Water Systems Council WellCare Takes on Preparedness

Many of you may already be familiar with WellCare, a feature of the Water Systems Council that works with private well owners.  They have put together a variety of useful resources and recommendations for well owners.  We encourage you to share these recommendations with private well owners in your communities. Please read below for more information.

Don’t let your summer become a bummer by being unprepared if your water well is impacted by a flood or natural disaster. We’ve gathered all the resources you’ll need to maintain and manage your water well in the event of an emergency, so keep reading!

Be Prepared:  #Itonlytakesone storm to demolish an entire town. Be prepared before these storms strike! Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. There are many resources available to help with #HurricanePrep and preparation for other natural disasters:

Emergencies/Disasters and Wells:  If a natural disaster has occurred on or near your property, there are some things you need to know about your drinking water supply. If in doubt about your water supply, follow local or state health department drinking and bathing advisories. Remember that there is danger of electrical shock from any electrical device that has been flooded; consult a certified electrician. Rubber boots and gloves are not adequate protection from electrical shock.

Septic systems should not be used immediately after floods. Drain fields will not work until underground water has receded. Septic lines may have been broken during flooding or other storms. Contact a local septic service immediately. Only trained specialists should clean or repair septic tanks because tanks may contain dangerous gases. In most emergency situations, obtaining bottled water is the most commonly promoted way to access safe drinking water. Do not rely on water treatment filters or devices that are NOT certified for microbial reduction as they may not provide the protection necessary for emergency situations. Consult a water professional or manufacturer for more information.  However, if the water only needs to be disinfected to be potable, there are four main options to treat water to make it safe for consumption:

  • Boiling
  • Chlorination
  • Distillation
  • Water treatment devices certified for microbial reduction of bacteria, cysts, and viruses

Prepare yourself in advance by downloading our wellcare® Information Sheet on Emergencies & Disasters and Wells and by finding the emergency agencies in your state on our Emergency Agencies interactive map.. The wellcare® Hotline can also help!

Managing a Flooded Well:  If you live in an area that was recently flooded, your private well may be in danger of contamination from pollutants carried by flood water or at risk of shock from waterlogged well equipment. Here are some steps you should follow after a flood:

  • Do not drink or wash with your well water. You could get sick from contaminants washed into the well by the flood.
  • Do not turn on the well pump. There is a danger of electrical shock and damage to your well or pump if they were flooded.
  • Contact your water well contractor for help in dealing with the impacts of the flood on your water quality and well system.

You should suspect water contamination any time your well casing becomes flooded, if your well is shallow and you are near areas that have been flooded, or if you notice taste, color, or sediment changes in your water. Find a safe alternative source for drinking, cooking, and washing until a water test proves your water is safe. If you can’t find a convenient source of safe water, boil your well water vigorously for one minute. If you live in an altitude greater than one mile above sea level, increase boiling time to three minutes.

Many times when your area experiences flooding or a natural disaster, your local health department or state environmental agency will provide free or low cost testing for well owners. If free or low cost water testing is not available, visit our Water Well Testing page. For more information on managing a flooded well, download Managing a Flooded Well.

Disinfecting a Well: If your well has been flooded, you will need to disinfect it. Luckily, disinfecting your well at home is fairly simple using household bleach and food grade white vinegar. Make sure to use a new bottle of unscented bleach, as it can lose potency over time. Don’t use stabilized swimming pool chlorine products or non-chlorinated “pool shock” products, as they are not effective enough to clean drinking water. Watch this video to see how it’s done.

Drought and Wells: Summer can also deliver drought conditions that can result in problems for your water well. During periods of drought, there are some things you can do to manage water levels and help prevent your well from going dry:

  • Measure water levels — Knowing the exact yield of your well is critical to managing the use of water or considering options to expand the supply.
  • Manage water levels — If you have a low yielding well – producing less than five gallons per minute – you should be very careful how much demand you place on it. Conserve water as much as possible.
  • Add water storage — Adding storage can help provide greater capacity when water levels are low and allows your well to rest and recharge. Bonus! It helps prolong the life of your well pump as it reduces the need for your pump to cycle as often.

Ask your water well contractor about some other options to reach water within your existing well. Download our wellcare® Information Sheet on Drought and Your Well for additional tips on managing your well during a drought.

Well Financing Options: Too often, urgently needed water well repair is not done because well owners cannot afford it. This video from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) shows the financing options available for well owners. Additional resources for obtaining financing for water well repair or improvements include the Water Well Trust, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), and USDA Rural Development

Water Testing for Irrigation Wells: When testing the quality of water that is used for gardening and lawn irrigation, several specific measurements will help determine the effect the water will have on soil and plants. For example, water containing high concentrations of sodium can decrease plant growth. Other substances present in water may clog household irrigation systems and discolor walkways and exteriors including physical solids such as sand and silt, and dissolved solids like hardness, iron, and manganese. Learn more about the water tests that are important for gardening and lawn irrigation. Download our wellcare® Information Sheet on Testing Water for Gardening and Lawn Irrigation

More Free Resources: Available for free download: Real Estate Professionals: Buying or Selling a Home with a Well and Renting a Home with a Well

For more assistance or information, call the wellcare® Hotline at 888-395-1033, complete an online form, or chat with us live!

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New England Water Works Offers Board Training Basics

Our colleagues at the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) have a web page devoted to online learning.  One of the areas of focus is Water Board or Commissioner training.  Based on a 2014 EPA Reference Guide, the online update is divided into three modules:

  1. Roles & Responsibilities and Communication
  2. Budgets & Planning for the Future
  3. From source to Tap – Treatment & Distribution Overview

The goal is for board members or commissioners to acquire a basic understanding of issues such as setting water rates and working effectively with water system operators.

 

For more information, please click this link.

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).

NEW:  Knowledge Retention and Preventive Maintenance Log Tools

 

 

EPA has released two interactive tools to support water system operators in providing safe drinking water and protecting public health: the Knowledge Retention Tool and the Electronic Preventive Maintenance Logs.  Both resources can be found at this link, and are available for immediate download.

The Knowledge Retention Tool is a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet to record system management information in a single location, helping to increase organization and coordination among operators.  Designed to assist in personnel transition, the tool encompasses a wide variety of information that a new or contract operator would need to effectively manage and operate a small water system.

The Electronic Preventive Maintenance Logs are an electronic update (zip file) to the Preventive Maintenance Card File for Small Public Water Systems Using Ground Water released in 2004.  This tool includes fillable pdf logs for each month, this tool includes common daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, and a suggested schedule of annual tasks, which assist water system operators in planning and recording preventive operation and maintenance tasks for small drinking water systems.  This tool is designed to equip operators with many of the resources necessary to maintain SDWA compliance and provide safe drinking water to the communities they serve.

Questions?  Please contact EPA’s Leslie Temple at temple.leslie@epa.gov

Come Learn About Funding Basics

 

 

Join EPA and USDA to learn about Small System Funding opportunities through the DWSRF and through financing by the USDA Rural Utilities’ Service Water and Environmental Programs.

DATE:              February 27, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click Here

EPA DWSRF:  Since its inception, more than 50% of the loans made under Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program have supported project needs of small systems service fewer than 3,300.  In addition to infrastructure funding, the DWSRF may also provide technical assistance to water systems and fund other system capacity building and operator certification activities.

USDA RUS WEP:  This program focuses exclusively on financing water and waste infrastructure needs of rural communities with 10,000 or fewer people.  WEP not only provides financial assistance for water and wastewater improvements, but also provides critical technical assistance to rural communities and their water and wastewater systems.

EFCN and AWWA Host Water System Management and Finance for Board Members Webinar

  

This webinar, Water System Management and Finance for Board Members, is designed to be an educational tool to assist board/council members in understanding and operating their water business.

DATE:              Wednesday, November 29

TIME:               3:00-4:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6918675100844301058

Water is a business! It is also the foundation of your community’s jobs and future. Like any business, there are risks and options, but is your board/council keeping them in mind? Boards/councils need to know the pros and cons concerning managerial and financial decisions about water. In fact, their job is making the right choices about complex managerial and financial decisions of running a high quality water utility. Yes, it takes time to keep up on the laws, regulations, and rules. However, as a board/council member, you are personally responsible.

EPA to Host DWSRF Set-Asides and Eligibility Handbook Webinar

EPA invites you to register and attend a webinar titled Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Capacity Building in Action:  Analysis of the Use of DWSRF Set-asides and the DWSRF Eligibility Handbook.

DATE:              Wednesday, November 29

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

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3718129797900846850

This webinar will highlight two EPA documents – Analysis of the Use of DWSRF Set-asides and the DWSRF Eligibility Handbook. These documents describe the variety of ways that DWSRF funds can be used for infrastructure improvements as well as programmatic activities and technical assistance through the set-asides. The webinar will also include discussion of state examples that are highlighted in the documents.

Webinar – Training Your Board Members

The Environmental Finance Center Network in collaboration with AWWA are hosting a webinar titled Water System Management and Finance for Board Members

DATE:              Wednesday, November 29

TIME:               3:00-4:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click Register

This webinar is designed to be an educational tool to assist board/council members in understanding and operating their water business.

Water is a business! City Councils and rural water district boards have a lot to consider: water pressure, meeting all federal and state regulations and standards, and making rates affordable. In fact, their job is making the right choices about complex managerial and financial decisions of running a high quality water utility. Boards/councils need to know the pros and cons concerning managerial and financial decisions about water. Like any business, there are risks and options, but is your board/council keeping them in mind?

 

Sign up today for this webinar and find out!

EPA Posts New Asset Management Best Practices Doc and Hosts Webinar

The new asset management document, Successfully Protecting Your Investment in Drinking Water Infrastructure: Best Practices from Communities and Local Experts, is now on the website and EPA is co-hosting a roll-out webinar with USDA.

DATE:              Wednesday, August 30

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3612921926027444225

Two case studies from the document will be highlighted.  Presenters Larry Paine (Hillsboro, KS) and Mario Leone (Monaca Borough, PA) will discuss some of the challenges faced by their water systems and how asset management provided them with solutions and benefits for their communities.

EPA SST Publishes Workgroup Best Practices Guide

The new asset management document, titled Successfully Protecting Your Investment In Drinking Water Infrastructure: Best Practices from Communities and Local Experts, is now posted on the EPA website!

https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/successfully-protecting-your-investment-drinking-water-infrastructure-0

The document reflects the efforts and contributions of the Asset Management workgroup (2015-2016) established under the 2015 National Capacity Development & Operator Certification Workshop.  Please share the document with others in your state who have an interest in asset management and drinking water infrastructure.

EPA is planning to host a roll-out webinar in August that will feature presentations from some of the local decision makers included in the document.  Look for more information in the near term.