Texas Small System ComplianceAt the request of EPA Region 6, personnel from the New Mexico Environmental Finance Center hosted a meeting on March 4, 2010 in Austin, Texas. The stated purpose of the meeting was to discuss options for funding and other assistance to small water systems in the state of Texas that are not in compliance with the arsenic and uranium standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Although the meeting was intended to specifically address arsenic and uranium compliance, it was also envisioned as a forum for the discussion of coordination of assistance from all the regulatory, funding and assistance agencies available to small systems in Texas. As such, it became a convenient opportunity for personnel from these different agencies and providers to become acquainted and to begin to build structures to work together to increase opportunities for small water systems in Texas to avail themselves of assistance in a comprehensive and efficient manner. The specific goal of the meeting was to build a “tool box” of techniques that might be helpful for these systems in meeting their compliance obligations. The completion of such a tool box opens avenues to bring this kind of coordination to other states in EPA Region 6.
Personnel from regulatory, funding and technical assistance agencies in the state of Texas were invited to attend this meeting. In addition, representatives of several private entities that have worked closely with these agencies were also invited. The response was excellent, and representatives from EPA Region 6, New Mexico Environmental Finance Center, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Rural Water Association, Texas Department of Rural Affairs, Rural Communities Assistance Program, Parsons, and Steve Walden Consulting were present at the meeting.
At the request of the participants in the March 4 meeting, the NM EFC facilitated a second meeting to establish a water and wastewater infrastructure coordinating group. Personnel from all the groups invited to the March 4 meeting were invited to join this discussion. This meeting was held on April 20, 2010 in Austin.
As a result of the diligent work of the participants as this meeting, the Texas Water Infrastructure Coordinating Council (TWICC) has been created. TWICC will collaborate to identify water and wastewater infrastructure and compliance issues and to seek affordable, sustainable and innovative funding strategies for the protection of public health and the efficient use of government resources in Texas.
The council has a clearly defined set of goals and objectives as well as a meeting structure, coordinators for the first year of meetings and a standard agenda. The importance of this accomplishment cannot be overstated. It is hoped that the first meeting will take place within the next month, so that the council can immediately set to work towards its goal of efficiently assisting small water and wastewater systems in Texas in complying with regulations and sustainably providing safe water and wastewater to their customers.
The full reports of both meetings as well as the handouts from the first meeting can be viewed below.
For more information, check these related documents:
March 4, 2010 Meeting Report
Federal and State Funding
Internal Funding Opportunities
Innovative Funding for Compliance
Unified Funding Groups
Report on April 20, 2010 Meeting
Environmental Finance Advisory Board|
EPA Environmental Finance Program
EPA Region 6 Drinking Water Program
Rocky Mountain Environmental Finance Center