WilCo begins commodity flow study

Understanding of hazmat in county could aid public safety

Williamson County commissioners accepted a grant and approved matching funds to support a hazardous materials commodity flow study this summer at their April 2 meeting.

The in-depth study would look at hazardous materials, or hazmat, being transported through Williamson County, said Jarred Thomas, the county's emergency management coordinator, at the meeting.

"This has never been done in the county; it's never been done in Central Texas," he said.

These types of commodity flow studies identify the types and amounts of hazmat transported into, out of, within and through a specified geographic area, according to the "Guidebook for Conducting Local Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Studies" by David Bierling, an associate research scientist at the Texas Transportation Institute. TTI, which is a member of The Texas A&M University System, is assisting Williamson County with the study.

The $54,539 grant commissioners approved is distributed by the state through the U.S. Department of Transportation, Thomas said, on the condition of 20 percent in local matching funds. Williamson County will pay $13,635 by factoring in volunteer hours and the partial salary of the county's assistant hazmat chief, Michael Wofford, who will act as project manager.

"The main goal behind these projects is to give [local emergency planning committees] information they can use to plan for hazardous materials transportation incidents and accidents," Bierling said. "The main idea is to provide them with information they can use to better protect the populations. It can help them figure out kinds of materials they need to be prepared for, identify equipment they need to use and also the processes or techniques they should be training for and exercising with so they can respond better in case something bad happens."

The commodity flow survey could take between six and nine months to complete, Bierling said, with a couple of the months being devoted solely to data collection.

Volunteers will do most of the data collection, and Bierling said he hopes to start volunteer training sometime in May.

Volunteers will collect data along highways by recording hazmat placards on passing vehicles. The numbers will be referenced later to confirm what type of material was being hauled.

"We're looking for everything," Thomas said. "Think about how many times you see a tanker truck going down [I-35]. Do you really think about it?"

Bierling said TTI has done 21 similar projects covering 38 county or city jurisdictions in Texas since 2008.

Researchers with TTI enjoy working with local jurisdictions and volunteers because the more involved the community is, the more relatable and useful the findings of the study are, Bierling said.

"We're really looking forward to working with Williamson County on this project," he said. "We should provide them with good information to help their emergency responders plan for keeping the population safe."



MOST RECENT

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

Freedom Realty Texas opened location on Williams Drive in Georgetown. (Brittany Andes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Real Estate office now open on Williams Drive in Georgetown

Freedom Realty Texas is a full-service residential and commercial real estate agency.

Georgetown began their sidewalk improvement plan in May and hopes to make the Square more accessible and safe. (Brittany Andes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sidewalk improvements on the Georgetown Square continue with lane closure

Construction will continue on the Georgetown Square as improvements are being made to the sidewalks in downtown Georgetown that will create better accessibility and improve safety for pedestrians, according to city officials.

Rodeo stock image
Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo ready to open gates Oct. 21 after coronavirus delay

After the inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo was postponed in 2020, county and fair officials said they are excited to kick off the agricultural celebration.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

A new King Liquor location opened in September in Georgetown. (Brittany Andes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Liquor store opens second location in Georgetown

Enjoy a selection of spirits at this Georgetown liquor store.

Wag Heaven's mural depicts Nemo, a German Shepherd who served in the U.S Air Force during Vietnam and saved his handlers life on the field of battle. (Brittany Andes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag Heaven to host dog wash event benefiting veterans in Georgetown this weekend, Oct. 23

Volunteers will clean visitors' furry friends at Wag Heaven’s charity dog washing event for the Georgetown Rotary Club’s annual Field of Honor event

Want to know more about new businesses coming to the Katy area? Below you can find details on the five latest commercial projects filed in Katy. (Courtesy Canva)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Read the latest top news about restaurants, businesses and other commercial projects that are coming soon or now open

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 19.

Black Rock Coffee Bar's menu features Americanos, drip coffees, cold brews, specialty lattes, teas and smoothies. (Courtesy Black Rock Coffee Bar)
4 businesses coming to Cedar Park, Leander; Barton Springs Pool reopens and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Williamson County Commissioners hope to vote on a new county precinct map before the end of November. The redistricting process comes after the county saw an explosion of population growth from 2010-20, according to census numbers. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Officials look to make new Williamson County precinct map available to public in early November

Williamson County will redraw its commissioner precinct map after the county saw a 44% growth in population over the past decade.

Have fun at a rodeo this fall, enter your pecans in a competition and pick a pumpkin at a fall festival.  (Courtesy Fotolia)
WilCo Notebook: Williamson County Rodeo Oct. 21-23 plus fun fall activities

Williamson County fall activities, including the WilCo Rodeo, Sweet Eats Fruit Farm Fall Festival and WilCo Pecan Show.