Free Water Audit Software, Version 4.2 (2010), from AWWA

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is offering an updated version of its water audit software – at no cost.

This excel spreadsheet-based water audit tool is designed to help quantify and track water losses associated with water distribution systems and identify areas for improved efficiency and cost recovery.  It provides a “top down” summary water audit format, and is not meant to take the place of a full-scale, comprehensive water audit format.  Version 4.2 includes an important new data-grading capability that allows the auditor to rate the overall degree of validity of their water audit data.  Guidance on loss control planning is given based upon the credibility of the data and the measure of losses displayed by the water audit.  For more information on the software and to download a copy of the tool, please go to:  http://www.awwa.org/Resources/Waterwiser.cfm?navItemNumber=1561

 

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Asset Management 101 Webinar

EPA is planning a webinar titled Asset Management 101 for Water and Wastewater Systems.  The event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 from 1:30-3:30pm (eastern).

Please click on this  link Asset Mgmt 101 for Systems Flyer_4-13-11 to view a flyer with more information about the webinar.  Although there is no charge to participate, you must register in advance for this event.

 

RDUS Loan Rates

The National Environmental Services Center has just published the information below about new interest rates for Rural Development-Rural Utilities Service water and wastewater loans.

“Interest rates for Rural Development Utilities Service (RDUS) water and wastewater loans—issued at three different levels: the poverty line rate, the intermediate rate, and the market rate— have been announced.  The rate applied to a particular project depends on community income and the type of project being funded.

To qualify for the poverty line rate, two criteria must be met.  First, the loan must primarily be used for facilities required to meet health and sanitary standards.  Second, the median household income of the area being served must be below 80 percent of the state’s non-metropolitan median income or fall below the federal poverty level. For 2011, the federal poverty level is $22,350 for a family of four.

To qualify for the intermediate rate, the service area’s median household income cannot exceed 100 percent of the state’s non-metropolitan median income.

The market rate is applied to projects that don’t qualify for either the poverty or intermediate rates. The market rate is based on the average of the Bond Buyer index.

The rates, which apply to all loans approved on or after May 23, 2011, are:

● Poverty line:  2.875 percent

● Intermediate: 3.75 percent; and

● Market: 4.75 percent.

Rates approved before May 23, 2011, are:

●Poverty line: 4.50 percent;

● Intermediate: 4.625 percent; and

● Market: 4.75 percent.

RDUS loans are administered through state Rural Development offices, which can provide specific information concerning RDUS loan requirements and applications procedures.  For the phone number of your state Rural Development office, contact the National Environmental Services Center at(800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191.  The list is also available on the Rural Development Web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.”

 

 

RCAP Posts GWR Article Series

The RCAP website http://www.rcap.org has links to a series of  articles on the Ground Water Rule (GWR) written by EPA  and published in recent issues of their Rural Matters magazine.  State Capacity Development Coordinators may be interested in sharing these articles with their small ground water systems as an “assist” in enhancing GWR implementation and compliance.  As RCAP clearly states, these articles are not regulations and water systems should check with their primacy agency for specific state-related requirements.

Download all five articles in one package (1.47 MB)

Article 1: Introduction to the rule: Some of the key elements of the rule were introduced. Find this article in Rural Matters 2010 issue 3, page 18 or view the online version

Article 2: Triggered and additional source water monitoring: Find this article in Rural Matters 2010 issue 4, page 18 or view the online version

Article 3: Compliance monitoring and assessment source water monitoring: Find this article in Rural Matters 2010 issue 5, page 18 or  view the online version

Article 4: Sanitary surveys and corrective action: Find this article in Rural Matters 2010-2011 issue 6, page 16 or view the online version

Article 5: Ground Water Rule Public Notification and Consumer Confidence Report requirements for community and non-community water systems: Find this article in Rural Matters 2011 issue 6, page 18 or view the online version

 

March 22 is World Water Day

The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.  This site http://www.worldwaterday.org/ started in 2001 as a community space and repository where people can upload their WWD event activities and reports.  Logos, banners, buttons and other campaign materials for World Water Day 2011 are now downloadable from the official UN-Water World Day web site.  The site also includes links to other water-related resources and information about the kick-off planned, this year, for Cape Town, South Africa.

 

ABC Needs Input for Development of Certification Program Best Practices Document

The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC), an international organization representing environmental certification authorities, is collaborating with certification programs over the next two years for the development of a document that will serve as a resource for state regulatory agencies.

ABC, a non-profit organization, is announcing its continued efforts in the development of ABC’s Best Practices, a tool for U.S. certification programs.  “Feedback from ABC program members has shown state certification programs could benefit from a document showcasing the best practices among individual programs,” said Laurie Sharp, ABC’s Certification Council Director, who is leading the project.  Ms. Sharp shares that after conducting member surveys in 2010, the next phase of the development will include following up with programs to collect additional information.

Once developed, ABC is hopeful programs will take advantage of the document when conducting external reviews as required under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  “Our efforts will continue for the next several years and include facilitated stakeholder meetings in each EPA region crucial for the development of a document accurately reflecting what’s happening in U.S. certification programs,” said Sharp.

She also adds a request for participation from all U.S. certification programs over the next year.  “We want to develop a useful tool for certification programs, and in order to do that, we’ll be asking those that administer certification for feedback. I can’t stress enough how valuable their input is.”

For more information about this project, please contact Jodi Jurgemeyer, Director of Communications & External Relations at ABC.  Her email is jjurgemeyer@abccert.org and her phone is 515.232.3623.

[Editor’s Note:  Laurie Sharp is the Iowa Drinking Water Program Operator Certification Coordinator]

 

Energy Audits at Small and Medium Water Systems

Energy audits were recently completed at several Tribal water systems by EPA Region VII, with contract assistance.  While the specific findings of the audits were unique to these particular water systems, the overall approach and logic for conducting these audits is broadly applicable to small and medium systems.  A fact sheet and two reports on these efforts can be downloaded at:  http://www.asdwa.org/energyaudit

 

NESC Has Free Public Service Announcements

The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) is offering three video public service announcements (PSAs) about the importance of septic system maintenance for community water quality.  The PSAs reflect NESC’s ongoing commitment to effective wastewater treatment and source water protection, and are available for communities and watershed groups to use for free.

Presented in a humorous light, each video drives home the message that homeowners are responsible for safe guarding our drinking water through proper septic tank operation and maintenance.

One group who has used the PSAs successfully is the Michigan Septic Tank Association (MSTA). “During 2009, our association purchased television airtime that blanketed Michigan with the three NESC public service announcements, modified to add our association’s logo and web address at the end,” says Mark N. Scott, Chair of MSTA’s Continuing Education Committee.

“The spring 2009 public service campaign was a success, so our Board approved $8,000 for a similar campaign in the spring of 2010,” Scott continues, “and we plan to do it again this year.”

NESC encourages communities to use these brief PSAs as part of a public awareness campaign to protect source water. View and download the videos by going to:www.nesc.wvu.edu/subpages/psa.cfm

 

 

Department of Labor Offers Workforce-Related Grant Opportunities

The US Department of Labor has a number of grant programs that can be useful for organizations such as TA providers, community colleges, or university based programs with an interest in workforce issues.  Please read below for program information and links.

Green Jobs Innovation Fund

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the Green Jobs Innovation Fund competition to support opportunities for workers to receive job training in green industry sectors and occupations.  Through this competition, the department will award approximately $40 million to support five to eight grantees with awards ranging from $5 million to $8 million each.  Eligible applicants will include national and statewide organizations with local affiliates that have existing career training programs and will benefit a minimum of six communities per grant.

These funds will enable training providers to develop programs that incorporate green career pathways by forging linkages between Registered Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, and/or integrating the delivery of technical and basic skills training through community-based partnerships.  The grants are tied to the Labor Department’s vision of increasing the number of individuals completing training programs with industry-recognized credentials and increasing the number of individuals completing training programs for employment in green jobs.

Grant information is posted at http://www.doleta.gov/grants.

Career Pathways Innovation Fund Grant Program

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a solicitation for grant applications for the national Career Pathways Innovation Fund Grant Program.  Over the next year, the department will award approximately $122 million through this program, including $65 million for health care-focused projects, and intends to fund 40 to 50 grants ranging from $1 million to $5 million each.  These grants – which are replacing the former Community-Based Job Training grants – will focus on career pathway programs that help individuals of varying skill levels enter and pursue rewarding careers in emerging industries and in-demand occupations.

Programs funded through these grants will have multiple entry and exit points, and many will include links to services such as basic adult education and English for speakers of other languages classes that make them accessible to individuals who are not yet prepared to enroll in college courses. The grants, which will be made to community colleges and other organizations, support President Obama’s broader agenda of helping every American gain at least one year of postsecondary education, and will help reach his goal of America having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

The Career Pathways Innovation Fund grants will emphasize career pathway programs implemented by community colleges in partnership with employers, local workforce investment boards, and community and faith-based organizations.  In order to further the goals of career training and education, and encourage innovation in the development of new learning materials leading to industry-recognized credentials, grantees will be required to license to the public (not including the federal government) all work created with the support of their grants.

The Labor Department posts grant information at http://www.doleta.gov/grants.

Serving Juvenile Offenders in High-Poverty, High-Crime Communities

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of approximately $17 million in funds for two grants to support the employment prospects of young offenders, ages 16 to 24, in high-poverty, high-crime communities.  The grants will be awarded through a competitive process open to national and regional intermediaries with experience in conducting multi-site projects and serving young adult offenders. The Labor Department expects to award two grants of $8.5 million each.  Grantees will be required to competitively select local sub-grantees to operate the programs in a minimum of five high-poverty, high-crime communities across at least two states.

To view the full solicitation online, visit http://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm.  For information on the range of Department of Labor employment and training programs, visit http://www.doleta.gov.