While critical investments are needed to ensure safe, reliable service and meet industry standards, staff continues identifying efficiencies and ways to avoid, minimize or defer costs wherever possible across all three services. Examples from the previous fiscal year include:
Refinancing Bonds: The District has refinanced bonds (in FY18) which will result in an estimated total savings of $8.7 million between 2018 and 2029.
SWIFT Program Funding: The Texas Water Development Board recently committed an additional $300 million for a total of $1.477 billion in low-interest financing through the State Water Implementation Fund of Texas (SWIFT) for the Bois d’Arc Lake project. Use of SWIFT funding is anticipated to save the District and its ratepayers more than $230 million in interest costs.
North McKinney Parallel Interceptor Phase II: This project was canceled from the Capital Improvement Program with estimated cost savings of $25M in FY2018 through 2020 by modifying short term operations of existing lift stations and force mains, and refining long term strategies to transfer flow from the Upper East Fork Interceptor System to the planned Sister Grove Regional Water Resource Recovery Facility.
Large Diameter Valve Exercising Program: NTMWD successfully implemented a pilot program for routine exercising of large diameter water transmission system valves in the transmission system. Proactively maintaining isolation valves in the transmission system prolongs valve life and avoids emergency expenditures for valve failures that can cost up to $200,000 or more for a single valve. Additionally, the program ensures valves will operate properly resulting in minimizing service disruptions to members and customers. The first phase of the program was implemented without adding additional operations crews and equipment.
Wastewater Pipeline Cleaning: Wastewater pipeline cleaning is critical to ensure installed capacity aligns with operational capacity. Typical approach is to clean all pipes as part of a systematic pipeline cleaning and inspection program. Our wastewater operations staff is using an innovative technology to inspect our pipelines using multiple sensors to detect condition and where cleaning is needed. We then clean only where needed. This reduced linear footage of pipes cleaning in FY18 from 66,842 ft to 4,719 ft, with a corresponding estimated savings of $1,242,460.
Morrow Renewable High BTU Gas Plant: The new renewable energy gas plant went online in December 2017. NTMWD receives a royalty on the gas produced and a share of the revenue generated which goes towards reducing landfill operation costs.
Amendment of Lavon Lake Water Right “Overdraft”: NTMWD was successful getting approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for an amendment to the Lavon Lake water right. Under certain conditions when Lavon Lake has flood water available and transporting water from external sources is prohibited, the excess flood water in Lavon may be used and accounted against some other external water rights. The amendment lowers the burden for being able to account against those external water rights, thereby increasing NTMWD’s access to water rights while avoiding the cost of physically pumping water from external sources to gain access to those rights.
Watershed Management: NTMWD has actively sought federal and state grant funding to support watershed and source water protection activities. Through a partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife, NTMWD secured $369,671 in grant funding for the Lavon Lake watershed that supported development of the Lavon Lake Watershed Protection Plan (WPP), which was accepted by EPA in December 2017. In addition, a grant application submitted by NTMWD to the TCEQ Nonpoint Source Grant Program has been selected for funding consideration in the amount of $284,429, which is intended to support implementation of the Lavon Lake WPP in FY19.
Oncor Commercial Load Management (CLM) Program: The Mesquite Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant and the McKinney Lift Station is enrolled in the Oncor CLM Program which compensates NTMWD for curtailing demand when Oncor needs to quickly reduce its overall demand on the power grid. The program is anticipated to compensate NTMWD $70,000-$75,000 this year for its participation.
It’s #MoreThanWater, it’s #Infrastructure.