June 30, 2011
June 29, 2011
The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) has produced two new guidebooks that explain the technical aspects of drinking water and wastewater systems to non-technical audiences using everyday language.
RCAP’s A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems and A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Wastewater Systems were written for people who have a role or interest in their community’s water systems but not the technical knowledge or skills of a system operator. The guides are ideal for board members of utilities in small communities, elected leaders with oversight of a water system, or any decision-maker who is involved in a water system. Designed to be used separately or together as companion pieces, the guides can be used as an orientation to new leaders or as background for long-time leaders.
The premise of the guides is that informed leaders make better decisions. Most leaders of small-community water systems do not come to their positions, either as elected officials or as concerned residents, with the technical knowledge of a certified water operator. In addition, in most small-community water systems, leaders are at least one step removed from the tasks that their system’s operator carries out daily. Leaders are expected to oversee all of the activities that go on in a system, and these guides provide an overview of the technical aspects so that informed decisions can be made on the maintenance or development of the physical parts of a system.
“A key way that RCAP assists communities is helping leaders of water systems develop their skills at managing their utility,” said Robert Stewart, RCAP Executive Director. “Making wise, informed decisions with a view of the long-term is integral to sustainability, which is RCAP’s overall goal for communities.”
In addition to explaining the technical, biological or chemical processes that happen in treating drinking water or wastewater, the guides include many diagrams and photographs that show common parts of a water system. The key sections of the guides walk readers through the steps of producing drinking water from source to tap and of treating wastewater from a home through discharge.
Both guides were written on behalf of RCAP by the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at West Virginia University, a longtime partner of RCAP. NESC has more than 30 years of experience in providing environmental services and producing technical publications for small communities. The guidebooks are being funded as part of a $5 million grant of ARRA funds secured by RCAP and furnished by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development in 2010.
The main distribution of the guides is through the field staff of RCAP’s regional partners. However, communities can also obtain the guides as PDFs on the RCAP website at www.rcap.org/commpubs. Communities can view the guides, download and save a copy on their own computers, or print the guides themselves from that URL.
These two guides are among the first to be published of 11 print resources that RCAP is developing to aid small, rural communities. Each guide is being written and reviewed by field staff who are experts in the subject of the guide they are producing. All guides will be broad enough to apply to most communities across the country, regardless of their location and their state’s rules and regulations. The RCAP national office in Washington, D.C., is responsible for the final production of these resources, which will complement and support RCAP’s field work in providing in-person, customized assistance through its 150 Technical Assistance Providers. A list of the other nine guides that will be produced and a description of each is also at www.rcap.org/commpubs.
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June 29, 2011
ASDWA has learned that our RCAP partners are going “live!” They have decided to reach out via community radio to encourage interest in taking up water and wastewater operations as a profession. The kick off program will broadcast on Thursday, June 30 from 9-9:30AM (Mountain) on KGNU community radio. Read below for more information from Joy Barrett, the RCAP Director for Training and Technical Services…
“I’m excited to let you know that there will be a radio program dedicated to the issue of water and wastewater operations professions. We’ll cover background, including protection of public health and the environment, workforce shortages, opportunities, a typical day, how people get skills and credentials, and training and certification resources. Speakers will include Lori Moore of CDPHE, Joe Cowan of City of Boulder, and Laura Travis of RCAP.
The program will be broadcast live this coming Thursday, June 30, 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. MDT, on KGNU. You can catch us by tuning in to 88.5 fm, 1390 am, or www.kgnu.org. If you miss the program but want to hear it, go to the KGNU web site where you can find the program in the archives for at least a couple of weeks.”
Joy, in a separate message, invited all RCAP managers and trainers to listen in via the web and to consider hosting similar broadcasts on community media in their own areas. Joy also highlighted that “…one of the points we’ll be stressing is that water and wastewater professions are the ultimate green job!”
So, if you have time on Thursday morning, check out RCAP on the Radio – and consider whether this could be a viable outreach option for your state as well! Meanwhile, CONGRATS to the RCAP folks for thinking outside the box to share the positive message about the water and wastewater operator profession!
June 28, 2011
Our colleagues at SmallWaterSupply.org have alerted us about an upcoming (free) webinar (Wednesday, June 29) that will look at green infrastructure uses in two small communities. David Shelton (Professor in Biological Systems Engineering and Extension Agricultural Engineer; University of Nebraska) will speak about the City of Wayne, Nebraska’s work and Matt Durand (Storm Water Manager) will discuss the City of Owatonna, Minnesota’s green infrastructure implementation.
The speakers will address the following topics:
● Why should a small, rural community implement green infrastructure practices?
● How were your project(s) funded/implemented?
● Were there cost savings or other benefits?
● Were any of the projects required because of ordinances or have any ordinances been developed since implementing green infrastructure projects?
● What lessons were learned? What advice do you have for other communities?
This webinar is sponsored by the Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program through Kansas State University. Although there is no cost to participate in this webinar, you must register in advance at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/983505806. To learn more about the Environmental Assistance Program at KSU, go to http://www.sbeap.org/.
June 24, 2011
The Water We Drink: Small Community Outreach Campaign, which offers information about maintaining safe, sustainable, and secure water supplies in small and rural communities, has added two new articles to its website – Planning Ahead Improves Water and Wastewater Service and Roadmap to the Future: Capital Improvements Planning for Small Water Systems.
The website, located at www.nesc.wvu.edu/waterwedrink, is a joint effort by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the National Environmental Services Center (NESC), located at West Virginia University, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
These new articles complement earlier work on topics such as source water protection, setting water and sewer rates, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in our waters, impending labor shortages, water and energy, and aging infrastructure. The articles are written especially for those who oversee local water and wastewater services, and may be downloaded at no charge and used for educational purposes, such as reprinting in newsletters and magazines, training sessions, and websites. Two additional articles will be posted later this summer addressing financial accounting for small water systems and protecting drinking water sources from the impacts of natural gas hydraulic fracturing and other potentially detrimental activities.
According to RCAP’s Director of Training and Technical Services Joy Barrett, Ph.D., the unifying message in each of the articles is that local leadership is essential in protecting water resources and maintaining water and wastewater services, and that there are practical options for ensuring a system’s short- and long-term viability. The two planning articles just posted discuss strategies for developing long-term and capital improvement plans that can help a system improve its financial condition, operations, and sustainability.
June 15, 2011
Editor’s Note: Although this tool was designed under the water security umbrella, it can be very helpful for smaller communities to use. It asks basic questions about a water system’s preparedness – rooted in their technical, financial, and managerial capabilities – for an emergency. Please take a look and share with your water systems.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the Community-Based Water Resiliency electronic tool. The CBWR electronic
tool is an easy way to assess your current resiliency to water service interruptions and learn about tools and resources to enhance resiliency
in your community. This tool was developed in collaboration with stakeholders from the community and includes over 350 resources.
The CBWR electronic tool is available at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ow/SReg.nsf/description/CBWR_e-tool
Additional information on the Community-Based Water Resiliency Initiative can be found at
June 10, 2011
The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) will host its 25th Annual Conference, Excellence & Innovation: Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, Jan. 17-20, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. The conference will invite program members, industry stakeholders, EPA representatives and leaders in the field of environmental certification to join ABC in marking its 40th birthday, honor numerous industry advancements, and plan for the Association’s next 40 years.
ABC’s Annual Conference Committee announces its Call for Presentations for the conference technical program which serves as a format for collaboration and information exchange among certifiers. The deadline to submit a presentation application for consideration is July 1.
Please contact ABC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You may also click the following links to download a call for presentations application or learn more about ABCs 25th Annual Conference. ABC looks forward to welcoming you to Tampa!
June 9, 2011
The ASDWA CapCertConnections Discussion Forum is up and running!
If you are a state capacity development or operator certification coordinator, or if your are an EPA Regional coordinator for these programs, you have been invited to participate in this new communications tool to discuss issues of interest to states in their work with small drinking water systems.
In fact, the discussion topic described below was posted earlier this morning…please provide whatever input you may have available. If you cannot remember how to access the discussion forum (and your are a state or EPA staffer with responsibilities in either of these programs) just contact Anthony DeRosa email@example.com for assistance.
Workforce / Operator Certification Workgroup – Sharing Internship and Mentoring Program Information
A well-trained and knowledgeable workforce is essential to protecting public health by ensuring safe drinking water and wastewater management. Predicted losses to the water and wastewater workforce caused by baby boomer retirements raises concern over this essential workforce’s continued viability. In a 2005 report titled, Succession Planning for a Vital Workforce in the Information Age, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the Awwa Research Foundation projected that 37% of water utility workers and 32% of wastewater utility workers will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years. In addition, DOL estimates that the need for water and wastewater operators will increase by 20% from 2008-2018.
The Workforce/Operator Certification Workgroup (consisting of states, EPA and TA providers) was formed in part to address the challenge of maintaining a robust and knowledgeable workforce. As part of this effort, the Workgroup is promoting sharing information about internship and mentoring programs by developing fact sheets (ModelMaine) about different types of programs and sharing them across the country. As a first step, the group would like your help to identify the programs in your states.
1) Quick description about the program (3-4 sentences including: title, location, and additional details as available)
2) Program contact information (for follow-up questions as necessary)
Please Post Your Reply on the ASDWA CapCert Connections Forum
Additional Information and Definitions
This is our initial effort to gather information about these programs, so we do not want to limit the scope too much. If you feel that there is a program that we should know about, please don’t hesitate to include it.
Internship Program: a program that build skills towards gaining an operator license and includes hours of work experience for licensure.
Mentoring Program: a formal program that measurably enhances the skills of the existing workforce.
Internship and Mentoring programs take a variety of approaches:
- They may be state-led, or they may be industry-led (e.g., State or AWWA)
- Some programs focus on bringing new people into the program to become operators. (This may be a type of operator-in-training program)
- Some programs may be intensive training/mentoring for experienced operators
- Some programs are apprenticeships with the Department of Labor.
- Programs may be funded by the state or industry or other entity (e.g., Department of Labor)
EPA Hosts Water & Wastewater Infrastructure O&M and Management Training for Tribal Operators and Leaders
June 7, 2011
From June to October 2011, EPA will be sponsoring a series of in-person training workshops for federally recognized tribes and Alaskan Native Villages across the country to help increase participants’ skills and knowledge in the operation of wastewater and drinking water treatment systems. The training is intended for water system operators, wastewater system operators, tribal utility managers, tribal council members and leaders involved with water utility management.
While there is no registration fee for the workshops, there is a cap of 50 participants at each session, and tribes and Alaskan Native Villages that received 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds will be given registration priority. Travel, hotel, and per diem costs for attendees from tribal reservations may be covered by a participant’s local Indian Health Service (IHS) Area office. Participants can contact their local IHS office for additional details.
The first training workshop will be in Seattle, June 21-23, 2011. Registration is open until 24 hours prior to the workshop. Early registration is encouraged. For more information, including how to register, please go to: http://water.epa.gov/learn/training/tribaltraining/tcourse7_2011.cfm.
For questions about the training, please contact Leon Latino by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 202-564-1997; or Matthew Richardson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 202 564-2947.
June 1, 2011
As you read through the information below, it may sound familiar to some of you…and that’s because it is!
This is a reprint of an article that Steve Wilson wrote for SmallWaterSupply.org more than a year ago. So why is ASDWA publishing it again in CapCert Connections? Two reasons: 1) It’s a really good article that has lots of useful and timely (or should that be timeless?) information about how we consider the process of “restructuring” that is now called water system partnership, and 2) to remind you that CapCert Connections now has an RSS feed for SmallWaterSupply.org. This means that you can go to this useful site at any time to see what they have posted as the latest and greatest small system “good stuff.” So, keep reading!
6. Compendium of state authorities, regulations, etc from USEPA 61 pages