S&P Global Affirms ‘AA-’ Rating for Gulf Coast Authority

HOUSTON, February 17, 2022 – S&P Global Ratings has affirmed a rating of AA- on existing Bayport Area System revenue bonds for the Gulf Coast Authority (GCA), formerly Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority. The rating reflects a combination of GCA’s very strong enterprise and financial risk profiles, further supporting a stable outlook.

Specifically, GCA’s Bayport Facility provides wastewater services to a unique territory concentrated among more than 70 industrial users and provides significant cost benefits to customers that might choose to join a regional service versus providing their own treatment services. Further, GCA offers a distinct advantage in federal regulation that enables industry to directly discharge to the Authority.

“GCA has a long history of responsibly managing participant and customer funds,” said Elizabeth Fazio Hale, GM/CEO of GCA. “We are proud to preserve this financial standing, working to maintain and better our financial outlook for the Authority.”

Contributing factors include conservative budgeting, consistent financial position improvement, strong all-in debt service coverage, and maintaining liquidity at strong levels to provide additional reserves.

GCA’s strong governance comes from transparent communication with stakeholders as well as its midterm-term strategic and financial planning. Additionally, management continues to improve and update its emergency and freeze protection plans to prepare for future environmental events.

An explanation of the significance of the S&P ratings may be obtained from S&P on GCA’s website under Reports linked here. The rating reflects only the respective views of such organization.

Gulf Coast Authority was created by the Texas Legislature in 1969 to protect the waters of the State of Texas through environmentally sound, economically feasible, and technologically advanced wastewater and water management practices. GCA provides regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment services, solid waste management, industrial water services, and financial services – all with the goal to protect the environment, preserve water resources, and promote industrial development for a strong economy. For more information, please visit www.gcatx.org.

Media Contact:
Keith Hardcastle, Public Information Officer (281) 488-4115 | khardcastle@gcatx.org

Gulf Coast Authority Announces Promotions

Jonathan Sandhu has been promoted to Technical Director of GCA. In this role, Jonathan will be responsible for overseeing all engineering activities at the Authority, including process engineering and capital projects. Jonathan joined GCA in 2020 from Brown and Caldwell where he was Industrial Water Chemical and Energy Lead and the Houston Office Lead. Jonathan possesses a strong, collaborative approach in advising on wastewater and water reuse services for the Authority.

 

Darla Fogie has been promoted to Central Laboratory Facility Manager of GCA. In this role, Darla is responsible for the management of the employees and oversight of the operations and compliance at Central Laboratory. Darla has served as the Assistant Lab Manager since August 2021. Prior to joining GCA, she served for 6 years as Regional Laboratory Manager to Weidmann Electrical Technology. Darla brings exceptional abilities to her new role as Laboratory Manager including her ability to effectively communicate and motivate her team with vision and commitment.

 

Joanne MacDougall has been promoted to Assistant Director-Process Engineering of GCA. In this role, Joanne will oversee process and controls engineering for GCA. In her 18 years at GCA, Joanne has been a key team member for almost every GCA capital project. She has also been an invaluable resource when our facilities have experienced process upsets, and on numerous occasions, she has helped ensure we remain in compliance with both our air and wastewater permits.

Governor Abbott Appoints Batson to Gulf Coast Authority Board of Directors

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Amber Batson to the Gulf Coast Authority for a term set to expire on August 31, 2023. The Gulf Coast Authority has the authority to provide water systems and control water pollution and waste disposal within the district. In addition, they shall conduct studies and research on the control of water pollution and waste disposal within the district.

Amber Batson of Tomball is a Project Manager and Associate Vice President of Carollo Engineers. She is a corporate member of Texas Water Conservation Association, American Public Works Association, and the Water Environment Federation. Additionally, she is a licensed professional engineer by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. Batson received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida.

This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

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If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact the Governor’s Press Office at (512) 463-1826.

All GCA Wastewater Treatment Facilities Honored with Prestigious NACWA Peak Performance Awards

HOUSTON, September 7, 2021 – All Gulf Coast Authority (GCA) wastewater treatment facilities were recognized for their 2020 performance by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) with Peak Performance Awards. For the sixteenth consecutive year, GCA facilities were honored by NACWA (with awards being received as far back as 1990 from AMSA, NACWA’s predecessor organization) for excellence in operational performance and permit compliance.

  • Bayport l Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • Blackhawk Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • 40-Acre Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • Odessa Municipal and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold; and
  • Washburn Tunnel Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Silver.

“In a year with pandemic challenges, GCA is proud that all of its facilities were nationally recognized for their performance and commitment to protecting the waters of the state of Texas. Our workers provide essential services for our communities, industry, and the environment. And the essential nature of our business was highlighted during the pandemic,” said Liz Fazio Hale, GCA General Manage/CEO.

Peak Performance Awards are provided to outstanding clean water utilities that have demonstrated operational excellence with no more than five permit violations in a calendar year for Silver, and, for our Gold Award winners, zero violations. For nearly 50 years, NACWA has been the nation’s recognized leader in advancing sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. NACWA seeks to fulfill this mission through its national recognition/awards program, its clean water advocacy and communications, and its peer-to-peer utility network to share best practices from coast-to-coast.

GCA is a governmental entity created by the Texas legislature in 1969 with the broad charge to protect the waters of the State of Texas. GCA has the authority to own and operate regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities, water systems, and solid waste facilities statewide, as well as the ability to provide bond financing services. For more information, please visit www.gcatx.org.

Media Contact:
Keith Hardcastle, Public Information Officer
(281) 488-4115 | khardcastle@gcatx.org

Gulf Coast Authority’s Technical Services Director Levine to Retire – Sandhu to take role in early 2022

After 40-plus years at Gulf Coast Authority, Technical Services Director Leonard Levine will be retiring, effective February 2022. Jonathan Sandhu, currently Assistant Director – Technical Services, will be promoted to the role following Levine’s retirement.

“Leonard has been instrumental in the many industrial wastewater treatment innovations GCA has pioneered over the past decades,” said Elizabeth Fazio Hale, GCA Chief Executive Officer/General Manager. “His creative approaches and practical solutions – as well as his willingness to share his expertise with others – has burnished both his and the Authority’s reputation for protecting the waters of Texas.”

Levine graduated with a degree in environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1972 just before passage of the Clean Water Act, putting him on the front lines of the revolution in wastewater treatment. From the development of new technologies for sources to building practical applications to training operators, Levine has done it all in almost 50 years in the field. Joining GCA in 1980, he has served as Technical Director for the past 20 years where he has oversight of technology selection, design, and operation for all GCA facilities. He has pioneered many treatment technologies and regulatory efforts, including disinfection methods, emission controls, innovative pH adjustment methods, and produced water regulations.

“Leonard has been instrumental in helping build the Authority’s industry-leading capabilities as GCA grew in its mission,” said Gordon Pederson, GCA’s Chief Technical Officer. “His understanding of process, engineering prowess, and creative flair have helped him and his team problem-solve and develop innovative technological approaches that have since been adopted across the field.”

His service has been recognized most recently with the Water Environment Association of Texas’ (WEAT) Winfield S. Mahlie Award for significant contributions to the art and science of wastewater treatment and water pollution control.

“Being part of the early days of industrial wastewater treatment – and particularly serving in the only large industrial wastewater treatment entity in the U.S. – has made for a fascinating career,” Levine said. “Looking back, there are many firsts to be proud of – GCA truly was and is a pioneer in this space. I am excited to see what the future holds in the wastewater and water treatment arena and look forward to GCA continuing its tradition of cutting-edge approaches to balancing the environment and the economy.”

Upon Levine’s retirement, Sandhu will be promoted to Technical Director. He joined GCA in 2020 from Brown and Caldwell, where he was Industrial Water Chemical and Energy lead, providing water/wastewater treatment consulting to refineries, chemical and petrochemical facilities, and served as its Houston Office Leader.

Gulf Coast Authority (www.gcatx.org) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1969 to protect the waters of the state of Texas through environmentally sound, economically feasible and technologically advanced wastewater and water management practices. GCA provides regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment services, solid waste management, industrial water services, and financial services – all with the goal to protect the environment, preserve water resources, and promote industrial development for a strong economy.

Traweek Named to Gulf Coast Protection District

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has named Lori Traweek, former General Manager of the Gulf Coast Authority, to the Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD) Board of Directors. The GCPD Board will be compromised of six Governor appointments and five appointees with one from each of the following counties: Orange, Jefferson, Chambers, Harris, and Galveston. The Texas Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 660 related to the creation of the District to operate and leverage funding for the unique flood control and surge protection system needed to protect coastal industry and communities.

The coastal protection project is anticipated to be the largest civil works project for the Army Corps of Engineers in US history. The District will be expected to leverage up to $30 billion in federal funds for the benefit of projects in the aforementioned coastal counties. As Texas ports handle approximately 65% of all US cargo and produce, the funds are designated to protect not only the Texas coast but also the national economy.

“This project will go down in history as one of the most significant measures to protect Coastal Texas, its citizens, and the economic activities this region provides,” said Governor Abbott. “Strengthening our coastal regions and ports is vital not only to Texas but to the entire nation.”

“I am honored to be named by Governor Abbott to serve on the board of the Gulf Coast Protection District,” said Traweek. “It is a unique opportunity to serve our citizens, our industry, and the environmental needs of this important coastal region.”

Traweek is the current Chair of the Galveston Bay Foundation, President of the Texas Conservation Fund, and board member of the Texas Water Trade.

The Office of the Texas Governor news release can be found here.

Gulf Coast Authority Board of Directors Recognizes Employees

Gulf Coast Authority (GCA) Board of Directors passed resolution 2021-02 recognizing and honoring employees for their efforts during the winter storms of February 2021. The resolution states, “GCA employees exhibited exceptional commitment, expertise, and great teamwork that foster safe and rapid recovery of GCA facilities under these extraordinary circumstances.”

Winter storms Uri and Viola hit Texas hard in February of 2021, leaving millions without power and water. As citizens struggled to stay warm and find potable water supplies, GCA employees were on the frontline serving communities and industries to keep our environment clean of unpermitted wastewater discharges.

“It is times like these that we must recognize the heroic efforts of our employees who are essential workers,” said Frank Jones, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Our personnel are essential workers who worked to meet the mission under very challenging circumstances,” added Liz Fazio Hale, CEO/GM. “For that we are all very thankful.”

RESOLUTION 2021-02 RECOGNIZING AND HONORING GCA EMPLOYEES FOR THEIR EFFORTS DURING THE WINTER STORMS OF FEBRUARY 2021

STATE OF TEXAS
COUNTY OF HARRIS

WHEREAS, in mid-February 2021, the State of Texas experienced back-to-back Winter Storms Uri and Viola which brought unprecedented low temperatures and state-wide power outages; and

WHEREAS, the combination of the ice storms and prolonged power outages caused substantial damage to private and public infrastructure, including the facilities owned and operated by Gulf Coast Authority; and

WHEREAS, during the storms, GCA managers, operators, and maintenance technicians came together, sacrificing their own personal challenges, to keep GCA from suffering extensive damage to its facilities; and

WHEREAS, GCA employees exhibited exceptional commitment, expertise, and great teamwork that fostered safe and rapid recovery of GCA facilities under these extraordinary circumstances; and

WHEREAS, in the aftermath of the winter storms, GCA employees continue to work efficiently and as a team to identify damages and assess compliance issues brought about by the events; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of GCA desires to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of all GCA staff;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Authority, hereby recognizes the extraordinary efforts of its employees, especially those employees who “rode out” the storms distinguishing these individuals as Weather Warriors, and honors all of our essential employees for their efforts during and after the significant damage to property and threat of personal safety brought by Winter Storms Uri and Viola.

PASSED, ADOPTED AND APPROVED this 13th day of MAY, 2021.

Governor Abbott Reappoints Meaux and Scott to the Gulf Coast Authority Board of Directors

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Lamont Meaux and Kevin Scott to the Gulf Coast Authority for terms set to expire on August 31, 2022. The Gulf Coast Authority has the authority to provide water systems and control water pollution and waste disposal within the district. In addition, they shall conduct studies and research on the control of water pollution and waste disposal within the district.

Lamont Meaux of Stowell is the owner and president of Seabreeze Culvert, Seabreeze Chemical and Seabreeze Farm. He is a member of the Winnie-Stowell Chamber of Commerce, Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Texas Farm Bureau, and General Land Office Regional Advisory Board. He is a past member of the American Rice Growers Association, American Soybean Association, American Rice Growers Exchange, and Texas Rice Festival. He is also a member of the East Chambers Agriculture Historical Society, Texas A&M University Association of Former Students, and the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Association, and a member and past muster chairman of the Beaumont A&M Club. Meaux served in the U.S. Army and received a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University.

Kevin Scott of Santa Fe is co-owner and funeral director of Scott Funeral Home in Alvin. He previously served as a teacher, coach, and vice-principal for Santa Fe ISD. He is a former member of the Santa Fe High School Football and Baseball Booster Clubs. In addition, he is a former member of the Texas State Teachers Association and Texas High School Coaches Association. Scott received a Bachelor of Science from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Science in Educational Management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.

These appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

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If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact the Governor’s Press Office at (512) 463-1826.

GCA Facilities Recognized by NACWA for Continued Operational Excellence in 2020

Four Gulf Coast Authority (GCA) waste treatment facilities were recognized this year (2020) by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) with Peak Performance Awards:

  • Blackhawk Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • Forty Acre Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • Odessa Municipal and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold; and
  • Washburn Tunnel Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Silver.

This is the fifteenth consecutive year for GCA facilities to be honored by NACWA (with awards being received as far back as 1990 from AMSA, NACWA’s predecessor organization) for excellence in operational performance and permit compliance.
“Our facilities provide essential services for our communities, industry, and the environment,” said Liz Fazio Hale, GCA General Manage/CEO. “In a year with pandemic challenges, GCA is proud to be nationally recognized for its reliability and commitment to protecting the waters of the state of Texas.”

Peak Performance Awards are provided to outstanding clean water utilities that have demonstrated operational excellence with no more than five permit violations in a calendar year for Silver, and, for our Gold Award winners, zero violations.
For nearly 50 years, NACWA has been the nation’s recognized leader in advancing sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. NACWA seeks to fulfill this mission through its national recognition/awards program, its clean water advocacy and communications, and its peer-to-peer utility network to share best practices from coast-to-coast.

GCA is a governmental entity created by the Texas legislature in 1969 with the broad charge to protect the waters of the State of Texas. GCA has the authority to own and operate regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities, water systems, and solid waste facilities statewide, as well as the ability to provide bond financing services. For more information, please visit www.gcatx.org.

Media Contact:
Keith Hardcastle, Public Information Officer
(281) 488-4115 | khardcastle@gcatx.org