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RULE §290.39General Provisions

(a) Authority for requirements. Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC), Chapter 341, Subchapter C prescribes the duties of the commission relating to the regulation and control of public drinking water systems in the state. The statute requires that the commission ensure that public water systems: supply safe drinking water in adequate quantities, are financially stable and technically sound, promote use of regional and area-wide drinking water systems, and review completed plans and specifications and business plans for all contemplated public water systems not exempted by THSC, §341.035(d). The statute also requires the commission be notified of any subsequent material changes, improvements, additions, or alterations in existing systems and, consider compliance history in approving new or modified public water systems. Texas Water Code (TWC), §13.1394 and §13.1395, prescribe the duties of the commission relating to standards for emergency operations of affected utilities. The statute requires that the commission ensure that affected utilities provide water service as soon as safe and practicable during an extended power outage following the occurrence of a natural disaster.

(b) Reason for this subchapter and minimum criteria. This subchapter has been adopted to ensure regionalization and area-wide options are fully considered, the inclusion of all data essential for comprehensive consideration of the contemplated project, or improvements, additions, alterations, or changes thereto and to establish minimum standardized public health design criteria in compliance with existing state statutes and in accordance with good public health engineering practices. In addition, minimum acceptable financial, managerial, technical, and operating practices must be specified to ensure that facilities are properly operated to produce and distribute safe, potable water.

(c) Required actions and approvals prior to construction. A person may not begin construction of a public drinking water supply system unless the executive director determines the following requirements have been satisfied and approves construction of the proposed system.

  (1) A person proposing to install a public drinking water system within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a municipality; or within 1/2-mile of the corporate boundaries of a district, or other political subdivision providing the same service; or within 1/2-mile of a certificated service area boundary of any other water service provider shall provide to the executive director evidence that:

    (A) written application for service was made to that provider; and

    (B) all application requirements of the service provider were satisfied, including the payment of related fees.

  (2) A person may submit a request for an exception to the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection if the application fees will create a hardship on the person. The request must be accompanied by evidence documenting the financial hardship.

  (3) A person who is not required to complete the steps in paragraph (1) of this subsection, or who completes the steps in paragraph (1) of this subsection and is denied service or determines that the existing provider's cost estimate is not feasible for the development to be served, shall submit to the executive director:

    (A) plans and specifications for the system; and

    (B) a business plan for the system.

  (4) Emergency Preparedness Plan for Public Water Systems that are Affected Utilities, as defined in TWC §13.1394 and §13.1395, must be submitted as described in §290.39(o) of this title.

(d) Submission of plans.

  (1) Plans, specifications, and related documents will not be considered unless they have been prepared under the direction of a licensed professional engineer. All engineering documents must have engineering seals, signatures, and dates affixed in accordance with the rules of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.

  (2) Detailed plans must be submitted for examination at least 30 days prior to the time that approval, comments or recommendations are desired. From this, it is not to be inferred that final action will be forthcoming within the time mentioned.

  (3) The limits of approval are as follows.

    (A) The commission's public drinking water program furnishes consultation services as a reviewing body only, and its licensed professional engineers may neither act as design engineers nor furnish detailed estimates.

    (B) The commission's public drinking water program does not examine plans and specifications in regard to the structural features of design, such as strength of concrete or adequacy of reinforcing. Only the features covered by this subchapter will be reviewed.

    (C) The consulting engineer and/or owner must provide surveillance adequate to assure that facilities will be constructed according to approved plans and must notify the executive director in writing upon completion of all work. Planning materials shall be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Water Supply Division, MC 159, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087.

(e) Submission of planning material. In general, the planning material submitted shall conform to the following requirements.

  (1) Engineering reports are required for new water systems and all surface water treatment plants. Engineering reports are also required when design or capacity deficiencies are identified in an existing system. The engineering report shall include, at least, coverage of the following items:

    (A) statement of the problem or problems;

    (B) present and future areas to be served, with population data;

    (C) the source, with quantity and quality of water available;

    (D) present and estimated future maximum and minimum water quantity demands;

    (E) description of proposed site and surroundings for the water works facilities;

    (F) type of treatment, equipment, and capacity of facilities;

    (G) basic design data, including pumping capacities, water storage and flexibility of system operation under normal and emergency conditions; and

    (H) the adequacy of the facilities with regard to delivery capacity and pressure throughout the system.

  (2) All plans and drawings submitted may be printed on any of the various papers which give distinct lines. All prints must be clear, legible and assembled to facilitate review.

    (A) The relative location of all facilities which are pertinent to the specific project shall be shown.

    (B) The location of all abandoned or inactive wells within 1/4-mile of a proposed well site shall be shown or reported.

    (C) If staged construction is anticipated, the overall plan shall be presented, even though a portion of the construction may be deferred.

    (D) A general map or plan of the municipality, water district, or area to be served shall accompany each proposal for a new water supply system.

  (3) Specifications for construction of facilities shall accompany all plans. If a process or equipment which may be subject to probationary acceptance because of limited application or use in Texas is proposed, the executive director may give limited approval. In such a case, the owner must be given a bonded guarantee from the manufacturer covering acceptable performance. The specifications shall include a statement that such a bonded guarantee will be provided to the owner and shall also specify those conditions under which the bond will be forfeited. Such a bond will be transferable. The bond shall be retained by the owner and transferred when a change in ownership occurs.

  (4) A copy of each fully executed sanitary control easement and any other documentation demonstrating compliance with §290.41(c)(1)(F) of this title (relating to Water Sources) shall be provided to the executive director prior to placing the well into service. Each original easement document, if obtained, must be recorded in the deed records at the county courthouse. For an example, see commission Form 20698.

  (5) Construction features and siting of all facilities for new water systems and for major improvements to existing water systems must be in conformity with applicable commission rules.

  (6) For public water systems using reverse osmosis or nanofiltration membranes, the engineering report must include the requirements specified in paragraph (1)(A) - (H) of this subsection, and additionally must provide sufficient information to ensure effective treatment. Specifically:

    (A) Provide a clear identification of the proposed raw water source.


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