MUD 152 is implementing a voluntary water conservation notice for the district. Given the current dry conditions across our area, it is important for homeowners to think about ways to reduce their water usage. Water conservation experts suggest among other approaches, reducing the time spent in the shower, washing only fully loaded washing machines, waiting until the dishwasher is fully loaded before turning it on, and watering your lawn on a more limited basis.
Winter weather and freezing temperatures are expected this week across Texas. The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread freezing temperatures on Friday and Saturday mornings. Residents should closely monitor media and the National Weather Service for updates to the forecast. We wanted to assure you that the teams at Inframark are monitoring and working diligently in preparation for a freezing weather event to safeguard your facilities. It is also important that you take action as well in protecting the “Four P’s”: People, pets, pipes and plants.
- Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
- If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
- Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
- Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
- Keep adequate food and water available.
- Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.
- Wrap exposed faucets and pipes – including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.
- Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
- For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.
Additionally, if you have an irrigation system, turn off the water to the system at your backflow preventer and then drain the system so your irrigation pipes and sprinkler heads are not damaged.
The following sites can also be used as a source of information and to keep you updated:
Where you can learn more:
- Forecasts: National Weather Service Houston-Galveston
- Winter Weather Safety: National Weather Service
- Local Road Conditions: Houston TranStar
- State Road Conditions: DriveTexas.org
- Space Heater Safety: National Fire Protection Association
Stay safe and stay warm.
MUD 152 is joining MUDs across Texas in implementing a voluntary water conservation notice for the district. Given the current dry conditions across our area, it is important for homeowners to think about ways to reduce their water usage. Water conservation experts suggest among other approaches, reducing the time spent in the shower, washing only fully loaded washing machines, waiting until the dishwasher is fully loaded before turning it on, and watering your lawn on a more limited basis.
You may have noticed new signs in the district highlighting us as a designated Superior Public Water System by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This designation means that MUD 152 exceeds minimum standards in proper oversight, safe and clean water, necessary preparedness and management. To qualify for this designation, the district’s facilities and processes must meet standards outlined in the Texas Administrative Code.
(1) To attain recognition as a “Superior Public Water System”, the following additional requirements must be met:
(A) Physical facilities shall comply with the requirements in these sections.
(B) There shall be a minimum of two licensed operators with additional operators required for larger systems.
(C) The system’s microbiological record for the previous 24 months period shall indicate no violations (frequency, number or maximum contaminant level of the drinking water standards.
(D) The quality of the water shall comply with all primary water quality parameters listed in the drinking water standards.
(E) The chemical quality of the water shall comply with all secondary constituent levels listed in the drinking water standards.
(F) The system’s operation shall comply with applicable state statutes and minimum acceptable operating practices set forth in §290.46 of this title (relating to Minimum Acceptable Operating Practices for Public Drinking Water Systems).
(G) The system’s capacities shall meet or exceed minimum water system capacity requirements set forth in §290.45 of this title (relating to Minimum Water System Capacity Requirements).
(H) The system shall have at least two wells, two raw water pumps or a combination of these with enough capacity to provide average daily consumption with the largest well or pump out of service. This requirement shall also apply to treatment plant pumps necessary for operation in accordance with §290.42 of this title (relating to Water Treatment).
(I) The water system shall be well maintained and the facilities shall present a pleasing appearance to the public.
You may have noticed recent news regarding a water fee hike approved by the Houston City Council. It does NOT affect us since our neighborhood is served by MUD 152. We are in unincorporated Harris County, which is not part of the City of Houston or City of Humble. We do not purchase water from the City of Houston.
Details regarding the fee hike can be found here: https://abc13.com/society/houston-water-fee-hike-approved-by-city-council/10823352/
COLD WEATHER IS COMING!
WHAT ARE FREEZING TEMPERATURES?
When approaching winter in Texas, it can be uneventful as our winters tend to be somewhat mild in our area. Nevertheless, we do still have the chance of a detrimental cold front and we must be prepared. When talking about winter with Inframark, we take the WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW approach on our facilities. So, what are freezing temperatures?
Technically freezing temperatures are when the air reaches 32 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is typically uncommon to see damage to pipes or facilities if the temperature
drops down to 32 degrees and doesn’t stay there for a long period of time. When the temperature reaches 30 degrees or below and stays for just a few hours, it can cause the
pipes to freeze, damage irrigation equipment and cause control failures at many different levels. Additionally, there can be latent damage which doesn’t show immediately. An
example of this would be galvanized pipes. While the pipe may not burst, expansion can occur separating the galvanizing from the pipe creating an area for corrosion to start and
ultimately cause leaks.
WHEN DO YOU PREPARE FOR A FREEZE?
That question is probably the hardest to answer in our area. At Inframark, we do an annual freeze protection audit starting in the Fall. We also do periodic checks as winter continues, since it may actually be months before the cold weather makes its way to our area. It is always the best practice to make sure the preventive measures taken are in good condition throughout the winter. With preparations in place and a cold front approaching, the weather should be monitored regularly to determine arrival time, anticipated temperatures and duration of temperatures below freezing.
WHERE SHOULD WE HAVE FREEZE PROTECTION?
This is the easiest question, everywhere! We don’t believe you can prepare enough for a winter freeze. The potential loss and damage due to a freeze can be extremely costly. Your outside spigots should be covered and insulated along with any other pipes directly exposed to freezing temperatures. This also includes pipes in the attic, garden hoses, irrigation lines and irrigation system backflow preventers. The lines outside exposed to the air are the most common areas to see damage. It is not uncommon for our Inframark team to turn the water off to hundreds of broken backflow preventers in the residential communities after a big freeze. Typically, pipes in the home are fairly safe with heaters running.
HOW DO WE PREPARE FOR THE FREEZE?
There are many different methods and materials which can be utilized to make sure you are safe from freeze damage. Some of these are: foam and fiberglass insulation sized for specific pipes and secured with vinyl and plastic tape, prefabricated spigot covers, spray foam insulation, heat tape, heat lamps and portable heaters. Almost all building supply stores have these items, but do not wait until the night before because they are known to sell out. Should supplies be unavailable, one can improvise, such as utilizing towels and duct tape to insulate vulnerable areas. Turning off the water and draining the lines is the most reliable way to prevent freeze damage. This should always be done for backflow preventers and irrigation systems; however, most everyone needs to have potable water inside the house while it is occupied, so turning off the water and draining the lines is not an option. It is also best practice to periodically flush the lines through all fixtures inside the house during a freeze to bring fresh water into all the lines. This will prevent the water from expanding and breaking the pipes during the freeze. Space heaters, heat lamps and heat tape can be used for small areas directly exposed to freezing temperatures, but care should be taken with any device using extension cords.