News
2017 Tax Rate Lowered
The Board of Directors of Harris County MUD 208 voted to lower the MUD Property Tax Rate to $0.41 per $100 valuation. The total tax rate consists of $0.09 per $100 valuation to pay the District’s debt service and $0.32 per $100 valuation to fund maintenance and operation expenditures for the next year. Please keep in mind these rates are for Harris County MUD 208 only. Other entities, including the county, school district, hospital district, etc., set their own rates.

The Board of Directors also authorized Bob Leared Interests, our tax assessor-collector, to mail duplicate tax statements in January 2018. These statements will be mailed to homeowners whose original tax statement was requested by and mailed to a mortgage company and remains unpaid at the time of the January mailing. If you receive a duplicate tax statement, this is your reminder to contact your mortgage company to ensure their timely payment of your MUD taxes by January 31, 2018.

You can look up, pay, and print receipts for your Harris County MUD 208 property taxes online at www.bli-tax.com or through the Bob Leared Interests link on our website, www.harriscountymud208.com. There is an additional processing fee when making online payments. In addition to paying through the website, you can pay your Harris County MUD 208 taxes by phone, by calling OPAY Customer Service at (800) 487-4567 between the hours of 7:00 am and 7:00 pm CST. There is an additional processing fee when making payments by phone.

If you have not received your 2017 Harris County MUD 208 tax statement by the end of November, and you are unable to locate your account online at www.bli-tax.com, please contact our tax assessor-collector at 713-932-9011 to discuss your tax account.

WINTERIZE NOW
It is that time of the year again to considering turning off your sprinkler system. St Augustine grass is normally dormant in the winter, requiring very little watering. Texas weather can change quickly, especially in the winter. When a bitter cold front rolls in, spring like conditions can give way to freezing temperatures within hours. By turning off your system now, besides saving water, your irrigation system can be winterized (see discussion below) ahead of any freezing weather.

When water freezes, it expands. If ice forms in your home's water pipes, it can shatter pipe seals or the pipes themselves, sending water pouring throughout your house. Most residents in the area have copper or PVC pipes, which are susceptible to freezing and breaking in subfreezing temperatures if not adequately insulated.

You can avoid thousands of dollars of damage to your walls, ceilings, carpets, and furniture by making a little investment in time to prepare before the first cold spell hits.

BEFORE THE FREEZE
  • Use faucet covers, or wrap rags, paper, trash bags, or plastic foam around faucets and outdoor pipes from the ground to the faucets. Insulated foam wrap and covers are available from any home supply or hardware store.
  • Cover any vents around your homes foundation.
  • Bring water hoses indoors. PRIOR TO HARD FREEZE.
  • Open the cabinets under the sinks on your kitchen and bathroom to allow heated indoor air to circulate around water pipes.
  • Protect outdoor electrical pumps. If you have a swimming pool, either drain the circulation system or keep the pump motor running. (Run the pump motor only in a short freeze. Running the motor for long periods could damage it.)
If you leave town, or are gone during the night, consider turning off your water at the master shut-off valve while faucets are running to drain your pipes. Simply turn it off like you would any faucet. (Make sure the faucets are turned off before you turn the shut-off valve back on.) If you drain your pipes, shut off the hot water heater and protect the hot water from freezing.

IF YOUR PIPES FREEZE
  • Turn off your water at the master shut-off valve. If you are unable to turn water off at the master shut-off valve contact the District’s operator, H2O Consulting 281-861-6215 to turn the water off at the meter.
  • Call a plumber for help as needed.
  • Don’t use lamps or electrical appliances to thaw frozen pipes. Leaking water from thawing pipes could cause a short and you could be electrocuted.
  • If you try to thaw your pipes, apply heat slowly, and move it toward the coldest spot on the pipe. Never concentrate heat in one spot – cracking ice can shatter a pipe. Never use an open flame of any sort.
IF YOU HAVE A LOSS DUE TO THE FREEZE
  • Contact your insurance agent or company promptly. Follow as soon as possible with a written claim to protect your rights under Texas’ prompt-payment law. Review your coverage.
  • Check to see if your policy requires you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Keep all receipts and damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or video of the damage before making repairs.
  • Don’t make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before an adjuster inspects the damage.
  • Be advised that most homeowner policies do not cover loss caused by freezing pipes while your house is unoccupied unless you have made a reasonable attempt to:
    • Maintain heat in the building
    • Shut off water supply
    • Drain plumbing, heating, & air conditioning systems of water
WINTERIZE YOUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM

During the winter months, it is important to winterize the parts of the system that are above ground and susceptible to a hard freeze. This will include at a minimum, your backflow preventer and depending on the system, some valves and pipes. Your backflow preventer is a brass device that sticks up out of the ground about a foot or two. Proper insulation of the backflow and its piping will protect against leaks while also protecting you as it was designed to do. If your system has a drain valve, you might also consider draining the system before any hard freeze is scheduled to come to Copperfield. Water standing in the pipes can freeze which could lead to unwanted leaks.

Landscape irrigation Audit May Save You Money
There are a few things everybody knows about this time of year; our kids are out of school, our teachers are taking a break, and not to mention it is HOT!!! This also means that our sprinklers are running; a LOT!

We all tend to think that if we want our grass to stay green, we need to water more in the summer. But what if I told you that in the month of June alone, the Copperfield area got an average of 4” of rain. Would you know how much to water then? You are not alone, because the truth is most people do not know the answer to that question. But that’s why we are here to help! Most homeowners believe that they need to water their yards every other day or even every 3rd day; but in reality, based on the average rain fall during the month of June there were only 5 days that your lawns needed water.

Every other day the grass was just fine being taken care of by Mother Nature. But we have all seen sprinklers going off in the rain, and water rushing down the drain. Most sprinklers run while we are sleeping, so as many as you see in the daylight, it is 10 times more at night. Some of us might say, “But why does it matter if we water in the rain?” or “I have my sprinklers under control.” While others even say, “It can’t be that big of a problem.” But looking at it on the global scale, Houston is in the middle of the Biggest Water Resource Project in the WORLD! #1 on Earth! That puts all of us right on the forefront of water usage issues.

Let’s look at this a little closer to home. In the month of June, our top water consumers used an average of 1,600 gallons of water at their homes on days when they ran their sprinklers. On days when no sprinklers ran, the usage dropped significantly; to 250 gallons of water. You can see why this time of year we focus so much on sprinklers! Some of the same consumers watered between 12 and 15 days in the month when all that we needed was 5! Yet some would ask, “But what would this even save us?” Well, each of the top water users could save about $60 each month on their water bill if they monitored their systems more efficiently during the summer months. Potentially be even more could be saved if the system has a leak that you don’t know about!

Did you know that as a community, we waste anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 each month in the summer on water that just goes down the drain because of over usage? “But what can we do to help this problem?” Harris County MUD 208 has a program in place to offer our residents a complimentary one on one Irrigation Consultation. We have 2 Irrigators licensed by the State of Texas, with years of experience and each of them also has a Bachelor of Science Degree in their respective fields. So, we are not just licensed professionals, we are scientist who use state approved methods to set your system up to run at its peak performance. We offer on-site training on how to use your controller so that when we leave you can feel more confident that you will be in control of when and how much you water. In total this year, our residents have saved over half a million gallons of water just by setting their sprinkler system to the recommended run times. And did I mention; It’s Free! If you would like, you can read our reviews on Next Door at www.nextdoor.com

You can reach us to schedule an irrigation system audit by emailing us at conservation@h2oconsulting.net or call us at the H2O Consulting office at (281) 861-6215 and request to speak with an Irrigation Consultant!

Sidewalks in MUD 208
You may have noticed that some sidewalks in our district have been painted yellow for safety to highlight possible trip hazards due to uneven sidewalk panels. Some of the more serious trip locations have been repaired by MUD 208. It should be noted that MUD 208 is not responsible for sidewalk repairs and maintenance but the MUD board of directors decided to undertake this project to improve and make our community a safer place to walk.

Flushable Wipes Can Clog Your Sewer Line
Just as disposable diapers are now considered a necessity for babies, disposable wipes (also known as "wet" wipes, baby wipes, or even adult wipes) have become a staple in every household. Besides being marketed to new parents, special use wipes are being marketed to women to help them feel "fresh" or to everyone in general "to feel confidently clean".

We're hooked on the convenience of these pre-moistened squares that are boldly labeled "flushable". But here's the problem. A lot of them end up down the toilet, and though they may be flushable, no matter what the package states, they are not truly safe for the sewer line. The cloth like products do not disintegrate the way toilet paper does. This is where it starts to cost local utilities AND YOU money.

Consumer Reports notes that companies currently advertise their wipes with terms like "safe for sewers and septic", or promise that the product will "break up like toilet paper". But this is simply not the case, "Flushable wipes are a consumer's dream come true but every plumber's nightmare," Did you know it only takes a few of those wipes to get hung up in your sewer line before you to have to call the roto rooter man and pay hundreds of dollars to have your pipes snaked.

The question comes down to how quickly a "flushable" product breaks down in water. In 2009, Consumer Reports tested many of the leading brands of toilet paper and "flushable" wipes and concluded that all of the wipes completely failed the disintegration test, while even the strongest, thickest toilet papers squeaked by with a low passing grade. Flushable? Yes. Dissolvable? Not really, at least not enough to prevent significant clogs in many sewage pipes. So, it's pretty simple, just keep inappropriate items out of the sewer system, which not only can save you hundreds of dollars, but as they move thru the main sewer lines it could save your utility district thousands of dollars

For the sake of your plumbing, either dispose of wipes in the trash can or stop using them to avoid a messy and potentially expensive disaster. Remember keep those wipes out of the pipes, don't believe the hype! Flush only the 3 P's Pee, Poo and Paper (Toilet).

Water: What You Pay For
Have you wondered what services your water bill covers. The Alliance for Water Efficiency video provides some answers.




Why Being On The Top Ten List Isn't Always Good
If you receive a letter from Harris County MUD 208 and you are told you are one of the top 10 residential water users, it is not a good thing. It means your household is using well above the "normal" average household usage of water in our area. Just remember the average household's “leaks” can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. There are several things you can do to make certain you do not receive this letter.

1. Check your sprinkler system to see if it needs to be repaired. Please physically check your sprinklers and make certain all heads are in working order and not watering the neighbor’s yard or the street.

2. Place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes with-out flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.

3. Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet flappers, and showerheads. In most cases, fixtures replacement parts don't require a major investment.

4. Don't leave water running while you brush your teeth or shave.

5. Don't use water to do what can be done with a broom. Cleaning the driveway and sidewalk with a broom rather than a hose does the same thing, and usually takes less time.

6. Keeping your yard green does not require that sprinkler to run for hours on end or daily for that matter. You just need 1" a week for a healthy lawn. Irrigate your lawn deeply and infrequently. Turn off the system if we have had 1" of rain that week

7. Wash only full loads of clothes.

8. Install rain barrels or harvest rainwater for outdoor irrigation.

9. Run your dishwasher with full loads only.

10. Take shorter showers.

Basically, you don't want to be on this list. Yes everyone for years has thought that water was always going to flow out of the faucet with just a simple twist of your hand. Luckily we are not living in California and yes we have had a wonderful, wet winter but we still need to always be mindful of our natural resources. We are just now experiencing a recovery from some of the worst droughts in Texas.

Remember the only thing that goes down the street drain is storm water!
Not the water from your home or your left over paint or even leaves and grass. This can cause a major back up when we do have those heavy rains. When this happens, that is pollution. This includes car oil, pesticides, fertilizers, animal droppings, trash, food wastes, automotive by-products and other toxic substances. Local ordinances prohibit anything other than uncontaminated rainwater from entering the storm drain system..

The street drain is different than the sanitary sewer system that collects household wastewater from toilets, showers and sinks. The wastewater is sent to a facility where it is first treated before discharging to a stream or bayou. In contrast, storm water is not usually treated and may carry contaminants directly into our waterways. Remember, our storm water enters the storm drains and flows untreated into our channels, bayous and rivers before it goes to Galveston Bay. Even though yard trimmings and soil are natural debris, when put in the storm drain they flow to our bayous, rivers and Galveston Bay where they can ruin the natural balance of the ocean and harm the fish. Look around your curbs, if you notice that they are full of leaves, mud and debris use that shovel and clean them out. This can only help when we have those heavy rains that can back up and flood the street. Also, please make certain you or your landscape crews do not blow debris into the storm sewer inlets but rather they pick it up to dispose of properly. This happens a lot and it really needs to stop!

If you see someone dumping into a storm drain, call Harris County Pollution Control Services Department at 713-920-2831. They monitor violations and the penalty is based on how flagrant the offense. The violation and fines can run anywhere from $25-$25,000 per day for a civil offense and jail time if it's criminal. Be a responsible neighbor, and clean that gutter in front of your street! Be proactive!

Water Usage Calculator
Harris County MUD 208 partners with Home Water Works strengthening its Water Conservation Strategy
December 15
Board Meeting
January 19
Board Meeting
February 16
Board Meeting