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After-Action Review of Public Water Systems and Winter Storm Uri

TCEQ is evaluating the factors that impacted so many public water systems during the storm.

HOTNew trainings announced below!

Roundtable Discussions

TCEQ is continuing to gather information about all of the factors that impacted public water systems during Winter Storm Uri. We are planning to have a series of open conversations about the hardships, successes, and lessons learned throughout the state as a result of the storm. Your participation is an important part of this process. We are currently opening registration for a few roundtable discussions from the end of June through July. The discussions will be hosted virtually through Microsoft Teams. Some of the topics that will be covered are emergency power resources, weatherization, resiliency, supply chain disruption, conservation during emergency situations, boil water notice procedures, state response and assistance efforts, and functional exercises on emergency response plans. 

Thank you to all who participated in these events. Your participation was an important part of this process. The information gathered through these discussions will be used to help develop recommendations geared toward improving the state’s regulations, training events, and available guidance documents regarding water system resiliency.

There are currently no additional roundtable discussions scheduled. For questions, email us at Winterstorm_PWS@tceq.texas.gov or call 512-239-4691.

Public Water System Survey

TCEQ is evaluating the factors that impacted so many public water systems during the February 2021 Winter Storm Uri. The goal is to identify measures that TCEQ and public water systems can implement to mitigate the risks posed by catastrophic weather-related events.

To help achieve this goal, the project team created a survey to gather information about your experiences during the storm and how your public water system was impacted. Your responses are important. This information will be presented to TCEQ’s commissioners and will guide recommendations for responding to severe weather-related events, and possible improvements to state regulations, and identify needed changes in TCEQ’s procedures and assistance efforts. 

The survey closed on Monday August 23, 2021. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. For questions, email us at Winterstorm_PWS@tceq.texas.gov or call 512-239-4691.

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After-Action Review

The Goal

Improve public health and safety by developing response and recovery actions that mitigate risks posed by catastrophic weather-related events.

The Plan

  • Engage public and private sector stakeholders to discuss a variety of topics—such as:
    • case studies and lessons learned
    • adequacy of emergency power resources and other critical infrastructure
    • evaluation of system design standards relating to weatherization
    • rules and regulations on system resiliency
    • equipment inventory and maintenance procedures
    • facility resource and staffing needs
    • conservation during times of high customer demand
    • chemical and fuel supplies
    • communication pathways during the event
    • alternative sources for water supply and distribution
    • boil water notice procedures
    • agency response and assistance efforts
    • functional exercises on emergency response plans and Utility National Incident Management System Certification
  • Collect information to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by public water systems due to the emergency.
  • Evaluate the resources in place to assist systems in increasing their resiliency.

Methods to Gather Information

  • Survey public water systems
  • Conduct round-table discussions across the state
  • Research rules and current literature
  • Host resiliency workshops and training at the agency’s annual Public Drinking Water Conference in August 2021 (attracts around 1,200 participants each year)

Project Timeline

  • Commissioners tasked staff on March 3, 2021, to conduct the review and present them with monthly updates.
  • The project plan was presented at the March 31, 2021 Commissioners’ Agenda, marking commencement of the project.
  • The timeline to complete the analysis is approximately 12 months.

Project Outcomes

After compiling the information learned during the process, staff will present to the commissioners:

  • Findings and suggested recommendations to assist public water systems to prepare for, respond to, and recover from seasonal hazards that can impact their water system.
  • Recommended actions that we can take to assist in enhancing the resilience of public water systems and our response to assist them during these types of catastrophic events.

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TCEQ and Public Water Systems

Of the more than 7,000 public water systems that TCEQ oversees, 4,647 are community public water systems, which serve drinking water to people all year-round, such as residential consumers.

Boil Water Notices During Winter Storm Uri

Nearly 40% (1,985) of community public water systems had issued a boil water notice at the peak of Winter Storm Uri.

Systems issue boil water notices as either a precaution or notification to protect their consumers when an unexpected condition causes the potential for biological contamination of drinking water. During this extreme weather event, several conditions existed that impacted the systems’ ability to treat and distribute water which led to issuing these notices, including:

  • Loss of power
  • Damaged equipment
  • Loss of pressure
  • Dangerous road conditions

For More Information and Trainings

Additional resources for public water systems and municipalities:

Trainings

The TCEQ and EPA are conducting a virtual workshop relating to Texas water and power resilience on November 10, 2021, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Read the flyer hereAdobe Acrobat PDF Document for additional information about this including how to register.

The TCEQ and Texas Rural Water Authority are conducting several workshops relating to Emergency Preparedness in October, November, December, and January across the state. Follow this link FMT Emergency Preparedness WorkshopsExit the TCEQ for additional information about this including how to register.

For questions, email us at Winterstorm_PWS@tceq.texas.gov or call 512-239-4691.

Contact us

For questions, email us at Winterstorm_PWS@tceq.texas.gov or call 512-239-4691.

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