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Texting While Driving Banned Statewide

Posted By Allison Kaminsky, Friday, September 29, 2017

As of  September 1st, texting while driving within the state of Texas is punishable by a fine of $25-99 for first-time offenders, and $100-200 for repeat offenders (though no points will be assigned). The new law also states that if an accident caused by texting and driving results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year (in addition to any other charges/punishments).

It’s important to note that this new law only addresses “reading, writing, or sending electronic messages” via a “wireless communication device.” It is still legal for motorists in most cities to use their phone for GPS navigation, music apps, dialing phone numbers, etc., but drivers may still get pulled over if an officer suspects them of texting.

While the law includes a provision to preempt local texting-and-driving ordinances which already existed in over 100 cities, it does not address stricter cell phone bans (i.e., hands-free laws) put in place by at least 45 other Texas cities such as Austin, San Antonio, Denton and El Paso. Attempts made during the special session to roll back any city ordinances that ban mobile phone use beyond texting while driving were supported by Governor Abbott, but did not come to fruition. Cities are still free to pass (and enforce) hands-free laws within their city limits.

 

This new law adds to some existing laws that prohibit all drivers under 18 and school bus drivers from texting or making telephone calls while driving—even with a hands-free device. Texas also forbids use of phones in school zones. In 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finalized rules to restrict texting and the use of hand-held mobile phones by truck and bus drivers while operating a commercial motor vehicle.   

Tags:  #txlege  rural texas  rural water  Texas legislature  Texas water  TRWA  water operators 

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Most People Don’t Know These 10 Things about Being a Water Utility Operator

Posted By Allison Kaminsky, Thursday, February 23, 2017

You may not realize it, but water utility operators play an important role in our society. Every day, certified water operators are ensuring we have safe drinking water by maintaining equipment and processes to monitor and affect water as it moves through the treatment and distribution cycles. The following are 10 things most people don’t know about the occupation that helps ensure our public health, making such a large impact on our lives on a daily basis.

  1. Drinking water operator certification is managed on a state-by-state basis. In Texas, licensing requirements are managed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Operators can be licensed in a variety of areas, including water, wastewater, distribution and reuse.
  2. Texas has required all public water systems to have a licensed operator since the 1950s, though the EPA did not require licensed operators for public water systems until 2001.
  3. Public water system operators must have at least a high school diploma or a GED, as well have required training courses and experience to test for their license. They then must renew their license every three years, requiring continuing education hours to do so.
  4. There are several levels of licensure for being a water operator. As an operator advances from a “D” to an “A” license level, their expertise expands, including a strong working knowledge of math and chemistry necessary to ensure proper chemical dosages.
  5. One major task of water operators is to disinfect our drinking water and maintain a disinfection residual, usually a form of chlorine, in the distribution system. A residual is a low level of the disinfectant that remains in the water after its initial application to protect against waterborne contaminants.
  6. To ensure the water is properly safeguarded, the water operator conducts daily tests to measure the disinfectant residual in the water distribution system.
  7. Water operators must flush all dead-end mains, and also must flush water distribution lines when they receive customer complaints. Once flushing starts, the operator cannot stop flushing until the water is clear and the desired chlorine residual is reached.
  8. Fire hydrants and flush valves are designed to catch “trash” in the water and provide a place to remove this “trash” from the distribution system. This is why fire hydrants and flush valves usually flow “dirty” water when they are first opened.
  9. On a monthly basis, water operators are required to take bacteriological samples from the water distribution system and have these samples tested by a state-approved laboratory.
  10. Operators are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to make repairs and respond to emergencies on the water system.

The Texas Rural Water Association works hard every day to protect rural Texas’ drinking water. We have resources and expert staff that help rural and small systems with a wide-range of issues, including compliance and legal challenges. TRWA provides classroom and online training courses to help Texas water and wastewater operators get the training they need. We are here to help ensure rural Texans have access to efficient service and clean, quality drinking water. We represent over 750 small and rural utilities that serve communities that enjoy #qualityontap and #drinklocalwater.

Tags:  contamination  drink local water  education  quality on tap  rural water  Texas water  water operators  water quality 

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10 Things You Might Not Know about Rural Water

Posted By Allison Kaminsky, Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, December 20, 2016
  1. Ninety-four percent of water utilities nationwide are rural or small municipal systems serving populations of less than 10,000.
  2. Rural water systems are held to the same quality standards as big city systems. They are regularly inspected and are required to resolve any violations in a timely fashion.
  3. Rural water systems are operated and governed by people whose families drink the water every day and by people who are locally elected by their community.
  4. Rural water operators are all professionally licensed and take the same training and licensing exams as operators at larger systems. All water operators are required to take continuing education to make sure they stay up-to-date on rules, regulations and requirements.
  5. Water operators are public servants who take great pride in their work, which is to safeguard the public health of their communities. In rural areas, the operators know their community members, applying that personal knowledge of their neighbors to their daily work.
  6. Every day, someone is watching for changes in complex water delivery systems, making second-to-second decisions about adding essential purifying chemicals, killing pathogens and keeping your family’s water safe.
  7. A large number of rural systems voluntarily participate in source water protection programs, which includes searching for potential sources of contamination and educating customers on practical steps they can take to protect their drinking water supply.
  8. Rural water systems strive to provide high-quality drinking water while also being sensitive to disadvantaged communities and the affordability of water rates.
  9. Most systems have a water loss program where they check for and fix leaks on a regular basis to minimize waste and costs, eliminate potential sources of contamination and mitigate drought conditions. Operators also check meters to make sure customers aren’t losing water on their end.
  10. Rural systems are part of a larger network. All 50 states are served by a rural water association.  These associations provided over 75,000 onsite technical assistance visits and 150,000 hours of training to more than 37,000 utilities in the last year. Rural water association training and technical assistance covers every aspect of operating, managing and financing water and wastewater utilities.

The Texas Rural Water Association works hard every day to protect rural Texas’ drinking water. We have resources and expert staff that help rural and small systems with a wide-range of issues, including compliance and legal challenges. We are here to help ensure rural Texans have access to efficient service and clean, quality drinking water. We represent over 750 small and rural utilities that serve communities that enjoy #qualityontap and #drinklocalwater.

 

 

 

Tags:  contamination  drink local water  education  quality on tap  rural water  source water protection  Texas water  water loss programs  water operators  water quality 

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