to have enough water, clean water sources, and providing all people safe water.