New EFCN/AWWA Webinars

Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) are partnering once again under the competitive grant award from EPA to bring helpful information to small drinking water systems.  See below for the latest in the series.

Determining the Risk:  Asset Management Risk Analysis Discussion and Available Tools

EFCN’s Heather Himmelberger will lead this discussion.

DATE:              August 24, 2016

TIME:               1:30-2:320 (eastern)


One of the five core components of Asset Management is to determine the criticality of each of your assets.  This can be accomplished by completing a risk analysis, which requires you to ask two questions about each asset:  How likely is it that the asset will fail? and What are the consequences if the asset does fail?  This webinar includes a discussion about completing an asset risk analysis, and will review a newly developed tool that can assist you in determining what factors to consider when evaluating probability of failure and consequence of failure by asset category.

Are Your Rates Too High?  Looking at Affordability of Water Rates

EFCN’s Stacey Isaac Berahzer will lead this discussion.

DATE:              September 13, 2016

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


Concerns over affordability often stymie a needed rate increase. In many cases, the utility has not performed the relevant analyses to determine how extensive affordability concerns really are.  This webinar will demonstrate how the “Water and Wastewater Residential Rates Affordability Assessment Tool” can be used to assess the level of affordability in the community, using parameters beyond the Median Household Income (MHI).  The webinar will also include information and resources on how to design an assistance program for those customers who cannot afford their water bills. The programs highlighted will include options related to rates, as well as water efficiency.


AWWA Offers Online Operator Courses

AWWA is beginning a new series of online water treatment operator courses.  Each of the three courses provides 60 hours of training.  Modules consist of pre-recorded presentations, online learning activities, video quizzes and evaluations.  You do not have to be an AWWA member to take a course, but members will receive a discount registration fee.  Fees vary by course.

Level One- Basics (begins July 25):  The Basics course introduces the functions and responsibilities of Level 1 operators, as well as water treatment processes, their uses, characteristics, sizing, and calculations and analyses of these processes.  This information also will help students learn how to prepare for the certification test.  > Register

Level Two- Processes (begins September 12):  This course covers 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.  > Register

 Level Three- Analysis and Applications (begins October 17):  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.  > Register

AWWA is also offering 12 hour courses in more specialized areas.  Again, registration fees are discounted for AWWA members and vary by course.

Level One- Process Monitoring and Control (begins September 19):  Covers devices used to monitor and control processes and equipment in water treatment and distribution systems. > Register

 Level Two- Applications and Tools (begins October 10):  Review applications, tools and technologies available to track, monitor, and maintain equipment, and to represent, locate, and communicate with remote facilities and equipment. There will be a focus on CMMS, GIS, and GPS. > Register

Level Three- Data Management (begins October 31):  Review information management technologies, both server-based and Web hosted. Participants will discuss and compare management systems, as well as applications available for collecting and managing performance data and methods available for storing information online securely.  > Register


If you have questions about any of these courses, please contact AWWA at


What’s Up with USDA Rural Development?

The USDA Rural Development program is hosting a “RD 101” webinar to:

  • Describe their Structure and Mission
  • Explain their Programs
  • Share Funding Opportunities
  • Answer your Questions

DATE:              August 25, 2016

TIME:               10:00AM-Noon (eastern)



Water and Wastewater Competency Model Info Now Available

In June, EPA and the Department of Labor (DOL) partnered to host a webinar to showcase the revisions and updates to the original Water and Wastewater Competency Model.  That original effort arose from a collaboration among water utility organizations and EPA to find a useful way to analyze necessary skills and performance capabilities related to water system operators.  To maximize the webinar reach and to allow those not able to participate in the web event, DOL recorded the webinar and posted the link on the Department’s competency model webpage.

As additional support for the new approach, DOL also wrote a water case summary based on the webinar presentations by Jeff Oxenford (RCAP) and David Dani (Colorado Drinking Water Program) which showed how the state adapted the competency model within its operator training and education program and how technical assistance providers used that competency model to work with the state.

Below are the links for the model itself, the webinar, and the water case summary.  If you have any questions, please contact John Irizarry, EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team, at


Keys to Recruiting Qualified Water Utility Staff

Just a reminder – AWWA and EFCN are partnering to bring you great information about how to maximize a water system’s ability to attract and retain good staff.

DATE:             July 21, 2016

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


Attendees will learn to:

  • Recognize the barriers to attracting qualified water operators and other water industry employees
  • Identify the benefits to working in the water industry and utilize those “selling points” to attract qualified employees
  • Frame job descriptions, postings and other recruitment tools in a way that attracts job seekers, especially millennials
  • Target recruitment efforts and establish plans to find future employees.


About the webinar…contact Khris Dodson at

About small systems training…contact Kami Johle Butt at

Do You Know About Community Based Social Marketing?

Our colleagues at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Environmental Finance Center have written a very interesting article about this process.  They write that, “CBSM uses social science research to identify barriers to the adoption of preferred behaviors and enhance their benefits once adopted. This strategy emphasizes direct contact among community members and the removal of structural barriers to encourage sustainable behaviors.”

So, how does this work for water systems in the ‘real world’?  The article uses the dilemma of promoting water conservation while, at the same time, maintaining necessary revenues for water system operation as the example of how CBSM can work.  It also provides some utility-specific examples to further illustrate the process.

Finally, the article states that, “the marketing practice is pragmatic and data-driven; it emphasizes a five-step process:

  • Identify barriers and benefits of a behavior or activity
  • Develop strategy that uses tested tools to overcome identified barriers
  • Conduct pilot of the strategy across a given community
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of pilot program
  • Implement a strategy based on what was learned from the pilot”

To learn more about CBSM and to read the full article, please go to