So What Happened At The Houston Meeting???

Guy Blackmon

Roundtable Host 2009
Does anyone have an update on the events at this last meeting???

I have read good things happened, so what were they???
 

Christopher

Moderator
I am sure that Ron will post when he can, I heard briefly that it was something that the Houston guys will appreciate but I don't know all the details and that it will take some more time.

Wish I had more time to talk to him but I am thinking that this will be talked about in Tampa.
 

Doug Rucker

Roundtable Host 2009
The seminar held on this past Thursday afternoon was a total different atmosphere than any other of the previous 4 seminars that I have attended. There are usually about 125 people that attend and for the most part these are people that have been cited in recent months along with local area distributors/vendors that sell reclaim equipment and also waste hauling companies. This meeting was attended by approximately 45 people and there were no local vendors/distributors or waste hauling companies. We learned through talking to some of the enforcement people that “ticketing” of power washers has gone way down and they will now begin focusing on carpet cleaning companies, restaurants, and other industries. Doesn’t mean that we as pressure washers are in the clear from enforcement, just means they feel that they have done their job in getting the word out to local contractors.

Also different was the tone and attitude. We felt more of a willingness to listen to us and here our side as it relates to their former mentality that everything had to be reclaimed no matter what.

During the meeting, Ron was able to pull certain members of the enforcement (and other City Officials) team aside during the seminar and talk with them about the differences between “compliant” properties and “non compliant” properties. It was great to watch as Ron would educate them and they would learn that most of the commercial properties in Houston are built with there own waste water retention/detention areas and that the type of cleaning that we do, our waste water would never hit the MS4 storm drains. They agreed w Ron that in these cases reclaim and the hauling of waste water off site would not be necessary. In fact, they are now encouraging us to never haul the waste water off the property unless absolutely necessary. They even told us that using the sanitary system, when done legally and properly would be a viable option for us, and would encourage it. Basically, they now understand that every drain in a parking lot does not necessarily lead to the MS4 system. This is HUGE for us here in Houston.

Yesterday, (Friday) Ron made several phone calls and we also met with come city workers/officials in the planning review/permitting departments to confirm that in the City of Houston, as is in other cities, anytime a NEW commercial building/parking area is built, or an existing one is remodeled, the property must be brought in to compliance and have it’s own storm water retention/detention area and/or filtration system that would prevent their storm water or waste water from ever entering the MS4 and that it is the responsibility of the owner of the property to properly maintain it. We were totally amazed at how these officials were willing and available to sit down and talk to us and answer all our questions and how helpful they were. Very pleasant people to work with.

The enforcement officers at the seminar were also very pleasant and helpful and we felt for the first time that they were genuinely interested in helping us do our jobs.

IMO, we are now able to get back to work without the threat of citations issued to anyone that is operating a pressure washer. We still must be responsible in our cleaning, which is what we all have said all along is what our goal should be as environmental cleaning contractors and in educating contractors in our industry, but there is no longer this belief that every ounce of water must be reclaimed and hauled across the city to be disposed of. Exactly the opposite is now encouraged and accepted.. Exhaust every method to prevent that and prevent your waste water from entering the MS 4.

Ron and I talked yesterday quite a bit about how we need to a better job of educating the contractors, (as well as Municipalities) in our industry on that subject, responsible environmental cleaning. I am sure he will talk more about that in Tampa as well on the boards when he is ready.

People said it couldn’t be done, some said we were wasting our time, that you can’t fight City Hall and other comments like that. I am here to tell you that after what I have seen Ron Musgraves do here in Houston the last 14-15 months that you can make changes. Ron never looked at it as fighting City Hall, but educating them and working WITH them to help the City. I Thank Ron for his tireless efforts in helping me and the contractors here in Houston; I also thank the City for being willing to listen and open to change.

On a side note, we had the pleasure of meeting and sitting at our table with some enforcement officers from the City of Galveston. Theses officers came with the intent of learning and taking back with them the same enforcement that Houston WAS doing. After conversing with Ron, they now understand our views and are willing to listen to us before implementing any type of enforcement or BMP’s. Again I’ll let Ron talk more about that when he is ready.

One thing I would encourage every contractor to do is, keep up with your local authorities and let other contractors know when you need help. There are many contractors on these boards, people like Ron Musgraves, Guy Blackmon, Scott Stone, Tony Shelton, Chris Chappell, Michael Tessaro, and others that are able and more than willing to help. It is painfully obvious to me that when things like this happen we are going to have to turn to each other for help. It took me getting cited to bring this to the forefront of the industry, and I as a Contractor should have done a better job of keeping up with what was going on in my City. That falls on me and I take responsibility for that. No one else can or will do that for you. As Sargeant Walsh said in the seminar, “if your going to be in any type of business, you are responsible for knowing the laws as they pertain to your business”.

Again, a BIG THANKS to Ron Musgraves for all your tireless efforts, phone calls, meetings, and trips here, (at your own expense) to help us. It is greatly appreciated.



 
Thanks Doug for all the information. Very good post as to what took place.

As far as my own experiences here in FL, I have only been approached 3 times. Once was actually by the Sheriffs dept, because a neighbor called when they smelled the bleach we were using on a roof.

Just 2 days ago we were doing another job, again on the beach and wouldn't you know it. It was directly across from their City Hall and public works dept. Guess who decided to take a walk across the street and ask what type of chems we were using? Yep, one of the City workers. He was actually very nice about the whole thing and I explained everything we were doing. Long story short, he let us continue but warned us to make sure everything was cleaned up. The biggest thing was that we were cleaning a circular driveway and removing some of the flaking paint but the chems he was smelling was from the roof we were also cleaning.
 

Christopher

Moderator
Great post Doug.

I am really glad that Ron M. took time out of his life and got involved with this Houston issue. It really shows how smart he is, how much he knows about the laws and the industry and how much he wants to help the contractors all over the country.

What Ron M. did in the short time is more than amazing, he did more than other contractors, other org's and other vendors with the Houston issue by himself and showed them that we should be working together, not against each other and how contractors are willing to do the right thing for the benefit of everyone, just need educating everyone involved with the situation.

Thanks Ron for all you do and what you have done to help the Contractors in Houston.
 

Guy Blackmon

Roundtable Host 2009
This is Awesome News Doug!!!

Contractors as a whole owe a great deal of thanks to Ron, Doug, Chris, Mike T and others who were involved with this meeting. Make no mistake Gentleman if you think this is an isolated incident (Just Houston) think again, it will be coming to your area soon... Bank On It.

This was (IMO) a huge victory for Contractors everywhere. We proved that we are not "Polluters", a name that we have been tagged with by outside sources. That we as Contractors are not a bunch of stupid people running around with pressure washers "Squirting Water". That we are an Educated & Dedicated group of Businessmen who are not afraid to stand up for what is right.

I am also ashamed, ashamed of the people that did not stand with the above mentioned Gentlemen. Ashamed of an Org. who claims to represent the Industry but was nowhere to be found, ashamed of the area Distributors, that sat like vultures waiting to pick the bones of Contractors after the City had it's fill.

Let this be a lesson to everyone, The only ones that will fight for Contractors are Contractors. We have been shown that Contractors are in this fight alone, and I say "So Be It"!!!

So I guess the rumors of "Outside Influence" from Distributors and/or Waste Haulers was totally unfounded???? Wonder how they knew that it wasn't going to do them any good to be at this meeting??? Of course they weren't working with the City. It's just coincidence......Right?

Don't Pee In My Boot And Tell Me It's Raining.

GOOD JOB!!!!!!!!!!!
 

jlpressure

JL Pressure Washing
Great post Doug and thanks for letting us know what went on!!!!! I got a quick call from Ron yesterday, he was excited and happy about Houston, as well he should be, he's like a kid sometimes.

You know, I have to give Ron Musgraves credit and I hope both the National Orgs and other related orgs look and learn.

You know Ron is a different animal. Knew him from the BB's for years, knew he was smart, thought at times he was annoying and rude, I was friends with him, I fought with him, heck I hated the man for a time and did not trust him because I thought he was just F'ing with things because he couldn't control them. But Ron has proven time and time again, he will fight for contractors, his business and our industry and the best part of all that is.......He's a pretty smart man, tireless in his pursuit of helping and teaching and being a darn good salesman and talker he can get his point across better than most other and all people I have known in my life.

The orgs I feel are out of touch and our industry and as I see it on the BB's at times are like a dysfunctional family but all I can say is if you need help and want to get a good answer to something and help, who do you call? Yup...Ron Musgraves. Ron I respect and thank you for what you did for those contractors in Houston and the help you give so freely at your own expense.

Orgs. I am sorry, Its time to fight for LESS restrictions, you would be well served to put aside all differences and ask Ron and all contractors to help you all do better jobs as Orgs. I like Robert H personally and all he has done to try to help as he knows how but as has been said a million times bottom line is Robert is a distributor and will always have that mindset. Our Orgs need to hire Ron Musgraves as one of their Enviro Consultants. There are many out there as smart as Ron, but I venture to say none that will go to a fight and educate, teach and speak so it can be understood by all like Ron Musgraves.

I am still a member of the UAMCC, if it survives I say put Ron on the job. PWNA, not many trust you guys right now, put all the BS aside, don't try to figure angles to help your own businesses, think about the INDUSTRY. Embrace Musgraves and ask him to help. We might just became a better industry with less regulations than more. Ron shouldn't have to be alone in cleaning up the messes in our industry, Orgs help him get it done

Ron may be an SOB at times but he will always help and usually get the job done better than most.

Thanks Ron, I am excited reading Dougs post. Congrats Doug and all contractors that this has helped in Houston and beyond.

LESS REGULATIONS is what its about!!!!!!!!
 

offdutyfireman

Active member
Well said Jeff and Guy. Thanks Ron, Doug and the rest of you. I quit the UAMCC when they brought the vendor on to hawk his BMP's/sales pitch so I am org free. Feels refreshing.
 

smkservices

New member
I missed it.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the meeting because the Air Force has me on orders for training and I will most likely be gone for about a year. I am glad to hear that things are improving. I have a customer that was cited by the City of Houston for allowing a pressure washing company to put dirty water down the storm drain.

I was able to pick up the work from them because they wanted a company that was compliant. I suggested to the company president a few months ago that he allow me to just pump it into the sanitary sewer and he was too scared to allow that. I hope that this change in attitude with the city will help me with this customer and with others like him.

If any of you guys are in the Shreveport area in the next month, or so, then please give me a call and let's have dinner.

Thanks Ron and Doug.
 

Clean County PW

Active member
On a side note, we had the pleasure of meeting and sitting at our table with some enforcement officers from the City of Galveston. Theses officers came with the intent of learning and taking back with them the same enforcement that Houston WAS doing. After conversing with Ron, they now understand our views and are willing to listen to us before implementing any type of enforcement or BMP’s. Again I’ll let Ron talk more about that when he is ready.
QUOTE]

Yup thats what I told Ron all along since I am in law enforcement. They will listen and learn like the way you guys do. Now to get the laws changed or implemented the way they should be by listening to the professionals like you guys and to possibly get that actually done..... great job.

Can't wait to hear Rons take on this but nice job Doug in bringing this all out....... and to many peoples benefit Doug as I like to say... they messed with the wrong guy and in this case it was you.... Tip my hat to ya.
 

Doug Rucker

Roundtable Host 2009
Hey doug, just to "clarify" Ron did the negotiating with the Galveston folks?????

I wouldn't say that he did any "negotiating" but we met them in the parking lot when we pulled up and he talked to them then. That is when we found out that they were there to find out what Houston was doing and then go back and implement it there. Ron also asked for and got there Boss's phone number. Then in the meeting they were sitting with us at our table, me you Ron and them, and I noticed Ron would keep pointing out facts to them and talking to them and they seemed to be in agreement with Ron on several points Ron was making. This was while the seminar was going on and I couldnt hear every word between them, but that is basically what I was getting from there conversations.

If I have mis stated something please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I certainly don't want to give any false or mis leading information.
 

Clean County PW

Active member
Hey Doug you guys did a great job down there no matter what happens. It seems from here that some at least listen to the pro's in this industry.

Is it possible for you to give out what the ticket code # was that you were written for or what another code is that there using for another charge that someone down there can get? Example here is lets say speeding. The code is 1180d of the VTL(Vehicle traffic law)book. The reason I'm asking is because I want to see what there code says in there book and I want to see how it compares to what can be written here.

Maybe that code is universal in explaination and that explaination is what I really want to see and the code tells you where to look.

Thanks
 

Sirocco Jerry

Active member
.. Make no mistake Gentleman if you think this is an isolated incident (Just Houston) think again,
it will be coming to your area soon... Bank On It.

This was (IMO) a huge victory for Contractors everywhere. We proved that we are not "Polluters", a name that we have been tagged with by outside sources. That we as Contractors are not a bunch of stupid people running around with pressure washers "Squirting Water". That we are an Educated & Dedicated group of Businessmen who are not afraid to stand up for what is right.

I am also ashamed, ashamed of the people that did not stand with the above mentioned Gentlemen. Ashamed of an Org. who claims to represent the Industry but was nowhere to be found, ashamed of the area Distributors, that sat like vultures waiting to pick the bones of Contractors after the City had it's fill.

Let this be a lesson to everyone, The only ones that will fight for Contractors are Contractors.
We have been shown that Contractors are in this fight alone, and I say "So Be It"!!!
..QUOTE]

Guy,
you're right..
Contractors will persistently need to pull together, in an organized manner, on the local level.
Also, Ron has done a great job.
But..
Ron can't be the only national effort, or he'll burn out.. more of us will have to pitch in.

Ron and I have been talking about a national effort, which could properly shape a sustainable relationship with the cities..
TOTALLY based on intelligent BMPs.. simple, manageable, responsible, sustainable Best Management Practices..
the "process-proceedures" required for "every" jobsite.
NObody wants a liability problem..
Houston clearly realized they didn't want one. Eh?
 
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Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
Eric you have the full lead on Galveston , please make sure your aggressive if you need to.

Let us know what's going on and if you run into problems or it'd not going how the industry at whole wants it too ask for help.

I'm sure you will do a great job representing all of us.

Thanks for taking the time, it's a huge responsibility. The futures in your hands.
 

Ron Musgraves

Exterior Restoration Specialist
Staff member
If you need some help with Galveston let me know. I grew up there and still know some people there.....

Personally I think it's done, hopefully we will get this one straight. I would reach out gene if this could affect you in anyway to Eric .
 
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