Municipal Setting Designation (MSD)

Municipal Setting Designation

A Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) is a legally binding document preventing the use of groundwater as potable water at a subject property. Potable water is water that is used for drinking, showering, bathing, cooking, or irrigating crops intended for human consumption. The MSD protects public health by restricting people from using contaminated groundwater as potable water within the designated property.

An MSD can be strategic for site redevelopment because it can change the State’s requirements for the cleanup of contaminated groundwater at the site, typically to less stringent regulations. Generally, potable water has the most protective concentration levels for groundwater cleanup regulatory requirements. Therefore, by not allowing the use of groundwater as potable water, the MSD law provides an alternative for accelerated and less expensive cleanup of contaminated groundwater.

An MSD application must meet numerous requirements, including notifications about the application to nearby water well owners, and have municipal support from the city where the proposed MSD is located. Once the MSD has municipal acceptance, the application can be submitted to the TCEQ for certification. The MSD does not remove any liability from the property owner, and it does not excuse the applicant from cleanup activities required by the State to reduce other risks to the public, such as vapor inhalation from the groundwater contamination or non-potable uses (e.g., watering pets or livestock or irrigation of lawns).

InControl Technologies’ project managers have extensive experience and comprehensive knowledge in guiding our clients through the MSD process. We handle communications with nearby residents of the subject property and attend public meetings in which we assist the City representatives in providing expert explanations and information about the subject site. If you are interested in pursuing an MSD for a property or you have received an MSD notification letter and would like more information, please contact us.

The following are frequently asked questions by residents who receive MSD notifications:

Why am I receiving a letter?

If you have received a letter by certified mail or delivery confirmation, you were identified as a real property owner with a water well on it located within a five (5)-mile radius of the property which has applied for the MSD.

Why are you sending me so many letters?

The requirements of the Texas Health and Safety Code, as it applies to the MSD program, state that a minimum of three (3) attempts must be made to notify water well owners within five (5)-miles of the property which has applied for the MSD.  If we do not receive confirmation (i.e., the green receipt card from certified mail) that you received the notification letter from our first attempt, we make a second and possibly third attempt to notify you.

What does this mean for me and my property?

An MSD cannot be placed on your property without your knowledge.  The letters are intended to notify you that a property within five (5)-miles of your property has applied to this program. They are for notification only and no action is required on your part.  Municipal water supply is not affected.  These letters are to inform you of the application and give you an opportunity to ask questions and provide any comments. Information regarding the public meeting, how to obtain a copy of the application, and contact information is provided in the letter(s).

There is no water well on my property.  How do I get my name taken off the list?

Please contact the Texas Water Development Board.

Texas Water Development Board
1700 North Congress Avenue
P.O. Box 13231
Austin, Texas 78711-3231
Phone: (512) 463-7847