Value of Water Coalition Announces Imagine A Day Without Water

October 6-8, 2015 are the dates for the Value of Water Coalition’s Imagine a Day Without Water campaign.  Designed to raise awareness of and build public support for investment in water, this is an opportunity for every organization and individual that cares about water and the systems that bring it to and from homes and businesses to stand together for our most precious resource.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to create their own event or content to spread the message about the importance of investing in water infrastructure. Examples of what organizations can do to participate include: invite local leaders and the press to tour a water treatment facility, work with the local mayor or city council on a proclamation or resolution, create a social media campaign, write an op-ed, and more.

This link ImagineADayWithoutWater.org offers participating organizations a central location for accessing materials to assist in the planning and production of events. Site materials include:

  • 11 ideas for how to participate
  • Messaging Guide
  • Tips for planning a press event
  • Op-Ed Template
  • A toolkit for ads, with horizontal and vertical print ads, billboards and more.

This same link also includes more background on the campaign, its partners, and provides a way to sign up to become part of the campaign.  Need more information on hosting an event?  Please contact Abigail Gardner at agardner@thevalueofwater.org.

How to Hire an Expert

Bill Hogrewe, Director of Engineering Services at National RCAP, has written an article that could be very helpful for communities looking for assistance or support from a third party engineer or consultant.  As Holgrewe notes, “Occasionally water and wastewater projects require unique professional skills that you can only find outside your organization.  This article will cover the procedure, including the selection process, to find and hire an outside engineer or other consultant who will best solve your problems.”  He goes on to highlight a straightforward six step process designed to help community or water system decisionmakers become more successful in hiring from the “outside.”  To read more, click http://www.icontact-archive.com/uY4CWN-9Ks1ymtQfKNez7PX_ZOfv2-fw?w=4

 

ASDWA & EPA Cohost the Next Joint National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop

It’s been two years since state and EPA staff from the Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs joined with their training and assistance providers to meet in Atlanta to share success stories and discuss issues of mutual concern.

Now, it’s time to do it again!  Please join ASDWA and EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team in Dallas, Texas for the 2015 Joint National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop.  Workshop dates are December 8-10, 2015.  We will be meeting and staying at the Marriott City Center Hotel with a special group rate of $125/night (Federal per diem rate).

This year’s workshop theme is Roadmap to the Future: Building Sustainability and Integrating Resiliency.  Sessions of the workshop will include how Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs and staff work together, methods for building resiliency into sustainability, and best practices for partnerships and collaboration between the two programs and their partners.  The workshop will provide the opportunity for participants to share success stories and brainstorm new ideas on improving program functions.  There is no cost to participate; however, you must register in advance.

SPECIAL NOTE:  All are invited to attend, but please note that the first morning (8:30-Noon on December 8) is reserved for discussions between state and EPA partners only.  Everyone is welcome to participate in all other portions of the Workshop.

Want to know more?  Click http://www.asdwa.org/index.cfm?useaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=819.   We have posted the latest agenda, an online registration form, a link to the hotel where the meeting will take place, a list of fun things to do in Dallas, and a list of helpful background and resource materials provided by our EPA Sustainable Systems Team that can quickly bring you up to date or serve as a refresher for the fundamentals of both of these programs.

We think Dallas is a not to be missed meeting!  Click the link above, read through the materials, check the agenda, and we believe you will agree with us.

Questions about the agenda?  Contact Susanna Bains (EPA SST) at bains.susanna@epa.gov.

Questions about registration?  Contact Bridget O’Grady (ASDWA) at bogrady@asdwa.org.

 

UV Disinfection Systems – Treatment of Ground Water for Small/Medium-Sized Water Utilities

Our colleagues at EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) have announced that registration is now open for the latest webinar in their ongoing series of topics related to small systems.

DATE:              Tuesday, September 29

TIME:               2:00-3:00PM (eastern) with optional Q&A until 3:30PM

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7950813040781959937

Recent research, technology advancements, and new drinking water regulations have brought significant attention to UV disinfection as an option for microbial treatment for small- and medium-sized public water systems (PWSs). UV disinfection is an effective treatment for the inactivation of Cryptosporidium in treatment of surface water supplies.  However, the majority of PWSs serve ground water and the majority of ground water systems serve less than 3,300 people. UV disinfection can provide effective virus treatment and appropriately sized UV disinfection systems for small water systems have become more available.

This webinar will discuss EPA’s evaluation, in partnership with state and industry collaborators, of new approaches for validating UV reactors to meet ground water and surface water pathogen inactivation, including viruses for low-pressure and medium-pressure UV systems.

For more information, click this link to view the webinar flyer: ORD_OW_SmallSystemsWebinar_September

Dealing with Droughts and Wildfires

Our colleagues in EPA’s Water Security Division have prepared two useful Incident Action Checklists to help water utilities prepare for, respond to, and recover from droughts and/or wildfires.  These checklists can be especially helpful for smaller water systems that may not have considered all of the available planning tools and possible impacts to their community from drought or wildfire scenarios.  In addition to action checklists, these documents also include numerous resource links to help utilities be better prepared – or if the worst should happen – know who to call and where to go for support and assistance.  Click the links below to see the checklists:

 

Virginia Explores Debt Refinancing Options for Small Communities

 

The Virginia’s Department of Health’s Drinking Water Program sections on capacity development, sustainability, and the DWSRF have been investigating cost saving options for smaller communities through debt refinancing.  As reported in the Spring 2015 edition of STREAMLINE, the Virginia Rural Water Association’s magazine, in today’s economic climate, refinancing old municipal debt may provide the means for significant cost savings for many smaller communities.  For many of these communities, debt service represents a significant portion of their operating budget.  As an example, the article cites the efforts of the Russell County Public Service Authority.  Located in the southwestern part of the state, the county-wide population is around 28,000.  In 2014, the PSA refinanced $3.64 million in capital improvements debt through the state’s DWSRF program.  The result has been an annual savings of $64,470 – an amount equivalent to 5.8 percent of the annual drinking water operations budget.  While such an approach cannot work for every small community, it is an option that should be considered when looking for ways to lower expenses.

ASDWA suggests that state capacity development coordinators take a look at the complete VRWA STREAMLINE article to learn more about how this option is being implemented in Virginia.  You can download the article at http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/VRWQ/VRWQ0215/index.php#/28.

EPA Hosts Webinar on New Training/Assistance Grants

On August 19, EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team hosted a webinar for state drinking water program staff to showcase the proposed work for the latest round of training and technical assistance awards as directed by Congress.

Congratulations to the awardees – National Rural Water Association, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, and the Environmental Finance Center Network (managed through the University of North Carolina) – for successfully competing for these grants!  For this round, there are four award categories, each with a specific funding level:

Training/TA for technical capacity ($8 M total):

  • National Rural Water Association (NRWA) $4 M
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) $4 M

Training/TA for managerial/financial capacity ($1.8 M):

  • University of North Carolina (UNC) Environmental Finance Center (in cooperation with all of the Environmental Finance Centers)

Assistance for Private Well Owners ($1.7M)

  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP)

Training/TA for small/decentralized wastewater systems ($1.2 M):

  • National Rural Water Association (NRWA)

During the webinar, each organization spoke about their approach to supporting the needs of small systems; their strategy for collaborating with state drinking water programs; and some of their new training and assistance initiatives.  In the interest of time and because the audience for this event was state drinking water programs, efforts under the small/decentralized wastewater system grant award were not discussed.

EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team also unveiled a Fact Sheet that identifies the key players, their roles, and expectations of performance as outlined in the agreed to workplan.  The Fact Sheet also lists the four project officers for each award category and EPA recommends that questions, kudos, comments, or concerns be shared with them so that this award implementation process can continue to improve.

A copy of the consolidated powerpoint presentation and the Fact Sheet are available here Consolidated Slides FY14 Webinar Handout and here FY14 Training and Technical Assistance Grants Factsheet

NRWA’s Water U Online Offers Free CREAT Webinar

As part of its online curriculum, NRWA’s Water University Online is offering a one hour webinar on EPA’s climate self-assessment tool, Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT).

DATE:              August 27, 2015

TIME:               3:00-4:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here https://nrwa.webex.com/mw0401lsp13/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=nrwa

CREAT is a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities.  CREAT allows users to evaluate potential impacts of climate change on their utility and to evaluate adaptation options to address these impacts using both traditional risk assessment and scenario-based decision making.

Presenters for this training are Stephen Fries and Elise Tao of CSC, EPA’s support contractor on climate issues.

New EFCN Webinars – Utility Partnerships; Energy Improvements

Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) continue to host a series of no cost small system-focused webinars that should be helpful to state staff engaged in small system support.  Below is information on the latest two in the EFCN series.

WEBINAR 1

Identifying and Overcoming Challenges to Successful Water Utility Partnerships

This webinar will explore the challenges water systems, particularly small water systems, face when entering into agreements and partnerships with other water systems. A variety of partnership models will be discussed and example case study scenarios will be provided, but the primary focus will be on agreements to sell and buy water under different conditions.

DATE:              September 11, 2015

TIME:               1:30-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click Register

The webinar will also examine agreement challenges and strategies that take into consideration local water supply objectives – is the agreement being used to provide a permanent water supply; a time limited water supply that allows for postponement of new facilities; a periodic water supply during times of drought or peak demand; or an emergency water supply times during times of crisis. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss entering into different types of agreements under different circumstances. Jeff Hughes, Director, EFC at UNC Chapel Hill, will be the presenter

WEBINAR 2

 Find Money in the Water System Budget: Paying for Energy Improvements

This webinar will focus on energy savings performance contracting (ESPC). In ESPC, an energy services company (ESCO), a financing firm, a measurement & verification (M&V) firm, and a customer (the water system) come together to design, finance, and build energy improvements at the water system.

DATE:              September 16, 2015

TIME:               2:00 – 3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click this link Register

For many water systems, the electric (or energy) bill is one of the largest operating expenses regularly incurred by the water system. It is also one of the most controllable operating expenses a water system will have. However, even after energy assessments have been completed, energy usage baselines have been constructed, and project ideas have been drawn up and prioritized, water system managers may lack ideas for how to pay for it.  Glenn Barnes, Director and David Tucker, Project Director – EFC at UNC Chapel Hill are the presenters for this event.

If you have questions about either of these events, please contact:

Laura Flagg (for registration questions) at lnflagg@syr.edu

Lexi Kay Herndon (for program questions) at akay@sog.unc.edu

RCAP Shares More Distance Assistance Videos

As promised a couple weeks ago, our RCAP partners are sharing two more new RCAP videos on drinking water operations best practices for maintaining compliance and protecting public health.

These videos will be particularly helpful for operators of systems facing challenges with distribution system water quality, including coliform sampling. They can be used in classroom trainings as valuable “breaks” from powerpoint presentations and other training activities and the techniques demonstrated are useful skill-building visuals of daily activities.

Coliform Sampling Best Practices-https://vimeo.com/136001193

Coliform sampling is an important part of monitoring the water quality in all drinking water systems. Collecting coliform samples correctly is absolutely critical in protecting public health. Improper sampling is the most common reason for false positive results. Positive results, even false positives, require repeat sampling, which result in extra effort, time, and money. This video covers 13 steps for proper coliform sampling and discusses how to find a good sampling site.

Valve Maintenance-https://vimeo.com/135987523

This video covers the basics of valve exercising.  Exercising valves is important to:

  • Verify that valves can be found and are accurately mapped.
  • Ensure that valves operate as designed and to extend their life.
  • Check that valves are in the correct (on/off) position.
  • Have reliability that valves will operate in emergencies, such as a water main break. This will reduce water losses, minimize damage, and be the least disruptive to customers.
  • Lessen employee overtime in dealing with emergency repairs and build more confidence in your system.

Thanks to our RCAP colleagues for sharing these videos.  They were able to develop, produce, and share these materials through funds awarded to them by EPA as part of the technical assistance and training competitive award process.  You are encouraged to share them with your water systems.