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Public Utilities

Utility Customer Service: 979-337-7400 (24 hours) | Customer Billing: 979-337-7520
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.



About Public Utilities

Utility Departments

The Public Utilities Department has the responsibility of overseeing the day-to-day operations of 5 departments that make up the city's utility funds. This department has the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure as well as providing utilities to the City of Brenham. The department receives and dispatches calls for all of the utility departments including power outages, sewer backups, low water pressure, water and gas leaks. Over 2,500 calls are received and dispatched each year.

The department interacts with multiple federal and state regulatory entities through reports and inspections. These agencies include, but are not limited to, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Information Administration, North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Water Development Board, Railroad Commission of Texas and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

The department is also directly responsible for the city's wastewater treatment, backflow prevention, and FOG program. These programs are monitored and controlled in order to protect the infrastructure that the city of Brenham owns and operates.

Strategic Objective

The Public Utilities Department of the City of Brenham strives to enhance and maintain the level of service it provides the citizens by continuing to develop plans for delivering safe, reliable, and cost-effective products and services.

Contacts

Utilities Ordinance


BEFORE YOU DIG - DIAL 811. IT'S THE LAW!

Color codes for Utilities Markings

  • Water - Blue
  • Sewer - Green
  • Gas - Yellow
  • Electric - Red
  • Reclaimed Water - Purple
  • Communications - Orange
  • Proposed Evacuation - White

Digging can be dangerous. There are buried utilities throughout the city. Hitting a utility line can be both dangerous and costly. Without knowing the locations of the buried utilities, you jeopardize your safety as well as others and the inconvenience of being without the service.

Before beginning any project that requires you to move earth, DIAL 811. This is a free service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The locate center will contact the city and the utility departments will mark their lines within 2 business days. Wait the required time - at least 2 business days. Once lines are marked, dig with care and dig safely by hand-digging within 18 inches of any marking.


Downloads

Utility Consumption by City of Brenham

FY2023 electric, water, and natural gas consumed by City of Brenham - HB 3693

 


 

Electric Department

Downloads & Applications

Jason Lange - Electric Superintendent - Office: 979-337-7427

The City's Electric Department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of 119 miles of distribution feeder lines. We focus on the specific needs of our customers by providing excellent electric service reliability and quick response time to power outages.

Ten Electric staff members in front of a lift machine
Electric Department Staff
Electric Lineman installing fiber optic cable on utility pole in a bucket truck
Lineman installing fiber optic cable on utility pole in a bucket truck
 

The City receives electricity from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) through transmission lines running to the City's two substations. In these substations, electricity is "stepped down" from 138,000kv transmission voltage to 7,200kv distribution voltage. The electric system distributes that power throughout the City and it is eventually reduced to the required voltage levels by transformers placed at each home or business.

The electric department serves more than 6,900 customers. The customer service department is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you notice any low or downed power lines, street lights out, experience a power outage or have any other electrical problem, call our offices at 979-337-7400 any time.

Rates

Residential

The following shows the rates for residential single-phase service assuming 1000 KWh's of use in a billing cycle.

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For all Rates, view the Electric Tariff PDF


 

Natural Gas Department

If you detect a gas odor anywhere, leave the area and call the City of Brenham Public Utility office at 979-337-7400 any time, 24 hours a day.

Phone: 979-337-7400

Take the Gas Safety Quiz

Downloads

Ande Bostain - Gas Superintendent - Office: 979-337-7416

Excess Flow Valve Customer Notification

Gas department staff (6 people) standing in front of truck and excavatorGas Department Staff
Gas Meter
Call before you dig - Woman stopping guy from digging, pointing out the gas meter on the house
Stop - Call 811 before you Dig - there may be buried utilities
idea-IMG_7280-webCall 811 before you dig and we will mark buried utilities

Natural Gas is:

  • Colorless and Odorless (the gas odor is added)
  • Combustible
  • Lighter than Air
  • Non-toxic and Non-poisonous 

Natural gas is delivered to the city's main gate station at a pressure of over 600 psi. The pressure is reduced to approximately 400 psi and an odorant is added for safety purposes. The gas is transported to the city's two other "gate" stations where the pressure is reduced to 60 psi or less. The gas is then distributed through a system of mains ranging in size from 1-1/4 inches to 6 inches in diameter and is delivered to homes and business at pressures from 4 oz. to several pounds.

The Gas Department is responsible for the maintenance and operation of 122 miles of gas mains and serves more than 4,100 customers. The gas department is dedicated to gas system safety. The City of Brenham Gas Department has consistently been rewarded for its "excellent" performance rating. In January 2019 the department was awarded its '100' performance rating by the Texas Municipal League's Intergovernmental Risk Pool demonstrating the City's commitment to safety and efficiency. The utility has earned a '99' or better since 2004, with 9 '100' ratings.

The City of Brenham Gas Department has received an Excellent Compliance Award from Texas Municipal League (TML) for each year between 2004 and 2021.


 

Water Department

Director of Water and Wastewater - Bobby Keene, Jr. 979-337-7445
Water Systems Superintendent - Jerry Saldivar 979-337-7434

Lead & Copper Inventory

Downloads

Educational

save water, every drop counts - water conservation poster with water saving tips. click for pdf
Water infographic, includes statistics for brenham's water usage - click for pdf
 

Sources for infographics:

Average household electric usage | Oceans and Freshwater Stats | Heating water | Average Shower timesCO2 & plastics | Agriculture


Water Treatment

The Water Treatment Plant is responsible for providing a safe and consistent supply of drinking water to the citizens of Brenham while maintaining compliance with state and federal regulations.

The City of Brenham's water is supplied from Somerville Lake. The city currently has a contract with the Brazos River Authority for 4,200-acre-feet per year, with the plant rated at 6.98 million gallons per day.

Raw Water Pump Station
Raw Water Pump Station
Water Treatment Plant
Water Treatment Plant

The water is pulled from the lake through an intake structure and pump station. The water is treated with Chlorine Dioxide as a primary disinfectant which also controls taste and odor. It is then delivered to Brenham through a 24" pipeline over a 14-mile route.

Once the water reaches the treatment plant, it is temporarily stored in a 750,000-gallon "raw water tank" where chloramines are added to complete the disinfection process.

The three towers, West Side, Church St., and Jeffries St., have a combined storage capacity of 1.1 million gallons. Total storage, including elevated and ground storage, is 3.7 million gallons.

The City of Brenham has an excellent long-range water supply, treatment, and distribution capacity. As a supplier of drinking water, the city must provide water that meets federal and state standards. As a consumer, you have the right to know if your water meets those standards.

HWY290WaterTower 010
West Side Water Tower

Water conservation is the most cost-effective way to reduce water demand. Using less water also puts less pressure on our sewage treatment facilities.

The Water Treatment Plant is operated 24 hours a day. In the event you notice that your water is discolored or has an unusual taste or odor, you can call the Public Utilities Dispatch office any time, 24 hours a day at 979-337-7400. They will dispatch a technician to investigate the problem.


Lead & Copper Inventory

Identify your service line - Survey

Topics:

What is the Lead and Copper Inventory?

The EPA has released guidelines for all Water Systems in the nation to assist in eliminating lead exposure. One way this is to be done is for the identification and removal of lead service lines. Part of the new guidelines require water systems to perform an inventory of all service lines in their system, regardless of ownership. This inventory is to be completed by October 2024.

Infographic of home with water source and different pipe types and connections. click for pdf version

A service line is the piping that connects the home or business to the water main. The City-owned portion is the piping between the main and the meter with the customer-owned portion being the piping between the building and the meter. Customer-owned service lines may also include piping running between buildings. The customer owns piping inside the building but is not included as part of the service line.


Meter box filled with dirt

Meter box with exposed meter and service line
The service line is the white plastic pipe at the top of the image

What is the City doing?

Our records do not indicate any lead service lines in our system. However, to ensure full compliance, the City is currently identifying as many service lines as possible in the event there is any lead in the system. If any are found, lead service lines owned by the City will be replaced. If lead is found on the customer’s side, details may be given on the steps a customer can take to prevent exposure.

Eventually, visual inspections of service lines will need to be performed to get a full inventory. The visual inspection will require uncovering both the service line from the street to the meter and the service line from the meter to the structure. To do this crews will be going to each house that has not been identified to date and will try to identify the lines by first cleaning out the meter box. If both lines cannot be identified inside the meter box, then a small hole will be dug on both sides of the meter box to uncover the lines. Afterwards, the hole will be filled in and the service crew will move to the next house.

If any are found, lead service lines owned by the City will be replaced. If lead is found on the customer’s side, details may be given on the steps a customer can take to prevent exposure.

How to help

Identify your service line - Survey

Please fill out this short survey that can assist us in identifying your customer-owned service line. By filling out the survey, a visual inspection may not need to be performed. However, an inspection of the City-owned line may still need to be done.

More information: We will be posting a map of areas that have been inventoried and when the inventory is complete, it will be posted online as per TCEQ requirements. You can also check out the EPA’s website on the Lead and Copper Rule for more information.

Learn more about the Lead and Copper Inventory from the EPA here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still be exposed to lead: Even if there is no lead piping in the system, there could still be lead in your system. Houses built before 1989 could have lead solder used in the joining of copper pipe and plumbing fixtures could also contain lead if manufactured before 2014.

Am I at risk: We monitor the lead levels in the water regularly and historically we have never detected levels of lead in the system. The City of Brenham Water Treatment Plant manages the corrosiveness of the water, preventing any lead in the system from being leeched into the drinking water. This corrosion control also produces scale in the pipes which acts as a barrier to reduce the dissolving of lead, if present, into the water. If you are still concerned, contact the City and we can perform a test of your water to verify it is lead-free. You could also contact a plumber to perform an inspection of your house to verify the absence of lead.


 

Wastewater

Director of Water and Wastewater - Bobby Keene, Jr. 979-337-7445
Wastewater Systems Superintendent -  Stephen Scheffer 979-337-7412

Waste Water Treatment StaffWaste Water Staff
Waste Water Effluent
Treated Waste Water Effluent leaving the plant

Educational

Sanitary Sewer Tariffs

Reclaimed Water

Wastewater Treatment

Inlet lift stationWaste Water Inlet Lift Station
Waste Water Aeration Blowers
Waste Water Aeration Blowers

The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is responsible for the treatment of wastewater received from the wastewater collection system for discharge into local creeks. The wastewater must be treated to meet strict federal and state limits before being discharged.

The wastewater is received by gravity flow to the treatment plant. Once at the plant, the wastewater enters the main lift station and is pumped into the headworks where (2) mechanical bar screens remove large objects from the wastewater. The wastewater then flows through a grit chamber where sand and grit is removed.

After this process, the wastewater flows into a diverter box where the flow is divided between the new aeration basin and the old aeration basin. The wastewater is then aerated for additional treatment with bacteria and other organisms which help breakdown the solids.

Waste Water Treatment Aeration BasinWaste Water Aeration Basin
Waste Water ClarifierWaste Water Clarifier

Once this is done, the wastewater enters the clarifiers where the solids settle out. The clear supernatant then flows to the chlorine contact chamber where it is treated with Chlorine, followed by dechlorination with Sulphur Dioxide in order to discharge into Hog Branch Creek.

The wastewater must be treated to meet strict federal and state limits before being discharged. The remaining solids from the bottom of the clarifiers are pumped into the 4 large digesters which also help break down the solids by final aeration, organisms, and bacteria. The remaining solids are then pumped to the belt press and treated as Class "A" biosolids which are then sold to local farmers and ranchers as a soil enhancer.

The WWTP has the capacity to treat up to 3.55 million gallons per day.

Currently, the WWTP is has expanded its operation to include a Reclaimed Water Station which allows bulk water sales of effluent to be used by contractors during construction rather than using potable water.


 

Water & Wastewater Construction

Director of Water and Wastewater - Bobby Keene, Jr. 979-337-7445
Water and Wastewater Construction Superintendent - Joshua Daniels 979-337-7438

Water Construction
The Water Distribution Department is responsible for the connection, operation, and maintenance of 145 miles of water mains, 2,800 water valves, and over 1041 fire hydrants. Water is distributed through a series of mains ranging in size from 2 inches to 12 inches in diameter. The department serves more than 6,800 customers and is on call 24 hours a day.

Services provided include checking for water leaks, low water pressure, and water main breaks. Should you experience any of these problems, please call us anytime, 24 hours a day, at 979.337.7400.

Other responsibilities of Water Construction are

  • Low water pressure
  • Needing water turned on or off at the meter to do repairs in your house
  • Fire hydrant maintenance and flow testing
  • Water quality issues
  • Repairs to city mains
  • The department is dedicated to providing a safe and reliable supply of potable water to all residents and commercial/industrial accounts located in the Brenham area

Wastewater Construction
The Wastewater Collection Department is responsible for the maintenance and operation of 139 miles of sewer mains, 6,243 sewer connections, over 2,000 manholes and serves more than 6,400 customers.

Responsibilities of this department include:

  • Installation of wastewater mains
  • Wastewater connections
  • Routine manhole inspections
  • Wastewater blockages or overflows
  • Wastewater odors

The department is also responsible for inflow and infiltration issues. This is done by conducting an annual smoke testing program. Each year, one-quarter of the city is tested. This form of testing will show indications of a broken sewer line. Owners of properties indicating an inflow problem are notified by mail that a repair of this is needed. In general, the repairs required are minor. Once the problem has been corrected, a technician will inspect the repair for verification.


Drainage Utility Charge

Download: Tariff

What is the Drainage Utility Charge?

buildings-infographic-drainage-fee This graphic contains text that is included in the FAQ's on the cityofbrenham.org/drainage page. It quickly explains the charge, who pays for it, and directs viewers to the drainage page for more information.

The Drainage Utility Charge is for (and can only be used for) drainage projects or drainage maintenance. multiple projects have been identified as needing improvements and maintenances of more than $4 million. These projects can be seen below.

Map of proposed projects

Why is a Drainage Utility Charge needed?

The city has been setting aside about $300,000 a year for different maintenance tasks for drainage, however, there are many areas in town that are prone to flooding and as development (and impervious cover) continues, additional areas will need to be addressed. This charge will bring in about $660,000 a year to cover maintenance and pay for the more than $4 million in drainage projects listed above.

What will my charge be?

Residents will be charged a flat $3.75 drainage charge. This flat charge is 1 Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) and is equal to 2,685 square feet of impervious cover. Non-residential property owners will be assessed a fee from 4 tiers based on the amount of property covered with impervious material. To view what fee your property will be assessed, you can check our non-residential property map (coming later this year). 

 

* 1 ERU = 2,685 sf impervious area

What if I want to appeal?

The appeals process is as follows:

  1. Submit a written adjustment request to Utility Customer Service. The form (found here) or picked up at Utility Customer Service in City Hall. Supplemental information and documentation may be required. This form can be turned in at Utility Customer Service in City Hall or emailed.
  2. The City has 15 business days to review the appeal and respond to the requester. Adjustments are prospective AND may be retroactive for no greater than three billings prior to the adjustment request. If the City denies the appeal, you have 15 business days from the date of notification to appeal the decision to the City Manager. The Burden of Proof is the responsibility of the requester.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's document