The Northeast Texas Municipal Water District was formed in 1953 to be the local sponsor of Lake O’ the Pines.The initial view of the District’s mission was to develop and deliver an adequate water supply to cities and industries in Northeast Texas.Lake O’ the Pines is the primary location of the District’s water.Lake O’ the Pines was created with federal participation.Wright Patman and Lyndon B. Johnson were instrumental in arranging the federal participation.Lake O’ the Pines was primarily constructed as a way to reduce the flooding damage to the city of Jefferson but the District was able to secure a vast supply of water as a result of its participation in Lake O’ the Pines.In 1957, the District obtained the right to divert and consume 203,800 acre feet annually.The District had no financial resources and was dependent upon contributions from a local property tax from member cities and sales of raw water.The member cities that provided a property tax and the percentage that each contributed are as follows: Avinger – 3.3%, Daingerfield – 22.5%, Hughes Springs – 12.3%, Jefferson – 20.8%, Lone Star – 10.3%, Ore City – 5.9%, and Pittsburg – 24.9%.During the beginning phase, Marvin Watson served as the Executive Director.Mr. Watson served from October of 1954 to January of 1965.Later, Mr. Watson went on to serve as US Postmaster General.During this early phase, the first contract to supply water to a power plant was signed in 1960.Property taxes commenced in 1958 with an assessment of $1.65 per $100 of valuation.Property taxes continued to be assessed through the fiscal year of 1976/1977.The amount of $3,068,373.57 was provided to the District from property taxes.
During the development phase, Homer N. Tanner, Jr. was hired as the Executive Director of the District.Mr. Tanner served the District with distinction for over 22 years.Mr. Tanner served from July of 1965 to December of 1987.The District entered into raw water contracts with power companies in 1970, 1973 and 1977.The District was able to discontinue assessing taxes by 1977 due to the growth of raw water sales.The District constructed its first water treatment plant and placed it into operation in 1984.In 1986, an Executive Office for the District was built south of Hughes Springs and remains in operation today.As an honor to him and as a mark of respect and gratitude for the service that he provided, the first water treatment plant of the District was named the Homer N. Tanner, Jr. Regional Water Treatment Plant on September 27, 1986 by the District’s Board of Directors.Also at that time, the Board named the intake structure that removes the water from Lake O’ the Pines and pumps it to the treatment plant as the B.B. Waldrop Intake Structure as a mark of respect and gratitude for B.B. Waldrop.The city of Avinger was represented for more than 24 years by B.B. Waldrop, who also provided leadership to the Board in all areas including the presidency.At the commencement of operations of the Homer N. Tanner, Jr. Regional Water Treatment Plant and the B.B. Waldrop Intake Structure, treated water was furnished to the communities of Daingerfield, Hughes Springs, Lone Star, and Mims.
The District has continued to serve the needs of the area.In 1995, a contract was signed with Longview to provide it with a long term water supply from Lake O’ the Pines.Walt Sears was hired as the Executive Director in February of 1998 and is currently employed as the Executive Director.Later in 1998, the District acquired the water treatment plant that provides treated water to the city of Pittsburg.This is the District’s second water treatment plant.The source of the water for that plant is Lake Bob Sandlin and the treatment capacity is presently 1.2 million gallons per day.The District holds approximately 12,000 acre feet of water rights in Lake Bob Sandlin.In 1999, Lone Star Steel began buying treated water from the District.In 2000, the cities of Jefferson and Avinger began receiving treated water from the District.In 2000, the city of Linden signed a long-term contract to assure that it had access to water in Lake O’ the Pines if it needed it.In 2004, Harleton W.S.C. signed a contract for treated water and receives treated water from the Homer N. Tanner, Jr. Regional Water Treatment Plant.The city of Marshall has also begun a long-term contractual relationship with the District for a supply of raw water.All of the revenue from the Marshall contract is provided to the member cities in proportion to the tax contributions that the member cities made in the early phase.The District has also assisted the member cities by providing funding to lower the water rate paid by the member cities.The member city rate has been subsidized by the District by more than 48% since 1999.The subsidy rate was 57.66% for 2008.For the 8 year period starting in October of 2000, the amount of funding that the District provided to the member cities to lower the member city rate is $3,197,557.For reference, the total amount contributed to the District in property taxes from the member cities was $3,068,373. The guaranteed amount to the member cities from the payments from Marshall over the term of that water supply contract is $8.7 million.
The Northeast Texas Municipal Water District hosted a gathering on March 31, 2009 to formally dedicate expanded facilities constructed at the Homer N. Tanner, Jr. Regional Water Treatment Plant.Homer N. Tanner, Jr., the plant’s namesake, was there and participated in the latest dedication.Representatives from the communities served by the District also participated in the dedication ceremonies.The plant is located near the intersection of Texas Highway 155 and 729.
The facilities now provide a daily water treatment capability of 8 million gallons per day.The previous capacity was 3.5 million gallons per day.The source of supply of this water treatment plant is Lake O’ the Pines.
The communities presently connected to these facilities include Avinger, Daingerfield, Diana, Harleton, Hughes Springs, Jefferson, Lone Star, Mims, Ore City, and Tryon Road.Originally, the regional water treatment plant served four communities.With this expansion, 10 communities now have facilities in place to have access to treated water in a sufficient supply.This expansion more than doubles the size of the plant’s capacity.It is anticipated that this supply will be adequate for at least the next fifty years based on the predictions of population growth and water demand contained in the latest approved regional and state Water Plan.
The facilities constructed with this expansion include increased capacity, additional storage, and approximately 150,000 feet of transmission lines.The cost of these improvements is approximately $29 million and was completed for slightly less than the budgeted amount estimated.The main contractors for these improvements were Eagle Contracting, L.P., and S & J Construction Co.The engineers for the contract were KSA Engineers.
The District continues to be governed by a Board of Directors selected by the City Councils of the Member Cities.William Brown of Jefferson, Jack Salmon of Avinger, Pat Smith of Pittsburg, Stan Wyatt of Daingerfield, Joe Weir of Ore City, Sandy Duke of Lone Star and Robyn Shelton of Hughes Springs are Board members of the District.The Board of Directors has positioned the District to move successfully forward.
The District views the water resources in our basin as very valuable and worthy of protection and prudent use.The District anticipates that no property taxes will be needed for it to continue its mission in this next phase.The revenue sources for the District will continue to be revenue from water sales and from grants from federal, state, and other sources.
The District is planning to continue to protect the water quality of the CypressBasin.The District has begun water quality protection programs in the last 20 years.The Clean Rivers Program began in 1998, the Total Maximum Daily Load Study for Lake O’ the Pines for reducing phosphorus in 1999, the Onsite Septic Facilities Program in 2003, the Caddo Lake Watershed Protection Plan in 2006, Phase II of the Caddo Lake Watershed Protection Plan in 2009, and Bacteria Assessment in Big Cypress and its tributaries above Lake O’ the Pines in 2009. Each of these programs is ongoing and involves substantial participation by stakeholders interested in the future of our basin.The funding for these programs is primarily supplied by grants from state agencies, federal programs and additional stakeholders.
The District continues to active participate in regional water planning.The District is the Administrator of the North East Texas Regional Water Planning Group (Region D).Region D includes the 19 counties in the northeast most part of Texas.There are 24 voting members on this planning group.This planning group was created in 1997 as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the Texas Legislature.The planning group has successfully completed four comprehensive plans and is beginning the fifth plan.The District has been the Administrator for every one of these comprehensive plans. The planning group contemplates that it will complete a comprehensive plan at least once every five years.Most of the cost of this planning is provided by the Texas Water Development Board.
The District is prudently planning to continue to execute further contracts for a water supply to additional buyers.The revenues from these additional sales are intended to further benefit the cities that paid property taxes to the District.Due to contracts signed in the last 15 years, the member cities receive revenue from the sales of raw water benefiting Marshall, Harleton, Linden, Diana, and Tryon Road.It is anticipated that there will be further sales that will benefit the member cities.It is projected that the area near Lake O’ the Pines is water abundant and will remain water abundant for at least the next fifty years.
The comprehensive plan recently completed for Region D provides an analysis of supply and demand for all wholesale water providers in the region.The plan lists Northeast Texas Municipal Water District as the wholesale water provider within Region D with the largest amount of surplus over the next 50 years.When comparing the existing supply with the projected demands, the projected surplus remaining in 50 years is greater than 49 million gallons per day.