EPA Administrator to Resign in Late January

Just in case you missed the earlier headlines, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has decided to leave the Agency just after the President’s late January State of the Union address.  Below is the press release announcing her decision.


December 27, 2012


WASHINGTON — I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: “There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.”   As the President said earlier this year when he addressed EPA’s employees, “You help make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are safe. You help protect the environment not just for our children but their children. And you keep us moving toward energy independence…We have made historic progress on all these fronts.” So, I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference.


Remember to Use Helpful EPA Tools

As you work with your smaller water systems and the communities they serve, don’t forget that EPA has created a vast array to helpful tools, brochures, reports, and other resources that can answer some of those “frequently asked questions” from the public such as:

  • Where does my drinking water come from?
  • How do I know if my drinking water is safe?
  • How can I protect it?
  • What can I do if there’s a problem with my drinking water?

First printed in 2009, EPA’s “Water on Tap: What You Need to Know” is still a useful resource in helping the public understand the value of the water they drink.  The brochure is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.  Click Water On Tap: What You Need To Know (PDF) or order by phone from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (1-800-490-9198) using the document reference number EPA 816-K-09-002.

AWWA Offers Water Audits for Water Loss Control Webinar

Join AWWA for a live session on Water Audits for Effective Water Loss Control on December 19.  This webinar will focus on water loss auditing practices and will cover AWWA’s auditing method as best practice for water-system efficiency. Preliminary audit data from more than 100 small to medium-size systems will be presented to demonstrate trends and anomalies, and lessons learned from broader implementation of water auditing will be discussed.

Additionally, this webinar will discuss the concept of a “District Water Audit (DWA) Method for NRW Component Analysis in District Metered Areas (DMAs)” as a comprehensive bottom-up methodology for evaluating water losses in water distribution systems.  Small to midsized utilities struggling with non-revenue water are highly encouraged to sign up for this webcast.

The cost for AWWA members is $75; nonmembers must pay $120.

DATE:  Wednesday, December 19

TIME:   1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click Register online!

Update from EFCN on Smart Management for Small Water System Project

[Editor’s Note:  The Environmental Finance Centers Network (EFCN) successfully competed for a portion of the EPA FY 12 Competitive Grant to provide assistance and support to small water systems.  From time to time, CapCertConnections will showcase progress reports provided by the winners of this year’s competition.] 

We (EFCN) have been very busy this fall meeting with states, EPA Regions, and territories regarding the Smart Management for Small Water System Project that will provide managerial and financial capacity building activities for systems under 10,000 in population.  We have completed just about all of our meetings; there are only a few people who needed a little extra time and those meetings will take place in December.  We greatly appreciate the cooperation of the state personnel and the enthusiasm and overwhelmingly positive response with which we were received.  We are now in the process of developing the plan for the next phase of the project detailing when and where we will be delivering training and which trainings those will be.  We are planning, to the maximum extent possible, to give each state and territory the activity that they indicated during our meetings would be the most beneficial/impactful to small water systems.  We are also trying to provide the trainings in the locations suggested (if one was suggested) and at the time frame that best fits the state given restrictions, such as weather, other events within the state, other activities within the state, construction season, etc.  We will continue to work with the states and territories as we move forward to keep them informed of our activities.  In addition, please visit our web site: www.efcnetwork.org to find out the latest information about this project.  If you have any questions, please contact Heather Himmelberger at heatherh@efc.nmt.edu or Glenn Barnes at glennbarnes@sog.unc.edu.  We look forward to the upcoming trainings and other activities!

EPA to Host Sustainability Webcast This Week

On December 13th, EPA’s Office of Waste Management (OWM) will host a webinar on how drinking water and wastewater utilities can build sustainability considerations into alternatives analyses as they evaluate and select investments in infrastructure.

Date:  December 13, 2012

Time:  2:00-3:30PM (eastern)

Register:  Click here to register for the free webcast.

This is the third in the Agency’s webinar series built around the core elements of its 2012 handbook, Planning for Sustainability: A Handbook for Water and Wastewater Utilities. The webinar will feature presentations on how utilities in Beaverton, Oregon, and Carrboro, North Carolina, have addressed sustainability in their analysis of alternatives. Click here to view presentations from past webinars in the series or to download a copy of the handbook.  For more information, contact Jim Horne at (202) 564-0571 or horne.james@epa.gov.


The Water Community Looks at Sustainability

EPA’s Office of Water, as part of its continuing effort to enhance the concept and principles of sustainability, convened a water and wastewater workshop in late September.  Titled “Water Sector Utility Sustainability:  The Path Forward,” the workshop engaged utility and state regulatory leaders for 1.5 days to identify ways to help utilities move toward sustainable operations over time, building on the many activities EPA, utilities, and states have undertaken over the past several years.  Lisa Daniels, Drinking Water Chief in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, participated on ASDWA’s behalf.

Discussions centered around four principal objectives:

  • Generate an enhanced and refined understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing water sector utilities as they strive for increased sustainability;
  • Identify areas of effective utility practice that can anchor efforts to promote more sustainable utility management in the future;
  • Characterize gaps in current knowledge, tools, and collaborative efforts that hinder greater progress in utility sustainable management; and
  • Identify a suite of ideas for new knowledge, tools, and collaborative efforts to address the identified gaps in support of improved progress on sustainable utility management under both conventional and emergent business models.

In identifying potential next steps, discussions among meeting participants fell into six possible arenas for action:    Building out a Road Map; Improving Utility Collaboration; State-Federal Role in the Utility of the Future; Knowledge Transfer and Community of Practice; Incentives for Sustainable Practice Adoption; and Effective Utility Management (EUM) Phase II.

A full report of the workshop’s deliberations and recommendations is attached below for your reference.

Sustainability Workshop Meeting Summary FINAL 11-16-12

State Asset Management Initiatives Matrix Updated

States and EPA will remember that in 2010 and 2011, states shared information about their various asset management initiatives as part of an effort to identify opportunities to strengthen the managerial aspect of capacity development.  Compiled into a matrix, the asset management activities were categorized generally under funding initiatives, regulatory requirements, and assistance options.  The “Initiatives Matrix” has been updated again to reflect activities undertaken in 2012.  Arkansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin have contributed updates to the matrix on various asset management program activities.  Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia have made changes to their CUPSS Support initiatives.  In addition, a new section has been added to identify states that are participating in the ongoing State-EPA Asset Management Workgroup.  The “Initiatives Matrix” document resides within the ASDWA CapCert Community Library – a resource available only to state drinking water program staff and EPA Headquarters and Regional Coordinators for Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs.  If you are state or EPA staff and would like to register for access to the CapCert Community webpages, please contact Anthony DeRosa at aderosa@asdwa.org.

Wastewater Guidelines for Operators Adopted by Department of Labor

Working in tandem with the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the US Department of Labor (DOL) has announced adoption of new national guidelines for wastewater system operators.  Focusing on apprenticeship programs, the guidelines define minimum educational and on-the-job learning requirements.

The National Guidelines for Wastewater Systems Operator Apprenticeship can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.doleta.gov/OA/pdf/national.pdf.  According to the WEF press release, the guidelines “…suggest a two-year intensive schedule of 3,520 work process hours and 480 instructional hours. Work process hours will provide on-the-job experience alongside supervisors and coworkers. Industry curriculum is structured around six pillars: orientation and safety, operations, maintenance, quality control, logistics and administration. Additional instruction focuses on the theoretical aspects of the occupation, such as pumping systems, mathematics and solids management.”

The new guidelines are also expected to serve as a model for developing local apprenticeship programs registered with the DOL Office of Apprenticeship or a State Apprenticeship Agency for the wastewater treatment plant operator occupation.  Development of the new operator apprenticeship guidelines is a component of the broader Operator Initiative, a program established by WEF and its member associations to develop the capabilities of wastewater system operators and help raise their visibility as frontline public health professionals. For more information about this initiative and WEF, go to www.wef.org.   To learn more about the Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship system, visit www.doleta.gov/OA.