EPA Announces Successful Competitive Award Recipients for FY 14 Funds

In pursuing the next round of competitive grant awards for training and technical assistance support for small systems, as authorized by Congress, EPA’s OGWDW issued a Request for Applications with a closing date of September 2, 2014.  Throughout the Fall, applications were reviewed and scored by internal EPA panels, and selections have now been made.  The announcement below summarizes the outcome of the competition.  Please note that this is a selection announcement only; the actual grant awards are expected to be made in the Spring of 2015.

EPA Awards $12.7 Million to Help Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Across the Country

EPA’s Fiscal Year 2014 appropriation directed the Agency to competitively award $12.7 million for training and technical assistance to public water systems and wastewater systems located in urban and rural communities and to assist private well owners. The funding will help provide water system staff with training and tools to enhance system operations and management practices, and supports EPA’s continuing efforts to protect public health and promote sustainability in small communities. Selections for awards have been made and the following organizations will perform the following work:

  • National Rural Water Association ($4M) and Rural Community Assistance Partnership ($4M) – provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems across the country to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ($1.8 M) – help small public water systems across the country improve their financial and managerial capabilities to effectively provide safe drinking water over the long-term.
  • National Rural Water Association ($1.2M) – assist small publicly-owned wastewater systems and decentralized wastewater systems to improve operational performance over the long term, thereby improving public health and water quality.
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership ($1.7M) – assist private drinking water well owners with information they need to protect their drinking water supply and improve water quality.

For more information regarding these grants, please contact staff at EPA OGWDW – Adrienne Harris at harris.adrienne@epa.gov  or Maria Lopez-Carbo at lopez-carbo.maria@epa.gov .

ABC Offers Survey on Operator Job Analysis

The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) and its Certification Commission for Environmental Professionals (C2EP) are currently conducting an international operator job analysis. The responses to these job analysis surveys will be used to build updated Need-to-Know Criteria, standardized examination forms administered by many state certification programs, and other important operator certification resources. For this research to be successful, ABC and C2EP need your help to recruit as many operators as possible to complete these surveys.  Why?  Because…

  • It’s an opportunity for them to play a role in building certification exams;
  • It will ensure your state’s operational practices are incorporated into the standardized exam development process; and
  • Operators who complete a survey will be eligible to win some great prizes!

Here are the survey links:

Water Treatment: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WaterTreatmentJASurvey2

Water Distribution: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WaterDistributionJASurvey2

Wastewater Collection: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WastewaterCollectionJASurvey2

Wastewater Treatment: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WastewaterTreatmentJASurvey2


For more information on the job analyses and prizes, visit www.ProfessionalOperator.org.

EFC Network Webinar on Customer Affordability Considerations

On December 9, under a grant from EPA, the EFC Network and AWWA partnered to host a webinar that focused on customer affordability considerations as part of water rate setting.  The webinar was designed showcase available tools to help smaller systems determine how to assess customer affordability in their communities as well as possible approaches to help low income customers pay their water bills.  You may download the recording of this event at http://efcnetwork.org/webinar-customer-affordability-considerations-in-water-rate-setting/

ASDWA Posts “Tech Tools for Noncommunity Systems” Webinar Recording

On December 2, EPA held a webinar on how to more effectively reach, educate and regulate non-community water systems using some of the technologies that are now readily available, often at very modest cost.  Speakers from Idaho DEQ, Utah’s Division of Drinking Water, the University of Illinois, and Rural Water Association of Utah spoke about technologies and tools to help with compliance; formats for easy data collection – both by states and water systems; and communication techniques to reach private well owners.

The webinar recording has been posted on ASDWA’s website so that those unable to attend the original event may still learn about these new opportunities.  Click www.asdwa.org/noncommunitysystems to view the webinar.

CUPSS Asset Management Presentation Available

If you were unable to participate in the December 10 CUPSS Community webinar, we have some good news to share!  You may download the powerpoint presentation from the link below.

The event showcased “The Ohio RCAP Approach to Asset Management and CMOM” and featured Wayne Cannon from Ohio RCAP who described a successful comprehensive evaluation process for their water and wastewater facilities. The process incorporates the CUPSS asset management software and includes a wide range of options such as: GIS mapping, operational and management review, field investigations, identification of best management practices, developing capital improvement and asset management plans, conducting rate analyses, and gaining community support through public informational meetings.  Click this link CUPSS Community Call Slides – December 2014 to view the powerpoint presentation.

Value of Water Video Has New Link

ASDWA has just learned that the TEDTalk presentation given by Heather Himmelberger last fall has been given a new YouTube link.  ASDWA originally published this information in an October 1 blog post.  Heather, who is with the Southwest Environmental Finance Center, spoke on the value of water.  If you missed it, we encourage you to click ​ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrEuta9GPGM and learn why it’s important to put water first!

EPA & USDA Webinar on Sustainable Management for Small Systems

Many rural and small water systems throughout the country struggle with various issues, including aging or inadequate infrastructure, difficulties recruiting or retaining qualified staff, growing or establishing financial reserves, and setting rates that reflect their true operational costs.  EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) have worked collaboratively on a number of tools appropriate for these systems and invite you to participate in a train-the-trainer webinar to learn more.

TITLE:  Sustainable Management of Rural and Small Systems – Training the Trainer Webinar

DATE:  January 15, 2015

TIME:   Noon-3:30PM (eastern)


Focusing on two recently developed tools – the Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management (Guidebook) and Workshop in a Box materials, – participants will learn how to use them effectively in working with small systems. This webinar will be geared toward USDA Rural Development, EPA, and state program field staff as an introduction to the materials.

Participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with both the Guidebook and the Workshop in a Box in advance.  Please go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWP-WorkshopSupplementalMaterials.html and download these materials.

REMINDER!  EFC Affordability Webinar Next Week

Don’t forget to register for the latest in the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) webinar series on small system issues!

WEBINAR – Customer Affordability Considerations in Water Rate Setting

DATE:              December 9, 2014

TIME:               1:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click this link:  Register Here

Why Attend

How can you best serve low income customers and still pay costs? This webinar will help operators and other staff involved in water rate setting to consider customer affordability. Often, the operator is challenged to make add revenue to maintain and improve the utility. But, faced with customer affordability, decision-makers hesitate to approve rate increases. This webinar will equip small system staff with some ways to assess customer affordability for their own customer base, and introduce approaches to help low incomes customers pay water bills.

CUPSS Team to Host an Asset Management Webinar

Join the CUPSS (the Check Up Program for Small Systems) team as they host the latest in their series of CUPSS Community Calls…in this case, actually a webinar!

This webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, December 10 and will feature Wayne Cannon from the Ohio Rural Community Assistance Program.  He will be speaking about the Ohio RCAP approach to asset management and CMOM.

Date:    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Time:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

Register:  http://login.icohere.com/registration/register.cfm?reg=1479&evt=123

More information about this web event can be found in the flyer link below.

CUPSS Community Call Flyer_2014 December

CWA-SDWA Toolkit is Ready to Use

Last week, ASDWA and EPA announced the availability of a new resource, “Opportunities to Protect Drinking Water and Advance Watershed Goals Through the Clean Water Act: A Toolkit for State, Interstate, Tribal and Federal Water Program Managers.”  This Toolkit is designed to enable state and EPA water quality practitioners to better protect drinking water supplies using regulatory and non-regulatory provisions of the Clean Water Act and achieve mutual goals – better protected sources of drinking water and improved water quality.

The Toolkit is the result of a multi-year effort by state and EPA water quality managers across clean water and safe drinking water programs.  The group drew on expertise and examples of success from many states to provide the most promising opportunities to address complex water quality challenges that could benefit from a coordinated and collaborative approach, leveraging all available tools and resources.  This Toolkit:

  • identifies opportunities to reduce pollution in drinking water sources by using CWA tools;
  • provides examples of on-the-ground implementation;
  • demonstrates how program managers can align their efforts to protect source water through a combinationof actions and institutional relationships that facilitate cross-program coordination at the national, regional, state, and watershed scales to achieve common objectives; and
  • shows how state clean water programs can leverage the high value that consumers place on public health protection and safe drinking water to increase public support for addressing surface and ground water quality challenges more effectively.

A flyer that describes the Toolkit in a bit more detail is available here CWA SDWA Toolkit flyer 11-10-14.

A series of webinars is also in the planning stages that will delve into the Toolkit in detail and provide some case examples of how it can be used.  But, please don’t wait for those webinars.  The Toolkit is “good to go” and can be used now to support coordination and collaboration between safe drinking water and clean water managers. Click http://www.asdwa.org/document/docWindow.cfm?fuseaction=document.viewDocument&documentid=3007&documentFormatId=3779 to download the Toolkit.

Questions?  Contact Deirdre Mason at ASDWA dmason@asdwa.org.