Mark Your Calendars!

Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network will be hosting three web events in November that you may have an interest in.  We also encourage you to share these webinar opportunities with your water systems.

GRANT WRITING 101

 DATE:              Thursday, November 8

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

REGISTER:      Register Online

This webinar will introduce the basics of grant writing. You will learn how to craft more competitive grant applications and increase the success rate of your submissions.

We will focus on:

  • How to identify priority projects
  • Potential funding alternatives
  • Planning for a proposal
  • Mechanics of grant writing
  • How to find funding opportunities

We will also discuss how relationship building can support your proposal and how best to convey the needs of your organization to grant reviewers.

 

COLLECTING BREAK DATA:  WHY, HOW, AND WHAT FOR

DATE:              Tuesday, November 13

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

REGISTER:      Register Online

Does your system have water main leaks and breaks? Even if the answer isn’t yes right now, it will be in the future. All utilities suffer from pipe leaks and breaks. How can you best deal with this problem? One way is to collect as much information as possible on the leaks and breaks to help you address the issue in the future.

Collecting break data may be easier than you think, and if you collect the right information, it can be leveraged and analyzed to provide insight into system performance, pipe condition, operations and maintenance issues, water losses, developing and tracking level of service goals, and more. It also provides invaluable information for creating capital improvement plans.

In this webinar, we will discuss what kinds of break data you can and should collect, how to collect it, and demonstrate different ways that you can analyze that data to develop and meet your operational goals.

 

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS: SUPPORTING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE AND IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE

DATE:     Thursday, November 15

TIME:     2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Register Online

Every day, regional development organizations (RDOs) are working to improve the lives of residents in communities across the country. Known locally as councils of governments, regional planning commissions, economic development districts, and other names, RDOs provide various types of support to their member communities in a host of service areas. RDOs can open the door to grant and loan funding, provide administrative support, and supply valuable staff support and access to technology. For rural places in particular, they can play a critical role in towns that may have limited capacity and resources. This webinar will provide an overview of RDOs and share case studies of RDOs in action across the country supporting their region’s water systems.

Advertisements

State-Focused Webinar on the Latest EPA Training and Technical Assistance Grants for Small Drinking Water systems and Private Well Owners

DATE:              Thursday, November 1, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

EPA has awarded $25.4 million to 3 organizations (National Rural Water Association, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, and the Environmental Finance Center Network) to provide training and technical assistance to small drinking water system personnel to address common issues they face, such as lack of revenue, deteriorating infrastructure, lack of operations and maintenance planning, inadequate training, and poor performance. Assistance and training will also be provided to private well owners to help them better understand well performance, how to protect their drinking water quality, treatment options available, and where to seek assistance. These grants come with a two year performance period.

This event is designed specifically for state drinking water program personnel and EPA Regional staff.  Please join us for the webinar to learn more about each program!

Have questions?  Please contact Susanna Bains at EPA HQ bains.susanna@epa.gov

AWWA Offers Free Op Cert Exam Prep Materials

Our colleagues at AWWA are offering two helpful reference sheets – one on math and one on chemistry – that operators may find useful as they study for their certification exams.  As AWWA says, “These reference sheets contain useful formulas, conversions and other pieces of information that you may need to know for your operator certification exam.  Check with your state for more specific instructions on what you need to know.”

 

Joint Webinar – DWSRF and Capacity Building in Action – Workforce Development and Operator Training

Interested in learning about how DWSRF set-asides can be used for workforce development and operator training activities?

DATE:              Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click Here

Join EPA DWSRF and Sustainable Systems Teams for a webinar to hear about Iowa’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Technology Diploma Program, Tennessee’s Fleming Training Center for operators, and EPA’s workforce resources and tools.

WEBINAR:  Renewing the Water Workforce: Improving Water Infrastructure and Creating a Pipeline to Opportunity

Our colleague, Jane Thapa, Operator Certification Coordinator in the New York Department of Health, forwarded this webinar opportunity from The Water Research Foundation (WRF).  Thanks, Jane!

DATE:              August 28, 2018

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

REGISTER:      https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1204453&tp_key=c7271668a7

Hosted by WRF, this free webcast will explore the findings of Renewing the Water Workforce: Improving Water Infrastructure and Creating a Pipeline to Opportunity, published by the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institute. This research provides insight on the nation’s 1.7 million water workers, including data on wages, skills, and demographics. The speakers will also present actionable strategies—a new water workforce playbook—that all types of leaders can use in future hiring, training, and retention efforts.

As the U.S. economy continues to grow, many communities are struggling to translate this growth into more equitable and inclusive employment opportunities. Meanwhile, many of our infrastructure assets are in urgent need of repair or restoration, and the workers needed to carry out these efforts are in short supply. These two challenges offer an enormous economic opportunity: infrastructure is well positioned to offer more durable careers to a wide variety of workers. The United States needs a new generation of skilled workers to design, construct, operate, and govern our various infrastructure systems. It falls to water utilities, workforce development partners, and local, state, and national leaders to develop a water workforce to meet ongoing demands, ideally connected to the diverse residents and communities they serve.

Just in Case You Missed It…

The small system drinking water support community is a collaborative one.  We often support each other by re-sharing information.  In this case, we are sharing resource news that you may have received from our partners at wateroperator.org or from your regional RCAP organization.  In any case, we believe that the information below should be useful to you in your work with small drinking water systems.

Did you know that over 20 training modules on water & wastewater topics are available on Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP)’s resource library website?

These modules include guides/notes for trainers, training logistics guidance, fillable/customizable PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, answer keys, grading criteria, diagrams, spreadsheet tools and more. Many training modules can be downloaded as .zip files, and can include word documents, .pdf’s, annotated PowerPoints, spreadsheets, and photos.

Available topics include: Distribution, Operations & Maintenance Planning, Water Loss, Water Quality in Storage Facilities, Wastewater System Safety, Wastewater System Safety, Wastewater Sampling & Preservation, Wastewater Lagoons & Oxidation Ponds, Energy Efficiency for Wastewater Plants, Discharge Monitoring, Chemistry for Water Operators, Principles of Wastewater Disinfection & Chlorination, Basic Hydraulics and Pumps, and more.

For those interested in implementing these trainings, a good first step might be to check out this presentation on best practices in leading workshops. This presentation covers proven engagement and knowledge retention techniques to help you make the most of your time and efforts.

Certification Prep Tools from AWWA

Our colleagues at the American Water Works Association are offering two opportunities – a free app and a pre-order form for a certification exam prep workbook.  Read below for more information…

Download the free app today and get started studying…

Study Anywhere
No internet connection required.
Vetted by Experts
Q&As have been reviewed by water industry experts.
Track Your Progress
Understand where you need to focus with detailed results and cumulative history charts.
Access on Multiple Devices
Study on your phone, tablet, or desktop. Login to any device and see where you left off.
See Answers Explained
Every math question includes a detailed explanation.
Study by Subject or Level
Questions can be sorted by subject matter and both intro and advanced question sets are available.

 

The app includes 20 free sample questions and additional question sets are only $19 each!

For more information, click https://awwaexamprep.com/

Get the new exam prep book…

1,400+ all-new practice questions and answers so that you can take your water operator certification exam with confidence!

  • Vetted and approved by water industry experts
  • Meets the latest ABC Need-to-Know Criteria
  • Arranged by subject matter and topic for easy reference

Available for Pre-Order | Arrives in AWWA Warehouse next week.

For more information, click https://www.awwa.org/store/productdetail.aspx?productid=66247620

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

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

WaterOperator.org – A Very Helpful Resource

Editor’s Note:  ASDWA invited WaterOperator.org to share some basic info about the program and highlight how it can be used as a resource for both state staff and small system operators.

As a primacy agency, you likely work with a limited and often-shrinking budget to carry out the programs delegated to you under the Safe Drinking Water Act. How you carry out your public health protection duties may look different from your neighboring states, but you share the problem of not having enough time and resources to support your systems the way you would like to.

U.S. EPA’s funding for training and technical assistance is designed to fill in some of those gaps and do so with a national perspective, creating opportunities to serve primacy agencies and water systems alike.  WaterOperator.org is a prime example.

Started in 2009 at the University of Illinois under the USEPA technical assistance centers program, WaterOperator.org provides easy access and relevant information to support you and your water systems. The completely free and unbiased website focuses on the challenges specific to small systems and houses a national training calendar and vast resource library, as well as delivers a twice-monthly newsletter.

Here are some of the key problems with using online information and the solutions WaterOperator.org provides:

  1. Helpful resources buried in confusing websites. Information is hard to find, sometimes even on your own agency’s website. Even if you know what you’re looking for, it can sometimes be a real challenge and time commitment to locate the information. WaterOperator.org provides value-added information for more than 18,000 free and publicly available resources, accessible via a nested search engine. The resources are constantly updated and leverage the best materials from over 800 state and federal agencies, technical assistance providers, trainers, and industry associations. If your website doesn’t have it, chances are someone else around the country does. And with WaterOperator.org, you can find it quickly and easily.

 

  1. Training events spread across multiple pages and sites. Within your jurisdiction, how many organizations are providing drinking water training to your systems? It is likely more than a dozen. WaterOperator.org indexes over 11,000 training events every year, all in one easy to search calendar, so you can feel confident sending operators, utility managers, and local decision-makers to it. WaterOperator.org’s staff has done the legwork to make it easy for you.

 

  1. Lack of time to keep abreast of industry news. Your day to day focuses on helping water systems protect public health. Travel to conferences and staying up to date on drinking water issues is not always easy or possible. WaterOperator.org’s staff are consistently searching for relevant information to support you. Their newsletter, which comes as an email twice each month, provides useful news you can use and share with the communities you serve. Every issue features a free upcoming webinar led by an industry organization, technical assistance provider, or compliance agency, as well as information on the newest resources available.

There’s no substitute for the face-to-face support you provide your water systems.  However, WaterOperator.org provides you access to information that saves time and effort by putting the best news, resources, and training events in one easy-to-access place.

WaterOperator.org is a collaboration between the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the University of Illinois, funded by the USEPA. The best way to remember this essential tool is by signing up for the WaterOperator.org newsletter. If you and your staff would like more information or a demo of the site, contact WaterOperator.org at info@wateroperator.org.