Water

Q: Where does our water come from, are we likely to run out someday?

Our current water supply is drawn from groundwater located in the “Upper Gulf Coast Aquifer” system. You may notice from the linked graphic that we share our water with large geographic areas within the State of Texas. In our area, we are all basically pulling from the same water source. Naturally, as our area grows more dense with population, more water is needed. The Gulf Coast Aquifer is comprised of four water producing formations.  The deepest of the four is the Catahoula aquifer, next is the Jasper aquifer then the Evangeline aquifer and the shallowest is the Chicot aquifer.  These aquifers are artesian, which means that the water rises above level where it is encountered in the well bore.  Spring Creek Forest P.U.D. has two water wells that are both drilled into the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers.  These aquifers were selected as our water source because they provided the highest quality of water of the four aquifers.  Water in these aquifers is recharged naturally by rainfall which seeps its way down into the aquifer system. The distance from the surface to the water varies from place to place. The SCF wells are drilled to about 650 feet and have a static water level of 250 feet.

There has been casual observation of the water levels within these aquifers from about 1940, but true scientific measurements did not begin until 1977 and continue to this day. The US Geological Service (USGS) is charged with monitoring the water levels within these water systems.  Our State mandated conversion to surface water was due to the lowering water levels of ground water systems throughout Texas. In looking at the Chicot water levels that have been observed since 1935, one could easily predict the day was coming when pumpage would have exceeded the recharge rate of the aquifer.  Additionally, the water level has much to say about the quality of the water which is drawn from the source. Since the early 1980’s the water levels within the Chicot aquifer have remained fairly constant and plentiful. As our area converts toward surface water over the next 20 years, these aquifers will fill back up. This will have a positive impact on any subsidence within our geographic region.

Q: What is subsidence?

Subsidence occurs when large geographic areas of the earth begin lowering their relative distance to sea level. In some cases, subsidence occurs naturally by the movement of the earth’s plates. However, subsidence can also occur when underground bodies of water are depleted and the mass of earth above the water source begins to buckle under its weight without any pressure to hold it up. In most instances, the rate of decline is gradual and slow. By scientific measures, the Houston-Galveston region is subsiding at a rate of 7cm (centimeters) per year and is primarily related to the depletion of the Gulf Coast Aquifer system. The good news is that this trend can be slowed, if not eradicated, by the prompt and quick move to surface water over the next 20 years, as mandated by the State of Texas.

On the question of whether the SCF water wells can create sinkholes on your property or under your house, it is quite unlikely. Subsidence is something which happens slowly over large areas, not specific or isolated area, such as a single residence or even our entire neighborhood. If your are experiencing sink holes or foundation problems, they are more likely caused by the construction of your foundation, soil makeup directly beneath your house, or other issues.

Q. Is our drinking water safe?

By standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our drinking water is of the highest quality available. We surpass both State and National standards for all levels of production and distribution. Our water source and distribution facilities are monitored and tested on a daily, weekly, monthly, and multiple year schedule to ensure it is safe to use. All drinking water may contain contaminates, some can cause taste, color, or odor problems. Different people are more sensitive to some particulates than others which may explain why some people living in the same household enjoy drinking tap water and others do not. Drinking water, including nearly all bottled waters, are reasonably expected to contain small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of these contaminants does not necessarily pose a health risk.

Sewage

Q. What makes up the sewage fee on my bill?

The sewage fee is currently $50 per month per household (January 2007). The fees are broken down into several items.

Sewage pumping and processing
22
Garbage & recycling pickup
23
Operational Reserve fund
5
Total
$50

 

The $5 fee for the ‘Operational Reserve Fund’ is to maintain a one year reserve of cash in order to handle any potential emergency which may arise with an aging water and sewer infrastructure.

Q. Where does our sewage go?

Our sewage is pumped to another nearby utility district called the Bammel Utility District. There are 6 districts which process their sewage at this treatment plant, including SCFPUD. In fact, each district owns a portion of the treatment plant and is considered an asset by each district. The SCFPUD owns an 18% share of the Bammel waste treatment facility. This means that SCFPUD residents pay 18% of the operating expenses and capital improvements for the facility.

Garbage

Q. Why is the garbage collection fee billed as sewage on my monthly bill?

The SCFPUD began collecting fees for garbage and recycling so residents would not have to pay a separate bill to the garbage contractor or to the Homeowners Association. An additional benefit of paying this fee through SCFPUD is that it is not taxed.

Q. Why do we have back door pickup service?

Even though the SCFPUD collects the fees for the garbage contract, it is actually the Spring Creek Forest Home Owners Association (SCFHOA) which defines what measure of service is provided to the residents for garbage collection. The SCFPUD simply executes the contract and collects the fees. Many years ago, the SCFHOA decided to have back door pickup to alleviate the eye soar of garbage cans along the street curb. While this service does add to the cost of the contract, few residents have ever complained.

Q. Should I call the SCFPUD for issues with my garbage collection?

No. The current garbage and recycling contractor is Waste Management Services and their Customer Service department can be reached at 713-686-6666. They are available Monday – Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm and Saturday’s 8:00am to Noon.  You can find alternate ways of communicating with Waste Management at their website, wm.com.

Update: Starting October 1, 2018, all SCFPUD residents will be getting their trash and recycling services from Residential Recycling & Refuse of Texas.   You can learn more about them and their services and who to contact for service at this link.

Q. Does our garbage contract include recycling?

Yes. The contract includes an incredible recycling program. Even if you do not have a supplied recycling bin, simply place your items to be recycled in any bin within 6′ of your curb on Tuesday morning by 7am. Your items will be recycled that day.

Q. Are there other recycling centers for things like electronics and oils?

Yes. Harris County maintains a number of recycling centers for all manner of material including electronics, hazardous waste, and other items. You can obtain a list of these centers at this link.

Miscellaneous

Q. Does the SCFPUD operate the SCF club house?

No. The Spring Creek Home Owners Association operates the clubhouse. Additional information can be found at the Spring Creek Forest website.

Q. Are residents of Spring Creek Forest the only residents of the SCFPUD?

Not any more. For more than 30 years, the SCFPUD served only the residents of Spring Creek Forest. However, the district now includes Lafone Estates, Spring Creek Court, and Cypress Trace.

Q: Why are monthly meetings held downtown at the attorney’s office?

While the meetings are not required to be at the attorney’s office, State law does require that certain persons attend these Board meetings. While the water district attorney is not a requirement, the SCFPUD has traditionally had the attorney present to help answer questions and provide sound guidance. Additionally, the Board members believe that there is an additional layer of accountability when an attorney is present to help navigate the many facets of water regulation.

Q. Who attends the monthly meetings?

3 out of 5 elected SCFPUD Board members are required to have a quorum for a meeting to be held. Refer to our Meetings page for additional information on how to attend and participate in our monthly meetings. All residents of the district are welcome!

Q. Does the SCFPUD set and collect taxes?

Yes. Aside from your monthly bill, taxes are collected once per year to help pay off bonds which were issued to create and sustain the SCFPUD since 1971.  The tax rate in 1989 was $0.78 per $100 worth of home valuation.  The tax rate in 2007 is $0.49. In that same period of time, the valuation of property within the district went from $66,457,220 to $136,366,574. Spring Creek Forest is a wonderful place to be if your are interested in having property which grows in value.

Q. When are elections held?

SCFPUD Board elections are held in May of even numbered years. The table below shows which members are up for reelection.

Janet E. Frakes 2020
Tom Buffington 2020
R. W. (Rick) Kehlenbach 2018
Wayne Cherry 2018
Kennon Evett 2018

 

Q. What does annexation mean? Is the SCFPUD trying to annex property?

Currently, the SCFPUD is not seeking any new annexation of property into the water district. Bond funds are needed to develop new property in the district and there is no bond authority from the voters to pursue additional annexation, or develop existing property within the district. Annexation is not necessarily a bad thing. There are undeveloped parcels of property along Louetta which are not at present in any utility district. When the owner of that property wants to develop it, the owner will need both water and sewer service, depending on what he wants to develop on the property, such as a neighborhood, business park, etc.

The owner approaches a utility district to seek annexation, if the property has not already been annexed into a utility district. Once a parcel of property is annexed and the owner seeks utility service, the OWNER is responsible for putting in all of the needed water and sewer lines at his or her expense.

Once the property has been substantially developed, a point where the taxes received would offset the owners infrastructure investment, the utility district reimburses the owner for his expenses. This is done because the property, before development, had a small appraisal value within the district; however, after development, the value of the property has substantial value and taxes are collected and paid to the utility district. Because the utility district now collects taxes in perpetuity, most utility districts pay back the developer for the expenses associated with putting in the utilities.

Q. Do SCFPUD Board members get paid?

Yes. As an elected official, each Board member receives a stipend of $150 per month, if the Board member attends the monthly meeting.

Q. What is the monthly billing cycle, does it conform to a schedule?

Yes. The schedule below is the normal schedule for the monthly billing cycle.

Due Date 5th day of month
Red (late) Notices 11th day of month
Input meter readings 12th day of month
Bills sent to residents 15th day of month
Temporary Disconnect Day 19th day of month
Place Courtesy notices 21st day of month
Actual Cut Off Day 27th day of month