EPA to Host Moving Toward Sustainability Webinar

Earlier this year, EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) released a report titled Moving Toward Sustainability:  Sustainable and Effective Practices for Creating Your Water Utility Roadmap.  Based in the principles of Effective Utility Management (EUM), this document outlines a path for water and wastewater utilities to take in an effort to both enhance their business practices and maintain compliance with all appropriate regulatory requirements.

On October 30, EPA is hosting the first in a series of webinars to explain this approach and highlight utility-based success stories.

DATE:  October 30, 2014

TIME:   12:30-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/608935640

This event will cover:

 Overview of Moving Toward Sustainability: Sustainable and Effective Practices for Creating Your Water Utility Roadmap:  Jim Horne, U.S. EPA

 Community Sustainability:  Sue Hann, City Manager – Palm Bay Florida  and Andy Kricun, Camden County Municipal Utility Authority

Future webinars are scheduled for March, May, and June 2015.  They will cover topics such as financial sustainability, utility business planning, water resource adequacy, performance management & continual improvement, employee & leadership development, and operational resiliency.  You may download the Moving Toward Sustainability document and learn more about Effective Utility Management at http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/sustainable_systems.cfm

EPA Creates New “Email Box” for American Iron & Steel Questions

In working with the new “Buy American” requirements for DWSRF loans, questions often arise about what’s covered and what is not.  To help those working with DWSRF applicants, EPA has set up a new American Iron and Steel email box SRF_AIS@epa.gov for general inquiries, concerns, questions and comments about products, projects, and availability.

Questions or comments about DWSRF waiver requests are handled separately.  Waiver-related questions or comments (not including confidential business information) should be sent to a separate mailbox dwsrfwaiver@epa.gov.

More information about the American Iron & Steel requirements, information on general guidance, waivers approved and denied, and other materials are posted at http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/aisrequirement.cfm.

August 27 EFC Asset Management Webinar

The Environmental Finance Center Network is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, August 27th from 3:00 – 5:00pm (eastern).  The webinar is entitled “Ask the Expert: A Unique Opportunity to Ask Your Asset Management Questions or Seek Advice on How to Begin.”  If you have been to an asset management training or have considered or even started asset management activities, you probably have generated many questions about the process. For example, “Where is a good place to start?” or “What options do I have for mapping my system?” or “How do I number my assets?” You may have specific questions regarding something you’ve tried and had difficulty with.

This webinar will provide you with a unique opportunity to ask any and all questions regarding asset management or implementing asset management.  An asset management practitioner, Ross Waugh, with extensive experience implementing the process in New Zealand will answer questions. Heather Himmelberger, director of the Southwest Environmental Finance Center, will join in answering questions.   

This will be a great chance to hear information regarding what has worked elsewhere in the world and to learn from those experiences. If you don’t have any questions of your own, you can still greatly benefit from listening in to the questions of others.  

For questions, please contact Khris Dodson at kdodson@syracusecoe.org.

To register, visit the web site HERE.

EPA Publishes Latest Small System Accomplishments Report

At the direction of the Obama Administration, for the past several years, EPA has identified a number of Agency Priority Goals (APG) as a strategic way of enhancing performance.  For FY 2012-13, EPA identified small systems as one of five APGs and earlier this month, the Agency released the FY 2012-2013 Small Systems Agency Priority Goal Accomplishments Report.  As it says in the introduction, “APGs target areas where agency leaders want to achieve near-term performance acceleration through focused senior leadership attention.”

The Small System APG identifies progress in enhanced water system management under the capacity development umbrella through activities in these specific areas:  asset management, managerial capacity, drinking water program collaboration, energy efficiency, noncommunity water systems, water system partnerships, and water sector workforce.  Optimization was a separate but related area of focus for this APG.  For this two-year reporting period, EPA worked with 20 states to improve small system capabilities.

The Report is available through clicking this link FY2012-2013 Small Systems APG Accomplishments Report

Please note that EPA has determined to continue a small system focus for the next two-year APG period  (FY 2014-15) and will be working with 10 additional states “…to improve small drinking water system capability to provide safe drinking water, an invaluable resource.”  To learn more about this APG, please visit http://www.performance.gov/

NRWA’s “Water University On-line” Hosts Webinar on Water-Energy Assessments

Energy Assessments and Audits: The First Step to Saving Energy and Money is the title of tomorrow’s no cost webinar sponsored by NRWA’s Water University On-line.

DATE:  July 31, 2014

TIME:   3:00-4:00 (eastern)

REGISTER: Click Register NOW

Reducing energy consumption and costs is one of the most important actions systems of all sizes can undertake. Energy costs often comprise 30-40% of a system’s total operating costs and there are a number of common-sense, low cost actions systems can take to become more energy efficient.

Perhaps the two most important steps systems can take include doing an energy assessment to determine how much energy the system is using across various processes, and following this up with an energy audit to identify specific actions that can be taken to reduce energy consumption.

EPA, working with small and medium sized utilities across the country, has used or developed a number of tools to help systems assess their energy consumption and undertake energy audits. EPA experts will summarize these tools for webinar participants, describe how they work, and identify the kinds of benefits systems can expect to see as they use them.

EPA’s SmartGrowth Program to Host Flood Resilience Webinar

WEBINAR EVENT:  Flood Resilience and Recovery Assistance:  Lessons Learned from Vermont

DATE:  August 13, 2014

TIME:   1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTRATION:  Click https://epa.connectsolutions.com/epasmartgrowth at the time of the event.  No pre-registration required but you must log in as a “Guest.”  Audio is through computer speakers only – no dial in available.

The state of Vermont experienced major damage to roads, houses, and businesses due to flood impacts from Tropical Storm Irene in fall 2011. Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development, along with the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Transportation, and the Mad River Valley Planning District, requested assistance from EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to recover from flood impacts and plan for long-term resilience to future disasters. Through EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program, EPA and FEMA worked with state agencies and communities in Vermont to identify smart growth strategies that can help vulnerable communities prepare for and recover from floods. The project resulted in the report, Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities, and a Flood Resilience Checklist, available at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia_communities.htm#rec1.

This webinar will discuss the project, highlighting Smart Growth approaches and strategies communities can consider to become more flood resilient and what the state of Vermont and communities in the Mad River Valley have done since Irene to help enhance flood resilience by building back better than before.

Who Should Attend
Planners; community leaders; state, local, and federal government staff; academics; researchers; and others interested in helping communities prepare for and recover from floods.

Continuing Education
This webinar qualifies for 1.5 certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

Please use http://admin.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm to test your computer before attending the event.

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.