Proposed Trail Project Informational Meeting
Water has been Restored
WATER HAS BEEN RESTORED!! The water main has been repaired and Inframark will now begin the hydrant flushing process throughout the districts to remove any excess air in the lines.
Freezing Weather Notification
Winter weather and freezing temperatures are expected this week across Texas. The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread freezing temperatures on Friday and Saturday mornings. Residents should closely monitor media and the National Weather Service for updates to the forecast. We wanted to assure you that the teams at Inframark are monitoring and working diligently in preparation for a freezing weather event to safeguard your facilities. It is also important that you take action as well in protecting the “Four P’s”: People, pets, pipes and plants.
- Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
- If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
- Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
- Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
- Keep adequate food and water available.
- Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.
- Wrap exposed faucets and pipes – including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.
- Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
- For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.
Additionally, if you have an irrigation system, turn off the water to the system at your backflow preventer and then drain the system so your irrigation pipes and sprinkler heads are not damaged.
The following sites can also be used as a source of information and to keep you updated:
Where you can learn more:
- Forecasts: National Weather Service Houston-Galveston
- Winter Weather Safety: National Weather Service
- Local Road Conditions: Houston TranStar
- State Road Conditions: DriveTexas.org
- Space Heater Safety: National Fire Protection Association
Stay safe and stay warm.
HCMUD 396 Thanks James Brown
After more than 22 years as a director on Harris County MUD 354 and Harris County MUD 396, James Brown has resigned his director’s position. On Monday, October 17, 2022, as his final action as a Board member of MUD 396, James presented a check to Nick Leluika of the Swenke PTO to help fund an Inclusive Playground at Swenke. James was a strong proponent of the project. The 396 Board then thanked James for his service and Kathleen Ellison, District attorney, presented him with a plaque.
Water Conservation 2022
We know living in Texas, water conservation can be inherently more difficult during the summer months and that’s why the EPA and the Texas Water Development Board has published water savings tips that will not only show you how to help conserve water, but also help you conserve cost.
The EPA has recommended the following:
- Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where a lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants and grasses with low water demand (such as creeping fescue). Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water. Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in Texas and often provide good wildlife habitat. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.
- When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage and fend off disease.
- Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn’t sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they don’t water walkways and buildings. When you water, put down no more than 1 inch (set out an empty cans to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch) each week. This watering pattern will encourage more healthy, deep grass roots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought and foot traffic. If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water, and has rain shut-off capability.
- Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.
- Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.
- Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).
- When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let mother nature wash your car when it rains).
- Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.
The EPA has recommended the following:
For Every Room in the House With Plumbing
- Repair leaky faucets, indoors and out.
- Consider replacing old equipment (like toilets, dishwahers and laundry machines).
In the Kitchen
- When cooking, peel and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under running water.
- Fill your sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- When buying a dishwasher, select one with a “light-wash” option.
- Only use the garbage disposal when necessary (composting is a great alternative).
- Install faucet aerators.
In the Bathroom
- Take short showers instead of baths.
- Turn off the water to brush teeth, shave and soap up in the shower. Fill the sink to shave.
- Repair leaky toilets. Add 12 drops of food coloring into the tank, and if color appears in the bowl one hour later, your toilet is leaking.
- Install a toilet dam, faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads.
- Run full loads of laundry.
- When purchasing a new washing machine, buy a water saving model that can be adjusted to the load size.
For more information, click below
The Texas Water Development Board offers water saving ideas and cost savings tips!
Trash/Recycling Service Change
Trash/recycling service is changing. Leave your Waste Management recycling cart out after the pickup on June 24 for retrieval by Waste Management. A new Best Trash cart will follow.
This service is being provided by the Fairfield MUDs: Harris County Municipal Utility District Nos. 322, 354, 396 and 397. For updates sign up for email/text blasts.
Fairfield Trash/Recycling Service Changing
Waste Management, the current residential trash and recycling provider in Fairfield, has moved its staging location and has given notice to the Fairfield MUDs that at the end of its contract it will no longer be able to service Fairfield. After requesting proposals and interviewing three companies, the Fairfield MUDs have selected Best Trash, a local company which has been in business 13 years, as the new provider. Here is what you need to know:
When will trash be picked up?
Best Trash will pick up trash in the carts they provide at the curb twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. The Best Trash carts will be 65 gallons, not 95 gallons. Additional refuse may be placed in other containers (between 30- 50 gallons) or bags (not weighing over 40 pounds) and placed next to the Best Trash provided trash cart. Best Trash will not be using automated trucks, allowing for more flexibility in what it will pick up.
When will recycling be picked up?
Fairfield will be split into two areas for recycling. Best Trash will pick up recycling in the carts they provide at the curb once a week.
- East of Mason—pick up is on Tuesday;
- West of Mason—pick up is on Friday.
What about yard/bulk pickup?
Best Trash will pick up yard and bulk waste twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Trees, shrubs, brush trimmings and fencing must be no larger than 4 inches in diameter, no more than 4 feet long, tied in bundles not exceeding 40 pounds. The tied bundles is required to allow quick pickup and size limitations are required to avoid damaging the equipment in the compacting process. Items such as appliances, furniture, mattresses, carpet (up to 1 room of carpet, cut less than 4 feet wide, tied in bundles not exceeding 40 pounds), will be picked up on both garbage collection days.
When will the change-over occur?
Waste Management’s last recycling day will be Friday, June 24, 2022. Waste Management’s last waste collection day will be Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Best Trash will commence service on Tuesday, July 1, 2022.
How will I get my Best Trash carts and what do I do with my Waste Management carts?
Best Trash plans to begin delivering its recycling carts to residents on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, and its waste carts on Friday, June 24, 2022. Please do not start using the new carts until July 1, 2022.
Waste Management’s contractor will begin removing the Waste Management recycling carts from residences immediately after service on Friday, June 24, 2022 and they will work over the weekend to collect the recycling carts. MAKE SURE YOUR CART IS EMPTY AND LEAVE IT AT THE CURBSIDE LOCATION FOR PICKUP. If you do not leave the Recycling Cart curbside or you put anything in the Recycling Cart, it will not be removed and there will not be a second trip.
Waste Management’s contractor will begin removing the Waste Management waste carts from residences immediately after service on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. MAKE SURE YOUR CART IS EMPTY AND LEAVE IT AT THE CURBSIDE LOCATION FOR PICKUP. If you do not leave the Waste Cart curbside or you put anything in the Cart, it will not be removed and there will not be a second trip.
Will my cost increase?
Residents pay for their trash and recycling services as part of the base fee on their water bill. The base fee will not increase due to the change in trash providers.
Where can I get more information?
Operation and Use of Fairfield Regional Detention Facility
One of the most important functions of the Fairfield Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs), consisting of Harris County MUD Nos. 322, 354, 358, 396, and 397, is to provide drainage and detention facilities for the Fairfield community. One of the central drainage and detention features of the Fairfield community is the approximately 400-acre regional detention facility site located south of State Highway 290, and west of Fry Road, just north of Cypress Creek, as generally shown on the above map. The Fairfield MUDs and the Harris County Flood Control District (Flood Control) operate and maintain the property for drainage and detention purposes for the benefit of the Fairfield community. The facilities on the property currently include a regional detention basin, control structure, and approximately 30-acre levee. The property is maintained solely as a drainage and detention facility, and neither the MUDs nor Flood Control has constructed any park or recreational facilities on the property. In addition, the property is not and has never been open for public access.
Over the years, the Fairfield MUDs received reports of isolated incidents of individuals accessing the property for recreational purposes. Starting more than a decade ago, the Fairfield MUDs installed certain fencing, locked gates, and no trespassing signs at known or suspected access points to try to deter trespassing incidents, particularly in light of potential safety risks to residents posed by the levee and associated facilities, and the risk of damage to critical MUD and Flood Control drainage and detention infrastructure. Nevertheless, in early 2020, as more individuals began to spend additional time at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the land surrounding the property continued to develop, the Fairfield MUDs began to receive a significantly greater number of reports of trespassing incidents on the property.
In response to these reports, the Fairfield MUDs installed security cameras and worked with the Harris County Constable’s Office, Precinct 4 and the MUDs’ maintenance contractor to enhance security measures and enforcement to prevent unauthorized access to the property and to deter future trespassing incidents. During the course of these efforts, the MUDs discovered that individuals had damaged the property by constructing unauthorized trails, bike ramps, and other facilities on the property. The Fairfield MUDs also experienced theft of security cameras and no trespassing signs on multiple occasions. Repairing the damage and replacing the stolen property cost the Fairfield MUDs thousands of dollars. However, the enforcement efforts have been successful in reducing the number of trespassing incidents.
In late fall 2020, the Fairfield MUDs were approached by a local biking group, which requested that the MUDs consider opening the property for recreational use. The group acknowledged constructing unauthorized trails and bike ramps and accessing the property without permission. They stated they had asked their members to cease unauthorized access to the property, and they requested to partner with the Fairfield MUDs and Flood Control to open the property for recreational use. The Fairfield MUDs also received correspondence from individuals, many of whom were non-Fairfield residents, requesting that the property be opened for public recreational use.
MUDs in Harris County, like the Fairfield MUDs, currently are authorized to construct and maintain parks and recreational facilities. However, MUDs were not granted those powers until the 2000s, well after the Fairfield MUDs were created and began operating. As a result, the agreement between the Fairfield MUDs for the construction and operation of regional facilities like the property provides that the property will be operated and maintained for its intended drainage and detention facility purposes. The agreement does not provide a funding mechanism for the Fairfield MUDs to construct and maintain parks or recreational facilities on the property. This means the Fairfield MUDs each would have to contribute additional funds if any parks or recreational facilities were going to be developed and operated on the property.
The Fairfield MUDs each carefully considered the request to open the property for recreational use. Ultimately, due to significant concerns regarding potential damage to critical drainage and flood control infrastructure, safety, potential liability, and cost, the Fairfield MUDs determined to continue operating the property solely for drainage and detention purposes and to deny the request to open the property for recreational use. Although the Fairfield MUDs understand that parks and recreational facilities can be a beneficial part of any community, the MUDs do not want to take any action that could potentially negatively impact the drainage and detention functionality of the property or increase flood risk. Additionally, due to federal, state, and local regulatory requirements for parks and recreational facilities operated by local governments like MUDs, and the large acreage and rugged terrain of the property, the Fairfield MUDs expect that developing safe, accessible parks or recreational facilities on the property while still protecting the critical flood control infrastructure could be cost prohibitive.
The Fairfield MUDs will continue enforcement efforts to prevent and deter unauthorized access and damage to the property. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in protecting this important flood control feature for our community.
Regional Water Fee To Increase
On April 1, 2021, the North Harris County Regional Water Authority will increase the fee it charges on groundwater pumped within its boundaries from $4.25 per 1,000 gallons to $4.60 per 1,000 gallons.
This increase will affect all water customers in Fairfield. The North Harris County Regional Water Authority fee is a separate line item on customer bills which the Fairfield MUDs collect and pass through to the North Harris County Regional Water Authority. The Fairfield MUDs have no control over this fee and do not charge any sort of mark up on it.
WHAT IS THE REGIONAL WATER AUTHORITY?
The North Harris County Regional Water Authority is a political subdivision of the State covering northwest Harris County outside of the City of Houston. Its purpose is to provide surface water to the area within its boundaries in order to reduce the pumping of groundwater from the local aquifer. Because of the increase in population in northwest Harris County, too much groundwater is being taken from the ground, causing the ground to sink.
The North Harris County Regional Water Authority is under a mandate to reduce the groundwater usage in its boundaries from 70% to 40% by 2025. To comply with this mandate, the North Harris County Regional Water Authority is participating in several very expensive projects to provide surface water to local MUDs, cities, and private utilities. It is paying its share of the Luce Bayou project which transfers water from the Trinity River to Lake Houston, the expansion of the Lake Houston water purification plant, and the transmission lines and pumping stations to bring the water from Lake Houston to the area within its boundaries.
To pay for these costs, the Authority’s fee has increased annually and is expected to continue to do so. If it isn’t already, it will soon be the biggest part of the water bill.
WHAT CAN RESIDENTS DO?
Residents can find out more about North Harris County Regional Water Authority at www.nhcrwa.org. The Board of Directors of the Authority holds monthly meetings, which are open to the public. Members of the Board of Directors are elected by district. Fairfield is in District 1.
Residents can learn more about water conservation. The less water the resident uses, the lower the bill. to learn more about water conservation, visit a website about ways to conserve water usage in your home. There are many on the internet these days, such as www.savewatertexas.com, that contain a lot of educational items for a homeowner.
No Change to Base Customer Rate
The Board of Directors of Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 396 (the “District”) has decided to retain the current base customer rate of $43.32 per month for water, sewer, trash, recycling, and supplemental security services, despite an increase in the trash and recycling rate from Waste Management effective September 1, 2020. The District plans to use funds on hand to pay for the increase.
Swenke Elementary School Garden Project
Harris County MUDs 396 and 397 contributed to the Swenke Elementary School Garden project. The Districts helped in:
- Rotting wood replaced with stone to make it safer and last longer
- Irrigation replacement & upgrades to help the plants thrive and conserve water
- Removal of dead plants and weeds bordering the garden
- Reduce drainage issues
Up next: Playground shades! Stay tuned.
Good Afternoon Harris County MUDs 354, 396, 397, and 322
During this challenging time, our top priority remains the health and safety of our employees and communities we serve. Given the pace and magnitude of the changes we are experiencing as a business and as a society, we understand it is important for Waste Management (WM) to keep you informed of the status of the essential services we provide. Included below is our operational update for today, as changes occur WM will keep you informed.
WM’s Operational Update:
Waste Management Encourages Continued Recycling
Recyclable Materials Needed for Manufacturing Supply
Chain to Produce Packaging for Grocery and
Facial tissues, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes have been flying off store shelves, while families are spending more hours at home to stay healthy and safe during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Waste Management (WM) is calling on everyone to Recycle Right during this time when recyclables are needed more than ever. Recycling is vitally important to our environment, and it has come to play a critical role in certain manufacturing supply chains. Without recyclable materials collected from homes and businesses, our customers, who produce products such as tissue, toweling and packaging boxes for grocery and medical supplies, would not have the raw materials that they need to manufacture these important items.Recycling is an essential service for manufacturing companies delivering these key products.
Most recyclers don’t think about the importance of placing their clean recyclable materials in their bins, but now it is more important than ever, as recyclable products are playing a critical role for manufacturing businesses. Across Texas, people are generating more household garbage and recyclable materials than usual, and manufacturers are in need of more clean recyclable materials to meet their demands for making basic goods and emergency supplies. We can all do our part by recycling right during these challenging times.
To learn more information about Waste Management Recycle Right tips, please visit https://wm.com/us/en/inside-wm/recycle-right
RECYCLE ONLY CLEAN, DRY AND LOOSE:
- Cardboard (without inside packing materials)
- Paper products including newspapers, junk mail, office/school paper
- Paperboard, such as cereal and cracker boxes
- Plastic bottles and jugs
- Steel, tin and aluminum cans
- Plastic, latex and cloth disposable gloves, disposable masks
- Liquid soap and hand sanitizer bottles that contain residue
- Disinfectant wipes
- Facial tissues, napkins and paper towels
- Disposable plates, cups and cutlery
- Takeout containers
- Leftover food and liquids
- Plastic bags and plastic film wrap
- Hoses, cords, polystyrene foam and other packaging
In addition, several leading industry organizations have weighed in calling for increased recycling to meet the needed demand during this time, including:
Water Transmission and COVID-19
See the document below and visit the CDC and EPA websites for more information pertaining to your drinking water and COVID-19.
Water Transmission and COVID-19
NHCRWA Fee Increase
The North Harris County Regional Water Authority (NHCRWA) fees are going up effective April 1, 2020. This fee is charged to all water well owners in their jurisdiction. This fee is passed on to the final consumer via a line item on the water bill. Currently the fee is $3.85 per 1000 gallons of water used. The new cost will be $4.25 per 1000 gallons. This will increase your bill significantly, depending on how much water you use. The MUD’s charges for the water will not increase, only the NHCRWA fee.
If you have any questions regarding this, please contact the Board of Directors. Remember that the Directors are residents of the District also, and have to pay the same fees.
Your water bill will increase with the April billing cycle.