BEST PRACTICES WEBINAR: Introducing ABC’s Model Certification Program Standards

The water sector has invested significant resources into protecting public health systems and the environment through the development of water and wastewater technologies and infrastructure.  Certification is a key component for success in these endeavors.

On December 11, the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) will showcase a new resource to enhance collaboration and benchmarking among these programs.  This new product, ABC’s Model Standards for Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Programs, is designed to provide greater assurances of public health and environmental protection as well as a path for continual improvement.  The web event will also describe new standards adopted by ABC’s Certification Commission of Environmental Professionals (C2EP) and how these Standards can serve your program.

DATE:  Tuesday, December 11

TIME:  1:30-2:30PM eastern




Using EPA’s Energy Use Assessment Tool for Water and Wastewater Systems

Interest in energy use assessments continues to grow.  To answer this interest, on December 6, EPA is repeating a web event originally held last May.  This webinar describes the components of an Energy Use Assessment Tool and discusses the necessary steps in performing an energy use assessment.

The Energy Use Assessment Tool can help small- to medium-sized systems conduct a utility bill and equipment analysis to determine their individual baseline energy use and costs. This information can help systems make informed energy efficiency and energy conservation decisions.  There are now two versions of the tool: one that is compatible with Windows 2003 and 2007 and another that is compatible with Windows 2010.

DATE:  Thursday, December 6, 2012

TIME:  1:00-3:00pm eastern



Free Online Program Educates Homeowners with Water Wells

Homeowners in small communities and rural areas without a public water supply often don’t fully understand how to manage, operate, and protect their private well.

The Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois are pleased to announce a new nationwide training initiative funded by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [Ed. Note:  This is part of the competitive grant award for small and rural water systems technical assistance announced by EPA in August.]

The Private Well Class is a free, step-by-step education program to help well owners understand groundwater basics, well care best practices, and how to find assistance. It will also teach well owners how to sample their well, how to interpret sample results, and what they can do to protect their well and source water from contamination. The program combines a 10-part online class with live, interactive webinar events in which the material will be reinforced and questions answered. Steve Wilson, a groundwater hydrologist with the Illinois State Water Survey with over 20 years of experience working with private well owners, will serve as the primary instructor for The Private Well Class.

The Private Well Class seeks partners in various sectors to extend the reach of this initiative and connect with private well owners. State agencies, local governments, and industry professionals alike are invited to become a partner and assist with promoting this free service. We especially invite partners to host webinar viewing events that facilitate questions and answers about local groundwater issues.  This flyer can be distributed in areas where private wells prevail or shared with others with an interest in private well initiatives.

Please visit The Private Well Class website at  or contact for more information.

NEW DATE: Recruiting and Training Vets for Careers in the Water Sector

EPA has just announced the new date and time for its water-focused webinar on Recruiting and Training Veterans for Careers in the Water Sector.  Attendees will learn how to access Veterans Affairs programs to hire and train vets for positions at water and wastewater utilities.  The original webinar date had to be postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.

DATE:  Wednesday, November 28

TIME:  1:00-2:03PM (eastern)


More information about this event is included in the flyer link (below).

Veterans in the Water Sector Webinar Nov28 FLYER


EPA Shares O&M Training Modules for Small, Rural Systems and Tribes, Alaska Native Villages, and Territories

To serve as a resource for small rural systems including tribes, Alaska Native Villages, and territories, EPA has developed a series of Web-based training modules on maintaining and operating small drinking water treatment and wastewater systems.  Although this information is geared toward system operators and managers in Indian country, it could be of benefit to anyone operating and maintaining a small water or wastewater system.  The training modules are based on a series of 11 in-person EPA-led training workshops, which provided instruction on how best to operate, troubleshoot, and maintain small wastewater and drinking water systems.

Here are the 10 Operation and Maintenance Training Modules.  Click each title for more information:

  • Providing and Protecting Potable Water – This module provides an overview of surface water systems, groundwater systems, and source water protection concepts.  Additional topics include: wellhead protection, sources and types of water contamination, and water treatment options.
  • Drinking Water Distribution System Management – This module provides an overview of hydrant, pipe, and valve maintenance, and concludes with a special focus on corrosion and chlorine residual.
  • Storage Tank Management – This module covers storage tank inspections and maintenance and provides safety information for both tasks.
  • Asset Management Overview – How do you inventory and manage your water system or wastewater system assets?  This module covers asset management for long-term infrastructure stability and financial sustainability.
  • Techniques for Developing a Rate Structure – This module covers the “how” and the “why” of developing rate structures that will fully support long-term utility operations.
  • Water and Wastewater Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Case Studies – This module highlights lessons learned from: 1) accidental contamination of a water system, 2) chemical contamination at a water treatment plant, 3) sewerage collection overflow, and 4) operation of an “alternative” onsite wastewater system.
  • Sewer System Overview – This module provides an overview of the basic wastewater treatment process, from primary treatment to disinfection and sludge removal. The second half of the module focuses on maintenance of collection systems.
  • Lift Station Overview – This module focuses on all aspects of lift stations from pumps, to operation and maintenance, to emergency planning and troubleshooting.
  • Overview of Lagoon System Management – This module focuses on wastewater lagoon functions (both aerobic and anaerobic), lagoon performance, sampling and analysis of lagoons, and operation and maintenance of lagoons.
  • Decentralized Wastewater Systems – This module includes such topics as system inspection, system maintenance, and “things to avoid” for septic tanks. The module provides an overview of decentralized wastewater treatment and processes and includes a special look at innovative decentralized technologies and “best practices” for managing onsite systems.


Public Health Protection…Making It Work

Do you know what Maine, South Dakota, and Missouri have in common?  Can you identify the common connection among a put aside, a sanitary survey, and ETT scores?  Do you have a strategy to combat inadequate water rates, treatment installation needs, and small system compliance problems?  Can’t figure it out…not sure what the answer could be…wonder what this is about?  Click this link and find out…Funding Collaboration: Maximizing the Impact of Project Funding to Increase Compliance and Enhance Public Health (PDF)

While you’re reading about the states noted above, you may also want to check out how different states assign priority points for board member training, water efficiency, and asset management plans.  The same link will take you to excellent ideas being implemented in Kansas, Maryland, and Kentucky.

Still want to know more?   Keep reading and learn how Nevada uses a pre-application form to increase the efficiency of funding distributions; how Washington has designed a “Small Communities Initiative” to answer small systems’ needs for drinking water compliance along with other economic and environmental concerns; and how Pennsylvania now applies a uniform environmental review process across USDA-RUS, CDBG, and DWSRF loan programs.

Curious as to how states get organized about funding decisions?  Read on…both California and Arizona have put strategies in place that may just answer your questions!

Now that you’ve read about all of these successful approaches and strategies, think about whether or how any of these solutions might work for you and your state.  Could you just pick them up and make them work as described here?  Would you want to make a few modifications to better suit the needs of your small systems?  Maybe these examples don’t quite get to the heart of some of your most critical needs…but do they help you think about how to begin to solve them?  This one web link Funding Collaboration: Maximizing the Impact of Project Funding to Increase Compliance and Enhance Public Health (PDF) contains eleven different approaches to solving funding problems faced by these states.  Each approach helps the state move a little closer to achieving the public health protection goals of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Maybe they could work for you too.

Remember FedFUNDS Tool for Disaster Reimbursement

EPA’s FedFUNDS tool (Federal Funding for Utilities – Water and Wastewater – in National Disasters) may be just what your water (or wastewater) systems need to help them apply for disaster reimbursement from an array of Federal agencies.  An intuitive tool, Fed FUNDS provides information tailored to the water sector as well as tips and application forms (all in one place) for various federal disaster funding programs such as:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Grant Program
  • FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants
  • EPA Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund
  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Program
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Programs

To see what the tool has to offer and to see how it works, go to:

Once on the web page, note that the “Which Funding is Right for You?” button can provide funding tips for utilities during a Presidentially Declared Disaster (e.g., Hurricane Sandy). Also, the “Currently in a Disaster?” button offers quick ways to document the damage/repairs during the disaster for later reimbursement.

For additional information on FedFUNDS or Federal disaster funding/ recovery, contact your EPA Regional point of contact. For questions about Fed FUNDS related to Hurricane Sandy, contact David Goldbloom-Helzner at