Commissioners' Work Session
Thursday, November 5, 1998
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This meeting is a work session for discussion between commissioners and staff. No public testimony or comment will be accepted except by invitation of the commission.
- Consideration of activities associated with State Implementation Plans and the proposed Regional Clean Air Strategy. Herb Williams (OPRD/APRD) presented this item. No action was taken.
- Consideration of issues related to water and wastewater regionalization. Ken Petersen (OWRM), Sylvia Amaya (OPRD/ESAG), Wendy Rozacky (OPRD/ESAG), and Sabelyn Pussman (OCE/ENF) presented this item. Staff identified and requested guidance from the Commissioners for several issues dealing with analyzing and implementing water and wastewater regionalization options.
- Concerning the question of requiring regionalization information from applicants of wastewater permit renewals, the Commissioners decided against requiring regionalization information as part of the wastewater permit renewal and amendments process.
- The Commissioners concurred with staff recommendations to amend 30 TAC Chapter 305 (Relating to Consolidated Permits) to expressly require regionalization information from a domestic wastewater permit applicant. The application would be considered administratively incomplete if the information was not provided.
- Concerning the proposed Water Rates/SB 1, HB 1406, SB 623 rulemaking package, staff was directed to provide consistency in development of requirements for domestic wastewater permit applications, public drinking water system proposals, and wastewater permit applications.
- Statute currently requires water and wastewater applicants in economically distressed areas to provide survey information regarding unserved populations within their proposed service area, such as cost, location, and barriers to providing service. Staff was directed to explore other tools to provide similar information for applications in all areas, to involve stakeholders in the discussions, and to present their findings at a future work session.
- Staff indicated there is limited information and expertise for determining economic feasibility for wastewater regionalization. A contract with the University of New Mexicoís Environmental Finance Center exists to develop a baseline of water system costs for a good system under the Safe Drinking Water Act, but does not include regionalization economic issues. Staff was directed to look at expanding this contract to include development of an economic module, which includes regionalization parameters that relate to reasonableness of certain sized systems to distance of service. In addition, staff was directed to estimate the resource burden to accomplish this task.
- The commission took no action to institute review requirements for approval as a designated management agency. However, they did direct staff to coordinate with local planning organizations to promote and coordinate regionalization.
- Staff was directed to pursue entering into formal agreements with the Texas Water Development Board, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, other state, federal and international agencies regarding coordination of needs to facilitate water and waste water regionalization initiatives prepared by the Regionalization Workgroup.
- Consideration of the agency's legislative proposals and other related issues to be addressed during the 76th Texas legislative session. The commission may also meet in closed meeting to receive legal advice regarding these matters, or any of the above matters, as authorized by Section 551.071 of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Any commission action, decision, or vote on these matters will be made in open meeting in accordance with Section 551.102 of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Glenn Shankle (EXEC/DEPDIR) presented three options for consideration relating to state funding of TNRCC water programs. The options were: appropriate additional General Revenue; increase existing public water system fee and use some petroleum produce fee returns; and increase the existing public water system fee. Staff was directed to continue to educate individuals on what we are asking for and why we are asking. Additionally, to avoid any appearance of advocacy, staff was directed to present the three options to the Legislative Work Group and to provide a briefing on the work groupís position at a future work session. No further refinement or development of options is appropriate.
- Planning for the next Commissionersí Work Session. The next Commissionersí Work Session, previously scheduled for November 19, is now rescheduled for November 24. The discussion of issues related to Alternative Dispute Resolution and Default Orders, previously unscheduled, is now scheduled for November 24. There will be a combined work session between TNRCC and Public Utilities Commission on January 14, 1999.