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

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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!

Upcoming Webinars for Small Water Systems

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) is hosting three new webinars focused on small system needs.  Please share these learning opportunities with your state’s small systems, assistance providers, and other interested parties.

  1. ENCOURAGING CUSTOMERS TO CONSERVE – PRICING AND NON-PRICING APPROACHES

DATE:    Thursday, May 31, 2018

TIME:    2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click here

Water systems have a variety of reasons for wanting to encourage conservation, from environmental benefits to limited supply or treatment capacity. This webinar will explore pricing and non-pricing strategies that water systems can use to encourage their customers to conserve water. Attendees will learn how those approaches impact the system’s ability to cover the full cost of providing safe drinking water today and into the future.

 

  1. EPA TOOLS FOR SMALL PUBLIC SYSTEM WATER OPERATORS: ELECTRONIC PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE LOGS

DATE:              Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar features EPA’s updated tool, “Preventive Maintenance for Small Public Water Systems Using Ground Water.” The event will feature the many advantages of implementing a preventative maintenance program. Participants will learn where to find the new electronic preventative maintenance logs and how to use the interactive PDF.

 

  1. HOW TO MOTIVATE YOUR EMPLOYEES AND KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY

DATE:              Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Employees are a utility’s most important asset. How do you maintain this asset so that that employees are happy and motivated when they come to work? Does having happy employees help you have happy customers? Although a utility can’t control when a customer complaint will arise, they can control how employees and leaders handle the situation.

This webinar will teach utilities how to effectively address customer complaints and how to use strategic communication to increase customer and employee satisfaction. The webinar will also explore the relationship between employees and customers.

WaterOperator.org Hosts NCWS Resource Webinars

Our colleagues at WaterOperator.org invite you to help spread the word about two webinar opportunities (same content – just different days) geared toward noncommunity public water systems and those who serve them.

The webinars will introduce their free online course that helps owners and operators of noncommunity public water systems with a groundwater well better understand how to properly care for their water supply. The course curriculum includes the basic science of groundwater, well mechanics, and source water protection best practices.

DATE:              May 29, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

 

DATE:              June 6, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

The webinar will also highlight some of WaterOperator.org’s most interesting features and how to use the site more effectively for your work.

Though the online course and webinar are geared towards noncommunity systems, very small community water supplies using groundwater may also find the information useful.  Please share this opportunity with your water systems, assistance providers, and colleagues with an interest in this subject.

 

EFCN to Host Intermediate Asset Management Webinar

This EFCN Webinar will focus on establishing level of service goals as part of an asset management plan.

DATE:              Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here Register

Establishing level of service goals is one of the most underappreciated steps in asset management planning. Asset management allows utilities to maintain a desired level of service at the lowest life cycle costs. But how do we know if and when we are meeting our “desired” level of service?

This webinar will teach you why small water systems shouldn’t skip this important step of asset management, and simple ways to “level up” your utility’s asset management plan by establishing level of service goals today!

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.

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

EFCN Hosts Two New Small System Webinars

Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network are offering two new small system webinars:

 

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

DATE:              Wednesday, April 25

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

REGISTER:      Register

Saving energy, resources, and operator time benefits water utilities of all sizes. 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.

Intermediate Asset Management – Level Up With Level of Service Goals!

DATE:              Tuesday, May 1

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

REGISTER:      Register

Establishing level of service goals is one of the most underappreciated steps of asset management planning. Asset management allows utilities to maintain a desired level of service at the lowest life cycle costs. But how do we know if and when we are meeting our “desired” level of service?  This webinar will teach you why small water systems shouldn’t skip this important step of asset management, and simple ways to “level up” your utility’s asset management plan by establishing level of service goals today!

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.

EPA Hosts Water Workforce Webinar

Join EPA HQ and water operators in Idaho to learn more about the tools supporting water system operators in their role of protecting public health.  Register today for Supporting the Water Workforce: Tools for Water System Operators:  The Knowledge Retention Tool and Electronic Preventive Maintenance Logs

DATE:              Thursday, March 1, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Whether managing regular system maintenance, preparing for personnel transition, or entering into a partnership with a neighboring system, operators can benefit from incorporating these tools into their system’s management. Presenters from Idaho will share their first-hand experiences using the tools and highlight key features.  Please share this opportunity with your systems, assistance providers, and other state personnel with an interest in workforce issues.