NRWA’s New Workforce Apprenticeship Program

Last November, ASDWA attended the formal signing of an agreement between NRWA and the US Department of Labor to launch and support a workforce apprenticeship program.  That agreement reflects nearly two years of effort culminating in the National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards for Water and Wastewater System Operations Specialists.

The program supports a two-year registered apprenticeship.  Participants, or apprentices, are placed at a water utility where they receive 4,000 hours of on the job training and an additional 288 hours of training and instruction by state rural water association staff.  Thus far, the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water has developed a program, submitted and received approval from the Department of Labor, and is the first state to have a Registered Apprenticeship Program using the jointly developed national standards.

For more information on this effort, please contact your state’s rural water association.  To read more about the program, please visit the NRWA website https://nrwa.org/ and click on the magazine link under the “News and Media” tab.

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EPA Leans in to Water System Partnerships

EPA has launched a new interactive website https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/water-system-partnerships to increase awareness about the benefits of drinking water partnerships.  EPA describes partnerships as “…tools to help address the challenges water systems face, with options ranging from informal arrangements, such as sharing equipment, to transferring ownership of a system through consolidation.

Drinking water system partnerships provide opportunities to increase capacity by working together to solve compliance challenges, share costs of operations and maintenance activities, and leverage other resources. EPA’s new website highlights ways partnerships can address these challenges, leading to enhanced public health by working together and sharing information.

The Partnerships website also outlines benefits for state programs such as improved compliance, resource savings, improved customer relations and the potential for a reduction in the number of systems to be regulated.  There’s also a clickable map that briefly describes, by state, the available types of partnership resources.

EPA’s Water System Partnership website provides states, communities, utilities and others with a user-friendly interface to explore the different types of partnerships, success stories across the nation, and national and state resources.  We encourage you to check it out!

EFCN Hosts January Webinars

Time for New Year’s resolutions!  Why not brush up on your water pricing and asset mapping skills?  Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) are offering two new webinars for the month of January…

 

Pricing Water for Full Cost Recovery – How Different Rate Structures Impact Different Customers

DATE:              Thursday, January 18

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

REGISTER:      Register

Water rates should ideally bring in enough revenue to cover the cost of providing water service today and into the future. This webinar will demonstrate how water systems can calculate price levels under different rate structures to achieve full cost recovery and then look at how those various rate structures impact a range of customers with different levels of monthly water consumption

Intermediate Asset Management – Benefits of Mapping Your Assets

DATE:              Tuesday, January 30

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

REGISTER:      Register

Mapping your system’s assets and collecting asset inventory data can provide tremendous benefit to your system, including operations and maintenance efficiency, emergency response/repair, short and long-term capital planning, and knowledge management. Gathering this information and turning it into actionable data and knowledge through proper visualization of the data can aid decision-making. This hour-long webinar will discuss techniques and tools you can use to begin your asset inventory and system map, as well how these activities can begin your overall asset management program.

Talking About Water Loss…

  During ASDWA’s October 2017 Annual Conference, the topic of water loss and water audits came up.  What tools are out there that might be helpful in trying to prevent, identify, and correct water loss in a community?  One free tool is AWWA’s Water Audit Software.  You may download it at no cost here from AWWA’s website.

Their description of this audit tool includes the following…This spreadsheet-based water audit tool [is] designed to help quantify and track water losses associated with water distribution systems and identify areas for improved efficiency and cost recovery…Version 5.0 introduces a new Water Loss Dashboard with interactive graphical analyses as well as a new Comments page allowing the water auditor to capture essential information pertaining to the audit (data sources, assumptions, calculations, etc.). In addition, the overall color scheme and layout have also been improved

Take a look at this tool and consider recommending it to your water systems that may be experiencing water loss.

Want to Talk Asset Management?

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) is hosting another webinar in their “Ask the Expert” series.  This month, they are focusing on asset management.

The webinar, Ask the Expert: A Unique Opportunity to Ask Your Asset Management Questions or Seek Advice on How to Begin, is scheduled for:

DATE:              Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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

REGISTER:      Click Register

If your water systems have been to an asset management training or have considered or even started asset management activities, they probably have generated many questions about the process. For example, “Where is a good place to start?” or “What options do I have for mapping my system?” or “How do I number my assets?  They may have specific questions regarding something they’ve tried and had difficulty with. This webinar will provide individuals with a unique opportunity to ask any and all questions about asset management or implementing asset management.  State staff should also participate in this Q&A event…you never know what you may learn!

One AWWA Operator Scholarship

Our colleagues at WaterOperator.org frequently find interesting information to share.  In their most recent (August 18) newsletter, they write about a scholarship opportunity for water system operators available through AWWA sections.  See below for the article…

The One AWWA Operator Scholarship is a partnership between AWWA and its sections to address the need for present and future operators.  This scholarship allows each section to provide educational and training scholarships for operators. These can be used for water-related associate degrees, technical school programs, professional training programs, books, manuals and operator-focused conferences.

The Scholarship will be awarded at the section-level using each individual section’s application, criteria and deadlines. Many sections already offer scholarships, and the One AWWA Operator Scholarship will simply follow existing processes. Want to find out more? Contact Michelle Hektor at AWWA.

Thanks to WaterOperator.org for sharing such useful information!

A States ‘Save the Date’

  ASDWA and EPA’s Water Finance Center are joining forces to bring you information about a new resource – the Water Finance Clearinghouse.  We are planning for an hour-long webinar from 1:00-2:00PM (eastern) on September 28.

As stated on the Center’s website, “The Water Finance Center provides financing information to help local decision makers make informed decisions for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure to protect human health and the environment.”  The new Clearinghouse is a searchable database of information on available financing tools drawn from state programs, city and county initiatives, and utility organization tools and strategies.  You can also search for information on funding availability such as SRFs, CDBG funding, foundation-supported grant programs, etc.

So, mark your calendars today and stay tuned for more information about this web opportunity targeted specifically for state drinking water program staff.

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.

ABC Tests New Exam

Our colleagues at the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) are sharing information about their new standardized exams for water treatment, wastewater treatment, collection, and distribution operator certification.  The new exams will not include any regulations-based content.  States may opt for a separate program-specific module.  Although the operator will view it as a single testing experience, it will be a separate test with separate scoring.  ABC is piloting the new test now and hopes to have results by the end of the summer.

For details on the new testing protocol, an explanation of the rationale behind the change, and more information on testing options and scoring, please click this link to read the ABC letter.  Letter to Industry on Pilot and Standardized exams  Questions should be directed to ABC at abc@abccert.org

 

 

 

Reminder – Water Audits & Water Loss Control Webinar Series – Part 3

Water Audits and Water Loss Control:  I’ve Completed My Water Audit, Now What? is Part 3 of a series of webinars (earlier presentations on data gathering for an audit and how to enter data into a spreadsheet took place in March) presented jointly by AWWA and EFCN.

DATE:              May 3, 2017

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

REGISTER:      https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3619247413658296577

This webinar will help participants to:

  • Understand the need to examine data validity before taking any other actions
  • Understand the tools that can be used to address unbilled metered usage, apparent losses, and real losses
  • Learn how to base the use of tools on the volumes and values of each category.

Separately, our AWWA colleagues are offering a no cost training opportunity via eLearning:

2-hour Financial Sustainability for Small Systems eLearning Course:  This eLearning course focuses on 3 major areas needed by small systems to achieve financial sustainability; including understanding enterprise funds and their revenues, as well as an overview of what is needed to protect public health through safe water.  > Register