EPA Transmits Award Funds to EFC Network

Earlier this week, EPA formally transmitted the $2 million in competitive award funds to the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) Network, the final recipient for the FY 13 awards.  The EFCs at the University of North Carolina and University of New Mexico are co-managing the effort through which all of the EFCs will work collaboratively with state primacy agencies to identify appropriate training and technical assistance for small systems in the areas of financial and managerial capacity.

More specifically, beyond traditional asset management training, the EFCs are also hoping to focus on additional topics such as rate-setting, fiscal planning, energy management, water loss reduction, regional collaboration/coordination/partnerships, access to funding sources, leadership, and strategies to enhance regulatory compliance through sustainable financing and management.  The EFCs are partnering with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) for some of these trainings.  The goal is to take advantage of AWWA’s regulatory and electronic expertise to enhance attendance at training and technical assistance events and to make free eLearning modules available.  The EFCs also expect to offer training through a mix of in-person workshops, smaller group work sessions, “funder forums,” webinars, in-depth, onsite technical assistance, assistance via phone and email consultation, and online rate benchmarking dashboards.

While the preliminary outreach to state primacy agencies is likely to be through one of the UNC or UNM co-managers, the actual training and assistance is more likely to come from one or more of the EFCs that specialize in a particular training focus area.  This means that your state’s actual training could come from one of these universities as well as the co-managers:  Southern Maine, Syracuse, Maryland, Louisville (KY), Cleveland State, Wichita State (KS), and Dominican (CA).  Again, depending on the type of training you and the EFCs arrange, your training could also come from AWWA.

The Private Well Class Offers Two New Webinars

The team behind PrivateWellClass.org is excited to announce two new webinar dates: July 15 and August 19, 2014. The Private Well Class offers free online training for homeowners with water wells and is designed to help a homeowner better understand how to properly care for the well to ensure that their water remains safe to drink.

TOPIC:   Well Sampling & Results

DATE:  July 15, 2014

TIME:   2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click Here Register | Submit a Question

 

TOPIC: Protecting Well Water from Contamination

DATE:  August 19, 2014

TIME:  9:30AM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click Here Register | Submit a Question

These will be Q&A-style webinars.  Interested participants can submit a question in advance as well as ask it “live” during the event.  Attending a webinar is the best way to have a specific private well question answered by our team of experts. Recordings will be made available, so please submit a question even if you cannot attend live.

States are encouraged to share these webinar opportunities with private well owners and others with an interest in private well issues.

For more information about these events, free online training, videos, and helpful suggestions on maintaining private wells, please visit: http://www.privatewellclass.org/Webinars/tabid/125/Default.aspx

 

EPA Posts Updated Water Supply Guidance (WSG) Manual

EPA has just completed a comprehensive round of updates to the Water Supply Guidance (WSG) Manual.  The WSG is a compendium of drinking water policies and regulations – beginning with alternative treatment technologies and working through to variances and exemptions.  Last updated in 2000, this new version contains a number of changes:  the new version is “508 compliant” to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements; previously “lost” on not included materials have been added that clarify and support earlier policies; and memos and documents that are no longer relevant have been removed.  In addition, this version organizes the memos by Subject or WSG Number and renumbers them from the 2000 version.  However, to help with this transition, there is a table on the WSG Manual webpage that includes a cross reference from the old to the new WSG Numbers.  Finally, as future memos or guidances are released, they will be periodically posted directly to the website.

Please click this link http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/guidance/sdwa/wsg.cfm  to reference the manual.

Natural Disasters and Private Wells – What to Do Next

Editor’s Note:  The edited information below was taken from the Summer 2014 edition of WellCare News, a publication of the Water Systems Council.  The article describes common sense “what to do” options for private well owners after a natural disaster – hurricane, flood, tornado etc. – may have compromised their well.  For the complete article, please visit http://www.watersystemscouncil.org/enews.php

Natural disasters and emergencies such as flood, fire, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wind storms affect thousands each year. If you are a private well owner, and a natural disaster has occurred on or near your property, there are some things you need to know about your drinking water supply.

Concerns and Advisories

If in doubt about your water supply, follow local or state health department drinking and bathing advisories.

Remember that there is danger of electrical shock from any electrical device that has been flooded; consult a certified electrician. Rubber boots and gloves are not adequate protection from electrical shock.

Septic systems should not be used immediately after floods. Drain fields will not work until underground water has receded. Septic lines may have been broken during flooding or other storms. Contact a local plumber or septic service immediately.

For information on long-term water quality conditions in the area or information on home water treatment devices contact your local or state health department or drinking water primacy agency, the wellcare® Hotline at 888-395-1033, or the Water Quality Association (WQA) at 630-505-0160 for assistance.

Conditions at the Well

Moving flood water or high winds can carry large debris that could loosen well hardware, dislodge well construction materials or distort casing. Coarse sediment in flood waters could erode pump components. If the well is not tightly capped, sediment, debris, and flood water could enter the well and contaminate it. Wells that are more than ten years old or less than 50 feet deep are likely to be contaminated, even if there is no apparent damage. Floods or heavy debris may cause some wells to collapse.

Electrical System and Pump Operation

After flood waters have receded and the pump and electrical system have dried, do not turn on the equipment until the wiring system has been checked by a qualified electrician, well or pump contractor. If the pump’s control box was submerged or damaged during flood or other storms, all electrical components must be dry before electrical service can be restored. Get assistance in turning the pump on from a well or pump contractor.

All pumps and their electrical components can be damaged by sediment and flood water. The pump, including valves and gears, will need to be cleaned of silt and sand. If pumps are not cleaned and properly lubricated they can burn out. Get assistance from a well or pump contractor who will be able to clean, repair or maintain different types of pumps.

Treatment Options for Safe Drinking Water

In most emergency situations, obtaining bottled water is the most commonly promoted way to access safe drinking water. However, there are treatment methods you can use when the quality of water is compromised during an emergency and it is not possible to obtain bottled water. But before considering such an approach, contact the local health authorities to assure yourself that the emergency has not introduced any chemical contaminants of concern into your well system. If the water only needs to be disinfected to be potable, there are 4 main options to treat water to make it safe for consumption:

  • Boiling
  • Chlorination
  • Distillation
  • Water treatment devices certified for microbial reduction of bacteria, cysts, and viruses

Do not rely on water treatment filters or devices that are NOT certified for microbial reduction as they may not provide the protection necessary for emergency situations. Consult a water professional or manufacturer for more information. (Visit http://www.WQA.org to learn more about the different kinds of home water treatment systems that are available.)

For any of the disinfection options listed above, begin by preparing a clean storage container. You will need a little treated water to do these steps, so keep in mind this can be done simultaneously while disinfecting water. Use food-grade storage containers when possible, or re-use plastic 2-liter soda containers.

1.  Wash the container thoroughly with dish soap and clean water first, especially when reusing soda or other containers.

2.  Disinfect by mixing 1 teaspoon unscented chlorine bleach to ¼ gallon of water and pour it into the storage container.

3.  Agitate the liquid by swishing the mixture around inside the container to ensure that it hits every surface.

4.  Rinse thoroughly with disinfected water.

Emergency Disinfection of Your Well

After the power has been restored, you will need to disinfect your well. Clear hazards away from wells before disinfecting. It is best to have your well disinfected by a well professional. During an emergency, it may not be possible to contact a well professional. In this case, refer to our wellcare® information sheet on “Disinfecting Your Well” for complete instructions. It is important to note that disinfection will not remove pesticides, heavy metals, and other types of non-biological contamination.

Do not drink or cook with the water until a water test is performed and confirms there are no harmful contaminants in your water.

Testing Your Well Water

You should have your well water tested after disinfecting your well to confirm bacteria is gone and other contaminants are not present. For more information on testing your water, refer to our wellcare® information sheet on “Well Water Testing.”

Contact your local or state health department or state primacy agency to have your water tested or to get a referral to a state certified laboratory that can perform water testing. If you need assistance, contact the wellcare® Hotline at 888-395-1033.

EPA Publishes Asset Management Tools Reference Guide

EPA’s Protection Branch has just announced publication and posting of The Asset Management Tools Reference Guide, developed through the State/EPA Asset Management Workgroup.   The Guide contains links for tools and strategies that support each component of an asset management program and also considers the connections between asset management and other sustainable practices such as those for water efficiency and climate change.

This Reference Guide is a great resource for state staff and technical assistance providers who are assisting small- and medium-sized systems in identifying resources and tools that can be used to implement specific asset management practices.  The Asset Management Reference Guide can be accessed at:

http://water.epa.gov/type/drink/pws/smallsystems/upload/AM_Tools_Guide_May_2014.pdf

 

Tap Talks on Tuesdays Kicks Off on June 3

The Protection Branch in EPA’s Drinking Water Protection Division is getting ready to kick off a five-session dialogue entitled Tap Talks on Tuesdays.  These will be bi-weekly presentation/discussion sessions beginning June 3 and will have speakers presenting on strategies for effectively communicating the importance of water delivery services to the public, various national and state value of water materials, and effective messaging.  The first discussion will feature presentations by Peter Grevatt, Director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, and Ben Grumbles with the US Water Alliance.  Please email Sonia Brubaker brubaker.sonia@epa.gov to be added to the stakeholder list.  The intended audience is EPA, states, utilities, utility associations and TA providers.

Here is a flyer Tap Talks Flyer_June and July 2014 that provides more details about Tap Talks on Tuesdays.  Take a look!

Register Now for the Next CUPSS Community Webinar!

DATE:  Tuesday, May 27

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5692200639959577857

The subject is online training.  Have questions?  Register today and learn the answers!

This CUPSS webinar will feature Michael Burrington of RCAP’s Michigan field staff, who will describe how he is developing a comprehensive online training curriculum for Michigan water and wastewater operators on CUPSS and asset management.  The curriculum features EPA’s online self-paced CUPSS training modules and includes test questions and reference materials.  Michael is hoping to receive CEC approval from the State so that operators will get certification credits.

Webinar participants will be able to ask questions of Michael during his presentation.  Sign up today!

 

Colorado Meets Measuring Success Head On

Colorado’s drinking water program has developed a new way to measure the success of its coaching workgroup. The coaching workgroup assists drinking water systems requesting technical, managerial, or financial assistance by pairing them with a staff person. In addition to using compliance, sanitary survey, and other data trends to show capacity development success, the drinking water program wanted to capture and measure the positive impact its coaching workgroup was having on the systems it provided assistance to.

After many discussions and some lively debate, the program decided on ten measures it would use to categorize and track individual improvements systems made as a result of receiving coaching assistance. The ten chosen measures align with the type of assistance a system may receive, can be easily counted, and are open-ended to capture more specific detail on exactly how a system improved. The program will use these results to showcase and report on improved system performance and enhanced public health protection efforts.

Colorado’s Coaching Workgroup Success Measures

As a result of this coaching visit the system has improved:

• Source water adequacy and protection by ________________.

• Treatment operations and maintenance by ______________.

• Residuals management by ______________.

• Storage tank operations and maintenance by ________________.

• Distribution system operations and maintenance by _________________.

• Water quality monitoring and sampling by _____________.

• Cross-connection control by __________________.

• Emergency preparedness and response by ________________.

• Financial viability by _____________.

• Managerial capacity by ______________.

For more information about the Colorado approach, please contact David Dani at david.dani@state.co.us.  He’d also like to hear about what your state is doing in this area…so get in touch!

Editor’s Note:  Stay tuned for more information from our Colorado colleagues as they work through the early stages of implementing this approach.

EPA Shares Tool Links from Recent Webinar

On May 6, EPA’s Water Security Division hosted a webinar to showcase and explain uses for several of its more popular tools.  The list below captures the links to the various tools for those who’d like to know more about the tools and their intended use.  Also, if you missed the web event, here’s the link to the recorded event https://epa.connectsolutions.com/p84sm4i6o48/.

Please take a look at these tools.  Several are especially useful for smaller systems – look at the CBWR and CRWU tools under Preparedness.  Check out the WARN link under Response and the FedFUNDS tool in the Recovery Tool section.  The other tools also have applications for smaller communities but these are a great place to begin!


Prevention Tools:

Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/vsat.cfm

Water Health & Economic Tool (WHEAT) 3.0

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/wheat.cfm

 

Preparedness Tools:

Community-Based Water Resiliency (CBWR)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/communities/index.cfm

Climate Resilient Evaluation & Awareness Tool (CREAT)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/index.cfm

Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/climate/index.cfm

Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water System: Emergency Preparedness, Response and Climate Resiliency (TTX Tool)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/ttx.cfm

How to Develop a Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/upload/epa816k11003.pdf

 

Response Tools:

Water/Wastewater Agency Response (WARN)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/mutualaid/index.cfm

Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/wla/index.cfm

Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT)

http://water.epa.gov/scitech/datait/databases/wcit/index.cfm

 

Recovery Tool:

Federal Funding for Utilities in National Disaster (Fed FUNDS)

http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/funding/fedfunds/index.cfm

USDA Marks Earth Day Celebrations with Record Funding for Water & Wastewater Projects

Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Visack announced that USDA will be providing financial support via loans or grants to 116 rural water and wastewater projects across the nation.  Under the provisions of the Farm Bill as well as other USDA sources, the Agency can offer nearly $387 million in funding – a combination of $164.6 million in grants and $222 million in loans.  The awards are generally divided equally between water and wastewater projects and will be made to projects in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

You can view the project list and award amounts on the USDA website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/rdEarthDay2014ProjectList.pdf