Check It Out – Water Utility Response On-the-Go Mobile Website

EPA has launched the Water Utility Response On-The-Go mobile website, an innovative tool that consolidates, and makes accessible from the field, information and tools that water utility operators and their response partners may need during an emergency.  This tool is ideal for small systems that often don’t have a large support network in place when damaging storms, fires, tornadoes, or earthquakes strike.

The site allows users to: identify and contact emergency response partners; monitor local and national severe weather conditions; review and complete incident-specific checklists; and populate, save and email both generic damage assessment forms and FEMA incident command system forms.   You can download the Water Utility Response On-the-Go Mobile Website at .

For more information/questions about this tool, please contact Bailey Kennett (202-566-1344) or Brian Pickard (202-564-0827) at EPA’s Water Security Division.


Take the WWEMA Water Challenge

Our colleagues at the Water and Wastewater Equipment Managers Association (WWEMA) have issued a water challenge.  According to their website, the WWEMA Water Challenge is a fun way to show just how much we rely on clean, safe water in our everyday lives.

Between now and April 18, WWEMA is challenging federal, state, and local legislators, community leaders and concerned citizens to “turn off your tap” – whether literally or figuratively for a few hours or a few days – to discover what health, hygienic, and convenience challenges you face without easy access to water.  And, yes, toilets count, too. So do dishwashers, laundry, food prep … you get the idea!

WWEMA wants you to Tweet, post on Facebook, and otherwise share your experiences with the world. Their goal is 5,000 Tweets. So please be sure to use the #NoWater hashtag!

By taking the Challenge, you’ll help raise awareness of how much we all rely on water, and how important it is to ensure our communities have access to water now and into the future.

As our WWEMA colleagues note, we need to invest now in water to protect our future…but because we tend to take water for granted, it can be hard to get support for adequate funding for this vital resource. Just because those pipes are underground, doesn’t mean we can afford to let them be “out of sight, out of mind”!

Thanks for taking the Challenge.  Check back here throughout the next few weeks to monitor our progress. You just might see one of your Tweets quoted here!


EPA has published a draft of the proposed guidance manual for the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) and invites your review and comment.  This guidance manual is intended for use by small public water systems, specifically those serving 1,000 or fewer persons. Because of the significance of the RTCR to small systems and the special provisions that apply to systems serving less than 1,000 people, this will be an importance guidance document and can certainly benefit from state input.

Please note that there is a special email address for your comments ( and comments are due April 30.  EPA is also asking that multiple reviewers from the same entity combine and/or consolidate their comments into a single submission.

The document is divided into three major parts: Parts A, B and C.  Part A, The Revised Total Coliform Rule At A Glance, gives concise information about the requirements of the RTCR and is intended for quick reference.  Part B, The Revised Total Coliform Rule In Detail, presents greater detail on the requirements of the RTCR to provide a deeper understanding of the rule. Part C, Compliance Checklist, provides a checklist to help water systems determine their compliance with the rule.  Each part is designed as a stand-alone document and can be used separately.

Click the link below to view the guidance.



View EPA Arsenic and Biological Treatment Webinars Online at ASDWA

For a limited time, you may view the two most recent EPA ORD Small System webinar presentations on the topics of arsenic treatment technologies and on biological treatment, ammonia, and nitrates/nitrites.  Both are available on ASDWA’s Small Systems web page under “Webinars and Additional Resources.”   Click this link:

Available until March 31, 2015:

Arsenic Treatment Technologies (January 27 2015)

Presented by: Jamie Harris (EPA’s Office of Water) and Tom Sorg (EPA’s Office of Research and Development)

This presentation provides an overview of the wide varieties of challenges faced by small water systems to implement arsenic treatment, and the effectiveness of arsenic removal technologies and their cost.

Available until April 21, 2015:

Biological Treatment, Ammonia and Nitrates/Nitrites (February 24 2015)

Presented by: Mike Muse (EPA’s Office of Water) and Darren Lytle (EPA’s Office of Research and Development)

This presentation discusses a biological treatment process for the removal of ammonia from small water systems, and showcases examples of alternative preventative methods to reduce nitrates/nitrites and costs.


Free Operator eLearning Training for Small System RTCR Compliance is Available

AWWA, through funding from EPA, is offering an online eLearning training specifically for operators who work with small water systems that serve fewer than 10,000 individuals.  You do not have to be an AWWA member to register.  Please share this with your small water system operators.  Note that this is an eLearning opportunity rather than a time or space-based training and, once registered, the course must be completed within 90 days.

Course Name: Maintaining and Achieving RTCR Compliance for Small Systems (EL219)

Course DescriptionThis eLearning course focuses on 4 major areas needed by small systems to maintain and achieve compliance with the Revised Total Coliform Rule; including when and how to conduct the RTCR assessment, evaluation of sampling procedures, source water treatment assessments and evaluation of distribution system operations and maintenance practices on coliform occurrence.

Course DurationThree hours/0.3 CEUs*


If you have any problems with your registration or if you have questions, please dial 1.800.926.7337 x 1 for assistance.

More Information About This Training:

The course is divided into four modules. Module 1 introduces the RTCR by describing the latest changes and impact to operators and their water systems. It demonstrates when and how to perform level 1 and level 2 assessments and provides examples and opportunities to apply the new learning.  Module 2 covers sample site assessment which includes determining if deficiencies exist in distribution system practices that may lead to inaccuracies in sample collection, possible microbial contamination, and data management procedures.  Module 3 illustrates the major elements of an assessment of sources of supply and treatment in the context of the RTCR.  Module 4 illustrates the major elements of an assessment of distribution system operations and maintenance practices in the context of the RTCR.

*CEUs:   AWWA grants Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this course at a rate of 1 CEU for 10 contact hours. It is the individual’s responsibility, before registering for any education program, to contact his/her licensing agency: 1. to confirm that the education program is acceptable for continuing education credit towards your particular license; and 2. to confirm what you need to submit for credit approval.

GAO Issues Rural Water Infrastructure Report

At the end of February, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a 15 page report titled Rural Water Infrastructure: Federal Agencies Provide Funding but Could Increase Coordination to Help Communities.  This ReportGAO-15-450T, is available at

The Report was included as part of the testimony provided by Alfredo Gomez, Director of the natural Resources and Environment Team at GAO.  The testimony synthesizes GAO Reports from 2007, 2009, and 2012 with updated information through 2015 on the ability of and access to rural water infrastructure funding by smaller communities.  In general, GAO found that:

  • In some cases, small communities do not have the number of users needed to share the cost of major infrastructure projects while maintaining affordable user rates.
  • Some rural communities do not have technical expertise and have to hire consultants and engineers to help design projects and complete technical documents necessary to apply for funding.
  • Rural communities face potentially duplicative application requirements when applying to multiple state or Federal programs.

In response to these challenges, the GAO Report notes that EPA and USDA have taken, or are in the process of taking, steps to improve interagency coordination on rural water infrastructure projects, including:

  • Adopting a uniform preliminary engineering report template and guidance
  • Reviewing a draft best practices memorandum that highlights key issues, including duplication of effort reduction during the environmental review process. This is to be shared with states for review and comment in the near future.
  • Taking steps to coordinate policies and procedures to prioritize funding in the US-Mexico Border Region.

In addition, this Report notes the funding opportunities offered for small and/or rural water infrastructure projects by seven Federal agencies:  EPA’s DWSRF and CWSRF programs; USDA’s RUS Water and Waste Disposal program; HUD’s Community Development Block Grant programs; Bureau of Reclamation’s Rural Water Supply program; the Indian Health Service’s Facilities and Environmental Health Support program; the Economic Development Administration’s Public Works and Economic Development program; and the Corps of Engineers assistance through loans and technical planning services or grants.

Webinar – Small Water System Alternatives:  Media and Membrane Filtration for Small Communities and Households

EPA’s Office of Water and Office of Research and Development have announced the date and time for the next in their joint monthly webinar series to showcase different compliance technologies for small systems.  The March event will look at compliance technologies and filtration alternatives.

DATE:  March 31, 2015

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)


A detailed flyer appears below.  For more detailed information or questions, please contact Victoria Banks at