EPA Awards $12.7 Million to Assist Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems

Today, EPA is awarding $12.7 million in grants to help small drinking and wastewater systems and private well owners.  Since 2009, EPA has provided $95 million in technical assistance grants to assist small drinking water and wastewater systems and private well owners.  Water systems staff will receive training and technical assistance to improve operations and management practices, promote system sustainability, and better protect public health and the environment.  The selected grantees are:

  • $4.0 million each to the National Rural Water Association and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership to help small public water systems across the country achieve and maintain compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • $1.8 million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to improve the financial and managerial capabilities of small public water systems across the country.
  • $1.7 million to the Rural Community Assistance Partnership to inform private drinking water well owners about protecting their drinking water supply and improving water quality.
  • $1.2 million to the National Rural Water Association to improve operational performance at small publicly-owned wastewater systems and decentralized wastewater systems, thereby improving public health and water quality.

Correction – despite the earlier press release from EPA, the $1.2M for wastewater training was actually awarded to RCAP not NRWA.

More than 97 percent of the nation’s 157,000 public drinking water systems serve fewer than 10,000 people, and more than 80 percent of these systems serve fewer than 500 people. Many small systems face unique challenges in providing reliable drinking water and wastewater services that meet federal and state regulations. These challenges can include a lack of financial resources, aging infrastructure, and high staff turnover.

More information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/training-and-technical-assistance-small-systems-funding#rfa

Affordability and Succession Planning Webinar Reminders

Just a Reminder – Two Helpful Webinars from EFCN and AWWA

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

DATE:  September 13, 2016

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  http://efcnetwork.org/events/webinar-rates-high-looking-affordability-water-rates

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.


Succession Planning

DATE:  September 15

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)


With an aging workforce and declining interest and engagement from younger professionals entering the workforce, developing a succession plan is a vital component to managing water infrastructure. This webinar will touch on the topics of recruitment, retention and will do a detailed review of how to develop a succession plan.


Succession Planning Webinar

As part of the ongoing EFCN and AWWA collaboration to provide information for small systems, the latest addition to the series is Succession Planning.

DATE:              Thursday, September 15

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

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7133636214091708673

With an aging workforce and declining interest and engagement from younger professionals entering the workforce, developing a succession plan is a vital component to managing water infrastructure. This webinar will touch on the topics of recruitment, retention, and will do a detailed review of how to develop a succession plan.

Reminder – Risk Assessment Webinar and Discussion Coming Soon!

Just a reminder to register for the latest in the AWWA-EFCN webinar series for small systems titled Determining the Risk Assessment Risk Analysis Discussion and Available Tools.

DATE:              August 24, 2016

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

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6280432783389502978

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. When completing the risk analysis you have to ask two questions about each asset. First, how likely is it that the asset will fail?  And second, what are the consequences if the asset does fail?  There are many things to consider when answering these two questions. 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.

Webinar Questions? Contact Khris Dodson at kdodson@syracusecoe.org.

Training Questions? Contact Kami Johle Butt at kbutt@awwa.org.

EPA Hosts Operator Tools Webinar

EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team is hosting a webinar to reintroduce us to several useful tools that can help small system operators better manage their workloads; help recruit new operators to the program; and help decisionmakers hire the right contract operator for their system

DATE:              August 16, 2016

TIME:               12:30-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      http://login.icohere.com/registration/register.cfm?reg=2968&evt=OpCertTools


This FLYER – Lost and Forgotten Tools of the OpCert Program Webinar (002) contains more information about this event.

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 service@awwa.org.


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)

REGISTER:      www.RD101Aug25.eventbrite.com


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 Irizarry.john@epa.gov.


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)

REGISTER:    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7465059803546637316

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 kdodson@syracusecoe.org.

About small systems training…contact Kami Johle Butt at kbutt@awwa.org

RTCR Webinar for Small Systems

As part of its ongoing series, EPA’s ORD is hosting a new small system focused webinar on RTCR for Small Systems.

DATE:              Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8023398406796187395

This event will offer two presentations – one on Federal RTCR requirements applicable to small systems and the other on RTCR implementation from a state’s perspective (Ohio).  More information about this webinar may be found here ORDSmallSystemsWebinar_June2016