SmallWaterSupply.org is Rebranding!

Beginning with the first newsletter of 2016, SmallWaterSupply.org will be known as WaterOperator.org.  That issue will include an explanation for the name change and what you can expect from the new approach. Though we’re still perfecting the new site, you can take a sneak peek when you click on this blog post Winterizing for Consumers and Small Systems that provides tips for operators looking to prepare their systems for winter weather.

Free Technical Assistance Available for Underserved Communities Through Community Engineering Corps

[Editor’s Note:  Our colleagues at AWWA are hoping to spread the word on CE Corps as a no-cost alternative for disadvantaged or underserved communities with infrastructure issues. Please contact them if you know of small communities that would qualify for these volunteer services.]

The Community Engineering Corps® (CE Corps) combines the strengths of three allied organizations – American Water Works Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders USA – to assist underserved US communities in meeting their infrastructure needs and improving the quality of life for each of the communities’ members.

CE Corps volunteers work with US communities that do not have the financial resources to hire engineers. They work directly for communities, or for organizations that represent communities. All publicly owned water systems are eligible to apply for technical assistance. Private water systems held by a for-profit entity serving a nontransient community are also eligible as are private water systems held by nonprofit organizations serving private nonprofit businesses. Examples of such systems include a water system privately owned serving a mobile home park and a water system serving a nonprofit camp facility or school. However, a private water system held by a for-profit entity serving a for-profit business (e.g., a water system serving a restaurant) would not be eligible for technical assistance through CE Corps.

The project process always starts with the community. Once a CE Corps project team has been matched with a community, the team and community work together to develop a work plan and scope of work which describes the team that will work on the project, the schedule, the work tasks, and deliverables. Typical deliverables may include preliminary engineering reports, conceptual designs, permit applications or grant applications. The community may then use the information the project team has provided to hire appropriate contractors to implement the project or build the capital improvements. Any capital construction costs associated with the project shall be borne by the community; however, a community may elect to have volunteers stay engaged with it in the capacity of “owner’s representatives.”

One drinking water project example is the community of Cedar Gulch South Dakota that requested technical assistance with its water system because they cannot meet the SDWA limits for radium and gross alpha. The community has requested engineering assistance to determine which options give it the best return on investment. Cedar Gulch has been matched with a group of volunteers from Virginia to develop a work plan. Among several available alternatives, they are considering a new well, centralized treatment, point-of-use treatment, and possible regionalization with a neighboring community. The end goal of this project will be to bring the community’s water system back into compliance with SDWA requirements.

A second example is Delta Junction, Alaska, where the Snowed Inn RV and Trailer Park has applied for technical assistance to address violations listed on the community’s 2014 Sanitary Survey. The trailer park is home to 24 permanent residents but hosts seasonal tourists as well. The permanent residents are at risk of losing their homes if corrections are not made to the water and sanitation infrastructure. Deficiencies that could be corrected have been addressed; however, there are outstanding issues requiring the expertise of engineers. The applicant also requested assistance in identifying potential grants that could fund capital improvements to the water and sanitation systems. This project is currently open and CE Corps is accepting volunteer project team applications.

Community Engineering Corps is driven by communities motivated to take the next steps to improve their infrastructure systems. Communities can find technical assistance for their next project by submitting an application online.

Since the program launch in February 2014, CE Corps has seen successes across the US. Currently, more than 25 projects are in varying stages of progress. Several of these project communities were first introduced to CE Corps through their state primacy agencies.

Getting started:

  1. Visit the CE Corps website for FAQs, application instructions, and additional information
  2. Complete and submit the Community Application for a Community Engineering Corps Project through either cecinfo@ewb-usa.org or www.communityengineeringcorps.org

Contact:  Send your questions to Lindsey Geiger, Project Engineer, American Water Works Association at lgeiger@awwa.org

 

 

CEU Plan Offers Course on Cybersecurity for Operators

 

Cybersecurity for Operators is a one hour streaming course presentation that provides a basic and fundamental approach to implementing a Response Plan for Cybersecurity.  The session also includes common sense suggestions on ways to protect treatment plants and shares ‘real world’ examples of some treatment plants that have experienced intrusions from hackers and cyber-attacks.

A Treatment Plant is the largest investment within the local community and it deals with public health and protection for everyone. It is vital to develop a Response Plan and work to maintain the safety and security of your local drinking water supply.  This course will demonstrate reasonable methods that can be used to harden your infrastructure.  It also provides useful reference documents.

To learn more and to register for this course, go to www.ceuplan.com.  Once there, click the “view all” button and enter cybersecurity as the key word.

National Capacity Development & Operator Certification Workshop a Success

Nearly 130 partners and colleagues from the small water system community in 36 states and Washington, DC came together this week in Dallas to discuss opportunities to enhance capacity development and operator certification programs across the states.  The Workshop theme, Roadmap to the Future:  Building Sustainability & Integrating Resiliency, sparked numerous brainstorming sessions, presentations from subject matter experts, and calls for development of forward thinking ‘next steps’ strategies.  Contributors included state capacity development, operator certification, and DWSRF program staff, EPA Headquarters and Regional staff, other Federal agency partners, and assistance providers from each of the major training organizations.  Discussions ranged across a broad spectrum of topics such as water system partnerships, financial capacity, resiliency, operator training and workforce, sustainability and collaboration, and communication and community relationships.

The Workshop was cohosted by ASDWA and EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team.  Efforts are already under way to develop a workshop summary, post presentations, and outline strategies to take appropriate next steps based on participant input related to challenges and opportunities.  ASDWA will keep you informed of the progress of these various follow up efforts and share materials and information as soon as they become available.

EPA Webinar on Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water

The final webinar for 2015 in EPA’s Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar Series will focus on reducing lead in drinking water systems.

DATE:              Tuesday, December 15

TIME:               2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7517168955509960449

Dr. Mike Schock of EPA ORD, will review the nature of lead and copper occurrence and relationships to water quality and use, and then discuss available sampling strategies to identify and isolate the occurrence of leaded materials in building drinking water system configurations.  A second presentation by Michelle Latham, also with EPA ORD, will cover a tool designed to help consumers identify lead free drinking water system and plumbing products that have undergone third-party certification testing.

Additional information on the webinar is included in this link  ORD-OWSmallSystemsWebinar_Dec 15 2015.

Rural Assistance Funding Bill Heads to President’s Desk

On Monday, the House passed the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act to reauthorize funding for technical assistance to small drinking water systems.  The measure amends SDWA §1442(e) to extend funding authorizations through FY 2020.  The bill originated in the Senate as S 611 and was passed in June.  It now heads to the President’s desk where a signature is expected.

One new element was added to the SDWA section that allows EPA to enter into cooperative agreements directly with nonprofit training organizations to provide the assistance.  The new language reads:  NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.— ‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator may use amounts made available to carry out this section to provide grants or cooperative agreements to nonprofit organizations that provide to small public water systems onsite technical assistance, circuit-rider technical assistance programs, multistate, regional technical assistance programs, onsite and regional training, assistance with implementing source water protection plans, and assistance with implementing monitoring plans, rules, regulations, and water security enhancements.”