Want to Be a CUPSS Asset Management Trainer? Here’s How…

The CUPSS (Check Up Program for Small Systems) Team is pleased to announce the Spring 2014 CUPSS Asset Management Training Series! This interactive training involves live demos, Q&A, and troubleshooting, as well as online CUPSS self-paced training modules.

This series involves 4 sessions: one 30-minute Introductory Session followed by three 1-hour Training Sessions. In between sessions, participants will use the online training modules and prepare homework assignments. Participants who complete the assignments and participate in the webinars will receive a CUPSS Trainers Certificate and will be included in the CUPSS Trainers Directory.

The dates are as follows:

SESSION 1:  March 27, 2014, 1:00-1:30 PM Eastern Time


Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/921812210989836801


SESSION 2:  April 10, 2014, 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time


Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7324576282785266689


SESSION 3:  April 17, 2014, 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time


Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4024962778550425089


SESSION 4:  April 24, 2014, 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time


Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6164271559298835457


For more information, please go to www.epa.gov/cupss or email cupss@epa.gov


EFCNetwork to Host Numerous Webinars for Small Systems

Throughout the month of March, the Environmental Finance Center Network is offering seven webinar opportunities targeting small system issues ranging across effective communication techniques, water loss reduction, asset management, and water system partnerships.  See below for more details.



Part 1: Translating Data into Effective Communication

DATE:  March 3, 2014    

TIME:  2:30-3:30PM (eastern) *This event is rescheduled from February 24.*

Register Now

Webinar Details: In this webinar you will be introduced to how your audience perceives your data and how to present your information in a more compelling format. From pie charts to columns and busted pipes to sinkholes, find out how to tell your story so that the next project that gets approved has your name on it.


Part 2:  Effective Messaging

DATE:  March 7, 2014

TIME:   2:30-3:30PM (eastern)  *This event is rescheduled from February 26* 

Register Now


Webinar Details: In this webinar we will show you some basic messaging concepts including the use of powerful images that evoke the critical values of your audience. You will also be introduced to successful water conservation and improvement campaigns that use both humor and message to convince their communities to pay for better systems.






Part 1

   DATE:  March 5, 2014

  TIME:   1:30-2:30PM (eastern)

  Register Now


Part 2

   DATE:  March 17, 2014

   TIME:   1:30-2:30PM (eastern)

   Save the Date 


Part 3

   DATE:  March 31, 2014

   TIME:  1:30-2:30PM (eastern)

Save the Date  

Webinar Details: This series will offer participants an introduction to establishing an effective water loss control program at their water system. Participants will learn about the different parts of the water balance equation, performing a water audit at their system and how to begin to address non-revenue water including both apparent losses and real losses (leakage). The first webinar will focus on establishing the baseline of your water loss, and will include information regarding water loss auditing.






REPEAT  Part 1: Core Component 1 – Current State of the Assets

DATE:  March 6, 2014

TIME:   1:30-2:30PM (eastern)

Register Now

Webinar Details:  This is an opportunity for your water system to participate in a training event that will help the utility answer the question, “How can we spend our limited dollars to have the greatest impact?” This webinar will provide an overview of Asset Management and discuss the first core component of Asset Management, The Current State of the Assets.






DATE:  March 12, 2014

TIME:   2:30-3:30PM (eastern)

Save the Date

Community Engineering Corps Schedules Webinars

Last week, we introduced you to the new Community Engineering Corps (see February 21 post).  Want to learn more about the Community Engineering Corps and how you can make a difference by partnering with communities in the United States?  The two webinars below will offer great basics on the program and on the process.  Can’t make the first viewing?  Take a second look – each webinar is repeated several times over the next couple of months.



February 26, 2014 4:00 PM (eastern)

March 13, 2014 8:00 PM (eastern)

March 24, 2014 6:00 PM (eastern)

April 16, 2014 1:00 PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://student.gototraining.com/rt/6179614145324684032  

DIAL:  215-383-1020 Access Code: 631-105-713

Audio PIN will be shown after joining the training




February 27, 2014 7:00 PM (eastern)

March 11, 2014 Noon (eastern)

March 25, 2014 6:00 PM (eastern)

April 14, 2014 11:00 AM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://student.gototraining.com/rt/2835558381140346368

DIA:  484-589-1016 Access Code: 266-840-234

Audio Pin will be shown after joining the webinar

AWWA, ASCE, and EWB-USA Launch New Community Engineering Corps

Today, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in alliance with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB USA) announced the launch of the Community Engineering Corps, a new program designed to offer no cost engineering services to underserved, resource constrained communities across the US that have demonstrated water supply problems.  Members of all three organizations can volunteer their time and expertise to become part of project teams designed to assist communities in need.

It is essential to note, however, that Community Engineering Corps is not a funding agency.  It provides engineering services.  It does not provide cash donations or grants to communities. Project funding will be the responsibility of the community.

The Community Engineering Corps expects to be partners in problem solving for the applicant communities.  Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate that they have been actively involved in development of the project proposal. Applicant communities would also be expected to explain “how the partnering organization and local community representatives will be involved in and contributing to all phases of the project.”

The application itself appears to be relatively straightforward, asking questions such as:

  • Why has the community not been able to complete this project using their own resources?
  • What will the partner community and community based organization contribute to the assessment and implementation of this project?
  • Provide background information for the proposed project.  There should be sufficient information to allow the reader to understand the context of the project.
  • Describe the problem that the proposed project is intended to solve.
  • How many people will be affected by this project in a certain geographic region (please provide an estimated NUMBER of people affected — not a description).

This web link http://www.ewb-usa.org/what-we-do/CEC provides greater detail about the new organization and its goals.  The link also includes information about who should apply, how to apply, and what is needed for a successful application.  A dedicated weblink is in development and will be shared when it goes “live.”

The Community Engineering Corps is looking for water projects to support.  Please share this opportunity with your partners and colleagues in the water supply community and with organizations known to be interested in providing support and assistance to communities in need.

Environmental Finance Center Webinar Updates

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina is hosting a webinar dedicated to Water and Sewer Rates Analysis – and showcasing a new tool.  As well, you are invited to ‘save the date’ for two more web events in their Leadership Webinar Series.  See below for details.

Water & Sewer Rates Analysis Tool

DATE:  February 26, 2014

TIME:    2:30-3:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Register Now 

Learn about the new Excel based tool – the Water & Sewer Rates Analysis Model. This free, basic cash-flow modeling tool allows water systems to input their current rate structure, estimates on number of customers and water use, and the expected costs for the system. The tool then automatically projects the end-of-year fund balance for the next several years, indicating whether revenues will be high enough to cover expected expenses. Users can then enter in another rate structure and compare the end-of-year fund balance side-by-side to the one projected using current rates. This also helps users determine whether they need to adjust rates, and by how much, in order to achieve financial sufficiency. The tool can be used by systems that set volumetric charges for water as well as systems that only charge flat monthly fees.   Click here for More Information



Part 1:  Translating Data into Effective Communication

March 3, 2014 (Rescheduled from February 24, 2014)

Click here for More Information


Part 2:  Effective Messaging

March 7, 2014  (Rescheduled from February 26, 2014) 

Click here for More Information


Ever wondered which military jobs are best suited for the water sector?

Join this webinar to find out!

Webinar Title:  “From M.O.S. to J-O-B: A Guide for Applying Military Occupational Specialties (M.O.S.) to Civilian Drinking Water and Wastewater Operations”

Audience:  Federal, state and local drinking water program staff, technical assistance providers, drinking water and wastewater systems, Veterans Affairs Employment Counselors and military Veterans.

Goals of this webinar:

1)   Learn how to identify Veterans with relevant experience for public water systems and wastewater systems.

2)   Understand the types of Military Occupational Specialties that are the best fit for water sector jobs

3)   Hear from current and former military representatives about the typical duties/work experience of those working to provide safe drinking water and wastewater services


Learn about EPA’s guide that translates military equivalent work experience to civilian drinking and wastewater operations.  This presentation will highlight how to use the guide to apply these jobs to water utilities.

Date: Thursday, March 6, 2014

Time12:00 to 1:30 PM (Eastern)

Cost:  FREE

Register:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5935443398656968705


The speakers will be Matthew Reed, US Environmental Protection Agency; Mr. William Quimbayoglen, U.S. Army; and CWO5 James Harrison, U.S. Marine Corps.

New EFC Report Looks at Effective Business Models

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Environmental Finance Center (UNC-EFC) has just released a report titled Defining a Resilient Business Model for Water Utilities.  According to the EFC, like most in the industry, small water systems are faced by the fiscal stresses of declining demands and economic recession. This report includes data and analysis of water systems across the country – with small water systems included – and highlights some of the best practices being implemented by water systems in response to these challenges.

Small water systems will find the recommendations of the report particularly helpful and can also make use of two EFC-UNC developed tools – the Water Utility Revenue Risk Assessment Tool and the Water Utility Customer Assistance Program Cost Estimator – to assess their own resiliency. EFC-UNC produced tutorial videos that explain the tools and provide utilities with step-by-step instructions on how to correctly use the tools.

This link will take you to the report:  http://www.efc.sog.unc.edu/content/wrf-full-project

This link http://www.efc.sog.unc.edu/reslib/item/water-utility-risk-assessment-tool and this one http://www.efc.sog.unc.edu/reslib/item/water-utility-customer-assistance-program-cost-estimation-tool will take you to the two tools referenced above.


USDA Conservation Innovation Grants

Our friends at the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse have just alerted us to the following:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering a funding opportunity to “stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production.”

The application period will close on March 7, 2014.  A webinar for potential applicants will be hosted on Thursday, February 13th at 1 p.m. EST. Details about this announcement and how to register for the webinar are available at the NRCS website at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/

One State’s View – How to Use the Model Standards

The Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) has recently published it “Model Standards of Operator Certification” to provide a template for improvements in state certification programs.  In the most recent edition of The Certifier, Jackie  Whelan, Colorado’s Operator Certification Coordinator, described how she plans to take advantage of the elements found in the Model Standards.


Jackie Whelan – Colorado Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board

Operator certification is important to protecting public health and the environment. Like numerous other states and provinces, Colorado has a long history of recognizing the importance of an operator certification program. We need to ensure skilled professionals are overseeing the treatment and distribution of safe drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater prior to its discharge into waters of the state or province.


In 1959, the State Health Department formed the Advisory Committee on Certification of Water and Sewage Plant Operators in Colorado. The certification of water and wastewater treatment plant operators remained voluntary until the early 1970s, when the treatment operator certification program became a mandatory program. The first regulations were adopted in July 1973. In 2000, Colorado statute was modified in response to the publication of the 1999 U.S. EPA’s guidelines for certification programs, which outlined a baseline for an operator certification program. Colorado used the guidelines to expand and enhance what was already in place.

In February 2014, it will have been 15 years since the publication of the U.S. EPA guidelines. The minimum standards provided a framework to build a good certification program. But minimum standards aren’t enough to build a great program. It’s time to take the next step—making your good programs great!

The guideline’s minimum standards are broad enough to accommodate a wide range of implementation options as evidenced by the diverse nature of certification programs. The committee that developed the ABC Model Standards of Operator Certification capitalized on the unique nature of each certification program. The committee was able to take the very best of each program and use this to define an “ideal” or model program.


The Model Standards set the bar high. Will I be able to implement all the standards outlined in the model?  No, because like each of you, I’m subject to a legislature or other political body, organizational structure and restraints, resources and funding barriers, and political climates in general. But I can strive to draw closer to the spirit and intent of the model by taking my program from good, to better, to the best I can.

The Model Standards can provide direction to help address specific program issues. For example, I was struggling with how to conduct an internal review of our program – it’s hard to objectively assess the program you’re administering, especially when it’s the only program you know!  The model gives me a concrete standard to use to evaluate the various aspects of our program. Standard 7 answers the questions of who, what, when, and why with regards to internal program reviews, and the model gives me confidence that the next review will be thorough and complete. These standards address so many different aspects of operator certification that you are nearly guaranteed to learn something or be able to utilize the document in some way. Here is another solution we have acquired from the document: recently, there have been instances of unprofessional behavior by certified operators that are not directly job related. I believe that the formal adoption of a code of conduct, as recommended in Standard 5, would help to address this issue and emphasize the importance of professionalism in all settings.

The outstanding innovations and wisdom from each of your programs are now compiled in the Model Standards of Operator Certification. I hope you’ll join me as I utilize the model to take the next step—making a good program great!

Reprinted with Permission from ABC

EFCNetwork Partnerships & Regionalization Webinar

On February 12, the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCNet) will present part 2 of a 4 part series on the elements of water system partnerships, their successes, and their challenges.  This event will focus on System Mergers and highlight the creation of the Lowcountry Regional Water System in South Carolina from five small towns.

DATE:  February 12, 2014

TIME:   2:30-3:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/902573192

More information about this webinar is available in the flyer link that appears below.

Water System Partnerships & Regionalization Webinar Series_ Part 2 – February 12