Talking About Lead

Lead service lines, lead solder, lead in schools – these are hot topics regardless of where you live, the size of your community, and the source of your drinking water.  Everyone is scrambling to decide how best to remove lead as a drinking water contaminant.  But while the scientists and regulators are figuring all of this out, what do you say when your friends, neighbors, colleagues, or customers tell you about what they’ve heard or read?

Our colleagues at AWWA have developed a free toolkit, Lead and Drinking Water: Talking with Your Community, that discusses how to get your message out and what the basics of that message might be.  Go to www.awwa.org/leadcommunications and click on each of the four key resource elements:

  • Reach Your Customers
  • Tell the Whole Story
  • Engage Partners
  • Help Schools.

These links include templates for brochures, fact sheets, sample collection procedures, and presentations that you can use when talking to schools.  While not all of the materials may be right for a small system, they can be inspiration for systems to development their own messages.  The title document also contains a list of additional resources such as websites for EPA, CDC, and the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative.

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EPA Awards Competitive Grants in a New Two Year Cycle

WASHINGTON (April 11,2018) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the award of more than $25 million in grants to help the country’s small drinking and wastewater systems and private well owners better protect public health and the environment.

“These grants will fund critical workforce development trainings that will help small systems improve operations and identify when repairs to drinking and wastewater infrastructure are needed in local communities,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA is committed to working with our partners in the states to provide all Americans with clean and safe water.”

Funding will be used to provide small public drinking water and wastewater systems with training and technical assistance to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, improve operational performance, and help inform private drinking water well owners about protecting their drinking water supply and improving water quality. The training and assistance will also help system operators identify when critical infrastructure upgrades are needed and how EPA can help support those efforts, which is consistent with the goals and objectives of President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan.

The grantees are:

  • National Rural Water Association
    • $8.1 million: Provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Rural Community Assistance Partnership
    • $8.1 million: Provide training and technical assistance for small public water systems to achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act
    • $2.2 million: Work with small publicly-owned wastewater and on-site/decentralized wastewater systems to improve water quality
    • $3.4 million: Work with private well owners to improve water quality
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (on behalf of the Environmental Finance Center Network)
    • $3.6 million: Help small drinking water systems improve financial and managerial capacity to provide safe drinking water.

“The EPA grant support of NRWA has provided critical training and technical assistance to small systems across the country for many years,” said Matthew Holmes, NRWA Deputy CEO. This grant has assisted NRWA in establishing a leading nationwide program for Operator Certification Training, Continuing Education training sessions and SDWA compliance support. NRWA looks forward to continuing the program through 2018-2019.”

“RCAP is honored and excited to continue our partnership with EPA,” said Nathan Ohle, Executive Director, RCAP, Inc. These programs help provide small water and wastewater system staff and private well owners with technical assistance and training to ensure that every community across the country is protecting its public health and creating sustainable long-term solutions to drinking water and wastewater issues. Our partnership with EPA is vital to ensuring that small systems have the skills and expertise needed to support the water and wastewater systems that are so important to their community.”

“The Environmental Finance Center Network is grateful that EPA has selected us to continue our work with small drinking water systems on finance and management issues,” said Glenn Barnes, Associate Director, Environmental Finance Center at The University of North Carolina. “Over the last five years, we have worked with water systems of all kinds to address the same challenges: having appropriate revenues, getting the longest life out of infrastructure, having the right staff, accessing funding programs, reducing water and energy inefficiencies, and communicating to decision makers and to the public at large. We are excited for the opportunity to help these water systems better run their operations so that they can continue to provide clean, safe drinking water today and into the future”.

More than 97 percent of the nation’s 150,000 public water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80 percent of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many systems face unique challenges in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations.

For more information on EPA’s programs and tools to help small water systems, visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity

EPA’s Monthly Small Water System Webinar Series

Registration is now open for EPA’s Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar on Simultaneous Compliance: Considerations for Adjusting Treatment.

DATE:              April 24, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This is a two-part broadcast that will consider both simultaneous compliance considerations and best practices (presented by Mike Finn, Office of Water) and the performance of full scale treatment systems for removal of co-occurring inorganic contaminants (presented by Tom Sorg, Office of Research & Development).

EFCN Tackles Cost Saving Technologies and Level of Service

Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) are offering two webinars of interest to state drinking water programs and the water systems they oversee.

  1. Technologies to Save Energy, Resources, and Time in Water System Operations

DATE:              April 25

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will provide attendees with information on some of the fundamental technologies allowing for efficient utility operation. We’ll answer the question, “What in the world is SCADA?” We will also discuss electric motor controls, remote monitoring in utility operations, and some niche and emerging technologies and how they may increase utility efficiency.

  1. Intermediate Asset Management – Level Up with Level of Service Goals!

DATE:              May 1

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Establishing level of service goals is one of the most unappreciated steps in asset management planning.  This webinar will teach you why small water systems shouldn’t skip this important step and simple ways to “level up” a utility’s asset management plan by establishing level of service goals.