Put the CUPSS Community Call on your Calendar

The CUPSS Team is hosting the next CUPSS Community Call on Wednesday, February 10 to showcase and demonstrate the new CUPSS Asset Plus Costs Report and ‘CUPSS in Action’ that focuses on tribal efforts related to asset management.

DATE:              February 10, 2016

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  http://login.icohere.com/registration/register.cfm?reg=2358&evt=cupss21016&t=506090318

If you have any questions, please email cupss@epa.gov.


RCAP Position Opening

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) is seeking applicants for its Policy Director/Grant Manager position at its headquarters based in Washington DC.  Duties of this position include the management of Federal grants, preparation of applications and reports, liaison with Federal agencies, industry groups and Congressional offices, and other duties as found in the full job description.

If you are interested, please click this link http://www.rcap.org/policydirector_position for more information.



GAO Looks at Asset Management

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just published a report that looks at water utilities’ use of asset management with a special focus on smaller (<10,000) systems.  GAO reviewed efforts undertaken by both EPA and USDA and visited 25 small drinking water and/or wastewater utilities across ten states (AZ, AR, DE, ID, IA, MN, MS, NY, VT, and WY) that had been identified (one per EPA Region) as having the highest percentage of small water utility needs per recent EPA Needs Surveys.

EPA, USDA, and officials from the ten states identified both benefits and challenges for small systems with regard to implementing asset management programs.  The identified benefits were fairly straightforward and focused on cost savings and more efficient long term planning.  The challenges, however, were a bit lengthier and more complex.  They included the availability of funding to cover start-up and maintenance costs, availability of human resources, information on how to implement asset management practices, and political support from elected officials to begin an asset management program or increase user rates.

While both EPA and USDA continue to work to help water utilities implement asset management programs through a variety of mechanisms, GAO offered two specific recommendations for the agencies:

  1. “That the Administrator of EPA direct the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water and Office of Wastewater Management to continue to include questions on water utilities’ use of asset management in the clean water needs assessment and consider including questions about water utilities’ use of asset management in future drinking water infrastructure needs assessment surveys.”
  1. “That the Administrator of EPA, and the Secretary of USDA, through the Rural Development Agency, consider compiling into one document the existing cases and examples of the benefits and costs of asset management and widely share this information with water utilities.”

In response, EPA generally agreed with the recommendations but noted that the needs surveys may not be the most efficient data collection vehicles.  EPA said, however, that it would be willing “…to explore other means of obtaining data that would provide an indication of how utilities are benefitting from the agency’s asset management training and technical assistance.”  On the issue of compiling case studies, EPA concurred that, as funding and resources allow, it would consider the development of a case study compilation.  USDA did not specifically comment on this recommendation other than to state that it will continue to emphasize asset management.


To view and/or download the full report, please click this link: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-237

AWWA Offers Winter/Spring Water Treatment Courses

If you know of water system operators who want to improve their skills or prepare for their certification exam, the following information may be of use to them.  AWWA is preparing to offer a series of training courses designed for various experience levels in water treatment.  Be aware, however, that there are fees attached to the courses.  Each course lasts 60 hours and consists of pre-recorded presentations, online learning activities, videos, quizzes and evaluations.

Please read below for more information.

EL239 | Water Treatment Operator Level 1- Basics

Refresh your skills while learning how to prepare for the certification test. These courses introduce the basic functions and responsibilities of Level 1 operators, as well as water treatment processes, their uses, characteristics, sizing, and calculations and analyses of these processes. Begins February 15 > Register

EL240 | Water Treatment Operator Level 2- Processes

Learn in-depth concepts and practices about conventional water treatment processes, membrane/UV processes, and basic laboratory and sampling skills. You will also be able to gain in-depth understanding of surface water treatment, groundwater treatment, and the particular parameters that dictate successful treatment of both water sources. Begins March 21 > Register

EL241 | Water Treatment Operator Level 3- Analysis and Applications

This course offers a unique combination of advanced process troubleshooting knowledge and introductory preparation for supervisory responsibilities and will help you learn how to manage employees and the legal obligations for regulatory compliance. Begins April 25 > Register

CUPSS Community Newsletter is Attached

Happy 2016! The CUPSS (Check Up Program for Small Systems) Team at EPA Headquarters has some new updates and events to share with the CUPSS community. Check out the this link What’s Up With CUPSS_January2016_Final to download the latest Newsletter. You’ll find information on an upcoming CUPSS Community Call, 2016 Train-the-Trainer webinars, and the new CUPSS enhancement. Don’t hesitate to send any questions or comments tocupss@epa.gov.

Uranium Standards/Technologies/Research Webinar

As part of the ongoing EPA ORD Small Systems Webinar Series, the next web event topic is “Uranium Standards in Drinking Water and Removal Technologies Research at Small Community Water Systems.”

DATE:              Tuesday, January 26

TIME:               2:00-3:00PM (eastern) with optional Q&A to follow

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3843074986104648194

For more information, please see the PDF flyer here ORDSmallSystemsWebinar_January

Webinar:  Conservation as a Regulatory Tool for Rate Stability

A company called WaterSmart is hosting a free hour long web event about a new approach for water conservation. The one hour event will share information about the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s new requirement that all state water utilities must submit water conservation plans as a prerequisite for consideration of new rate cases. This new framework for state and local cooperation couples sustainable utility financial operations with long-term water supplies and may prove to be a model for other states to consider.

DATE:              Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Join this Waterside Chat to learn about the genesis of this regulatory framework, results to date, and what the future holds for a new approach to growth and sustainability.


The Private Well Class Offers a Partners Newsletter

Our colleagues at The Private Well Class have begun producing a newsletter for partner organizations and other interested parties (extension, county health, and state agencies and also realtors, teachers, and others with an interest in private well issues) which has grown to include 235 stakeholders around the country.  This is not meant to be a newsletter for well owners but  rather  for stakeholders who want to improve their understanding of private well issues, concerns, and strategic solutions.

If you would like to become an Outreach Partner and receive this newsletter, please click this link to sign up:  http://privatewellclass.org/partners

Calling All CUPSS Trainers

Registration is now available for the February CUPSS Community Call.  Topics for the call will include an introduction to the new CUPSS Asset Plus Costs report and a presentation on asset management and CUPSS implementation at tribal systems. More information to follow!

DATE:              Wednesday, February 10

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      http://login.icohere.com/registration/register.cfm?reg=2358&evt=cupss21016


EPA Announces FY 15 Training and Technical Assistance Grant Awardees

EPA has finalized the FY15 Training and Technical Assistance Grant competitive process and has named the awardees.  Successful applicants were alerted by certified mail last week and by email earlier this week.  Of the total $12.7 million in funds made available through Congressional appropriations, the allocations (by subject area) are:

  • National Priority Area 1 (technical capacity) – $4M awarded to Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and $4M awarded to National Rural Water Association (NRWA)
  • National Priority Area 2 (financial & managerial training and assistance) – $1.8M awarded to University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) as the lead for the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCNet)
  • National Priority Area 3 (wastewater training and assistance) – $1.178M awarded to National Rural Water Association (NRWA)
  • National Priority Area 4 (private well owners education and outreach) – $1.7M awarded to Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP)

Several of these awardees have arranged to partner with or issue sub-awards to other assistance providers.  As soon as ASDWA better understands which providers have made such arrangements, we will share that information with you.