Austin Water Utility External Stakeholders Meeting: A Must-Attend For Engineers

The AWU External Stakeholder Meeting to be held this Thursday starting at 1:30 pm is going to be big – at 2:00 pm AWU staff intends to discuss the impact of the recent TCEQ interpretation of “separation distance” on its water/wastewater double service Detail 520-AW-01, which, as they were told by TCEQ, is not in compliance with TAC Title 30, Chapter 290. What’s the backstory?  Apparently, about six months ago the verbiage in Chapter 290, which had historically been applied to public water facilities other than service lines, was re-interpreted by TCEQ to include them.  From TAC Title 30, Chapter 290, Rule 290.44 Subsection (e) (1):

“When new potable water distribution lines are constructed, they shall be installed no closer than nine feet in all directions to wastewater collection facilities. All separation distances shall be measured from the outside surface of each of the respective pieces.”

What’s going to happen? For the time being, we design using the requirements of Chapter 290 assuming they apply to service lines in the public right-of-way or easement.  If the separation distance can’t be met, then refer to Subsection (e) (4) and design accordingly.  For single family development, this may mean putting water on one lot line and wastewater on the other, especially for small lot sizes, but be sure to plan ahead for where the dry utilities go with both lot lines taken by wets.  Time will tell if TCEQ reverses its interpretation.  In the meantime, 9’ out-to-out it is.


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