Updated March 2022
NCMUD SERVICE AREA
NCMUD contains approximately 1,010 acres and serves 2,194 houses located in 27 subdivision sections and 28 commercial and institutional accounts including Pattison Elementary School, two churches, and one apartment complex. See the District Map on this web site.
The NCMUD Board of Directors is committed to maintaining and operating its water and wastewater facilities in compliance with State and Federal law, but also to maintain high levels of service to its customers and taxpayers in order to maintain the values of their homes and communities.
WATER SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION
Water Plants and Wells
NCMUD owns and operates one Water Supply Plant located at 2039 Botany Bay that includes an onsite 1,900 gallons per minute (gpm) groundwater well. NCMUD also owns and operates two offsite groundwater water wells: 1,390 gpm Well No. 2 located at 20035 Highland Knolls Drive (along the County Greenbelt) and 3,000 gpm Well No. 3 located at 19800 1/2 Almond Park Drive. These two wells pump groundwater back to the Water Supply Plant.
The Water Supply Plant includes four ground storage tanks totaling 2,720,000 gallons and four booster pumps totaling 6,500 gpm to serve the District’s domestic and firefighting needs.
The District also maintains emergency interconnect agreements with Harris County MUD No. 81 and Memorial MUD which allow either party to provide water to the other party when requested.
Emergency Power during CenterPoint Outages
NCMUD’s Water Supply Plant has an onsite diesel fueled emergency power generator that will provide electrical power to operate the plant and provide water to customers when CenterPoint power is unavailable. In addition, offsite Water Well No. 3 also has an onsite diesel fueled emergency power generator that will allow that 3,000 gpm well to pump water back to the Water Supply Plant when CenterPoint power is unavailable.
Hurricane Harvey Flooding and Mitigation Projects
The Water Supply Plant and Well No. 3 were damaged and taken out of service by the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Flood waters were a maximum of 3.5 feet deep at the Water Supply Plant. NCMUD maintained service to its customers using the water supply interconnects noted above for the 3 months it took to complete repairs to the Water Supply Plant.
The Board of Directors decided to modify the Water Supply Plant so that similar flooding damage would not occur in the future. NCMUD just completed a major modification of the Water Supply Plant which raised vulnerable equipment approximately 7.5 feet, which is 4 feet above the Hurricane Harvey flood water level. This project also replaced 30+ year old equipment that was scheduled for replacement.
NCMUD is also preparing construction plans for Well No. 3 to raise vulnerable equipment above the Hurricane Harvey flood level and construction is anticipated to begin in 2022.
West Harris County Regional Water Authority Conversion to Surface Water
The Harris Galveston Subsidence District (HGSD) requires that all major water users in Galveston and Harris Counties convert to surface water in order to reduce land subsidence. The only practical way for MUDs like NCMUD to comply with this requirement is to be included in a regional groundwater reduction plan approved by the HGSD. NCMUD is a member of the West Harris County Regional Water Authority (WHCRWA). The WHCRWA has a HGSD approved GRP and purchases treated surface water from the City and Houston and distributes it to cities and MUDs.
For the entire WHCRWA service area, HGSD currently requires that the use of surface water be a minimum of 30% until 2025, when the minimum surface water conversion will increase to 65%. In 2035, the minimum surface water conversion for the entire area will increase again to 80%.
In order to minimize the costs of surface water conversion for all of its customers, the WHCRWA has converted those areas geographically closest to the surface water supply lines to almost 100% surface water. Since all customers are benefitting from this concentrated conversion, the costs are shared by all customers through the use of pumpage fees. The WHCRWA sets the pumpage fee sufficient to cover purchase of treated surface water, capital costs to construct its facilities, and operation & maintenance costs. NCMUD is currently on 100% groundwater but pays a pumpage fee on every gallon pumped out of its wells and that pumpage fee is passed on to its customers.
NCMUD is located at the southwestern edge of the WHCRWA service area. WHCRWA has not yet determined whether it’s most economical to extend supply lines to and convert NCMUD to surface water in 2025 or 2035.
Water Distribution System Maintenance
NCMUD owns and maintains a network of approximately 163,990 feet of water lines ranging in diameter from 4 inches to 12 inches and 288 fire hydrants. Routine water line maintenance includes monthly testing of disinfection levels in the water lines and the flushing of dead ends as required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. In addition, NCMUD checks the operation of the fire hydrants in the Districts once a year and makes repairs as needed.
Repairs of water main leaks and tap line leaks are made as found or reported. These leaks are often caused by the shrinking or swelling of soil due to significant variations in soil moisture. Residents are requested to report known or suspected water line leaks to Si Environmental, the District’s Operations Company, at (832) 490-1507.
From time to time, NCMUD will clean the water distribution lines either by pigging, as was done in 2014, or by a system wide water line flushing.
Unusually High Water Usage and What Customers should Check For
When customers receive high water bills due to unusually high water usages, many assume that their water meter is incorrect. While it is possible that there is a mistake in the meter reading, most high water usages are real because water meters almost never over-read, but in fact tend to under-read the true usage as they age. For this reason, NCMUD, like most MUDs, routinely replaces water meters after they reach a certain total flow reading, typically 1 million gallons.
Most people will notice a dripping faucet but may underestimate the amount of water that a constant leak can accumulate. More importantly, many leaks occur that a customer cannot see or hear. For example:
- Slow leaks in toilets often occur due to problems with the fill valves. These leaks can be nearly silent but continuous.
- Sometimes leaks occur in a seldom used bathroom and so go unnoticed.
- Irrigation systems, which are often set to run before dawn when no one is watching, can have major leaks that go unnoticed due to a broken pipe or damaged spray head.
- Hard freezes can create small cracks in exposed piping that drip, but in locations that are not noticed.
- The buried water line that runs underground from the customers meter to the house and irrigation system could have a leak which may not be obvious from the surface.
WASTEWATER TREATMENT AND COLLECTION
Wastewater Treatment Plant
NCMUD owns and operates a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) designed to treat 650,000 gallon per day of wastewater located at 19800 Almond Park Drive adjacent to Mason Creek. The WWTP consistently achieves better effluent than what is required by NCMUD’s State Discharge Permit.
NCMUD just completed a major renovation and improvement project to replace 30+ year old equipment, add a second clarifier for reliability, and divide the single aeration basin into two basins that can be operated independently to facilitate maintenance.
Emergency Power during CenterPoint Outages
NCMUD’s Wastewater Treatment Plant has an onsite diesel fueled emergency power generator that will provide electrical power to operate the WWTP when CenterPoint power is unavailable.
Hurricane Harvey Flooding and Mitigation Projects
Since the WWTP is located on higher ground than the Water Supply Plant, and because some equipment is located at the top of the treatment tanks that are above ground, the site flooding during Harvey did minor damage. The WWTP continued to operate throughout Harvey, but it was close: if the floodwaters had risen a few more inches, the WWTP’s electrical equipment would have been flooded.
The Board of Directors decided to modify the WWTP Plant to raise vulnerable equipment to appropriately 3 or more feet above the Harvey flood water level. This project will include replacement of 30+ year old equipment that was previously scheduled for replacement in the next few years. NCMUD is currently preparing construction plans for the WWTP flood mitigation project and construction will begin in 2022.
Wastewater (Sewage) Collection System
The NCMUD owns and operates a network of approximately 153,082 feet of gravity sanitary sewer lines ranging in diameter from 8-inches to 30-inches including approximately 785 manholes. In addition, a sanitary sewer lift station located at 2650 South Fry Road serves the southern portion of the NCMUD by lifting the wastewater and then pumping it to a downstream gravity sanitary sewer line. This lift station has a permanent onsite emergency power generator to continue operation during a CenterPoint power outage.
All of the gravity sanitary sewer lines are collected to a lift station located on the WWTP site which pumps the wastewater into the headworks of the WWTP. The onsite lift station has a permanent onsite emergency power generator which serves the entire WWTP to continue operation during a CenterPoint power outage.
Sanitary Sewer Preventive Maintenance Program
NCMUD initiated in 2009 a Sanitary Sewer Preventive Maintenance Program in which each year approximately 20% of the sanitary sewer system within NCMUD is cleaned and televised. This means that every sanitary sewer line will be cleaned (essentially a power washing) once every 5 years. The cleaning serves multiple purposes: (1) it removes grease and sediment build up that could lead to sewer line blockages affecting customers, (2) it is necessary to clean in order to run the in-pipe video camera to identify and then repair sewer line defects and damages, and (3) this preventive maintenance will avoid emergency blockages and sewer collapses that usually cause greater inconvenience to customers and result in a higher cost.
NCMUD is currently in the 13th year of the preventative maintenance program. As would be expected, the number of repairs required has been reduced for each subsequent 5 year cycle.
Reuse of Treated Wastewater Effluent
As the costs of drinking water continue to increase over time, the cost effectiveness of using treated and disinfected wastewater for irrigation and lake makeup water will become more attractive. Wastewater reuse is common in some other areas of Texas and the United States and is expected to be utilized more in the Houston area in the future.
NOTTINGHAM GREENBELT PARK
In 1998, NCMUD purchased approximately 43 acres along the north side of Highland Knolls Boulevard and the west side of Fry Road. At that time, this acreage was an open field and was expected to eventually be developed for multifamily and commercial land uses. NCMUD envisioned a public open space for the use of its residents that would include extensive tree planting and a trail system for community exercise and enjoyment.
There have been multiple phases of development since the initial construction began in 1998, and a total of 798 trees have been planted and more than 11,408 feet of trails have been constructed and maintained in the Nottingham Greenbelt Park. Additional improvements include trail benches, drinking fountains, a reflection garden and trail lighting.
In 2016, NCMUD obtained the undeveloped Norwalk Drive street right of way on the south side of Highland Knolls Blvd. in order to develop it into the Norwalk Park and provide a trail connection to the Greenbelt Park. It had been an undeveloped grass area prior to the acquisition. NCMUD has since planted 15 additional trees, and installed 615 feet of trail, a drinking fountain, several benches, and an irrigation system.
FINANCING OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
The NCMUD Board of Directors prefers to fund major capital improvement projects on a pay as you go basis rather than sell bonds. The Board is proactive in performing facility condition inspections and preventive maintenance on a regular schedule to reduce the likelihood of sudden emergency repairs, although the possibility of such emergencies cannot be eliminated. NCMUD does have voter authorized bonds that could be sold if the size and urgency of a project warranted it.