EFCN Tackles Cost Saving Technologies and Level of Service

Our colleagues at the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) are offering two webinars of interest to state drinking water programs and the water systems they oversee.

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

DATE:              April 25

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

REGISTER:      Click here

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.

  1. Intermediate Asset Management – Level Up with Level of Service Goals!

DATE:              May 1

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Establishing level of service goals is one of the most unappreciated steps in asset management planning.  This webinar will teach you why small water systems shouldn’t skip this important step and simple ways to “level up” a utility’s asset management plan by establishing level of service goals.

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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

Addressing Affordability – AWWA Webinar

If you are an AWWA member, this event is free of charge.  Non-members must pay a $125 webinar registration fee.

DATE:              February 28

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

REGISTER:      Here

This webinar is an introduction to several models and approaches utilities are currently using to assist low-income customers and the tools the utilities are using to effectively reach low-income communities.  These models are presented against the backdrop of “Navigating Legal Pathways to Rate-Funded Customer Assistance Programs.”  Implementing a customer assistance program (CAP) is a way to ameliorate the effect of high water bills on vulnerable and low-income customers, an important and complex issue in many communities. This webinar will give examples of different customer assistance programs currently utilized by utilities and an overview of rate-funded CAPs.

NEW Webinar – Demystifying Electric Bills and Water Rates

Our colleagues at EFCN are hosting another webinar for states and utilities.  Demystifying Electric Bills:  Common Energy Bill Elements and Making Sense of Rate Structures is next on their agenda.

DATE:              Thursday, March 8, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

Providing drinking water and wastewater requires energy – and a lot of it. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the cost of energy, as a percent of operating costs for drinking water system, can reach as high as 40 percent and is expected to increase 20 percent in the next 15 years. Though many operational costs may be fixed costs, energy costs represent the largest controllable cost of providing water services. Understanding your energy bill and knowing what you are paying for is important for every water utility.

DWSRF and Capacity Building in Action: Identifying and Prioritizing Systems for DWSRF Assistance

Continuing their ongoing joint webinar series, EPA’s DWSRF and Sustainable Systems Teams are hosting a webinar for states to discuss ways that you can identify and prioritize systems in need of DWSRF assistance.

 

DATE:              Wednesday, March 7

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Join us to learn how Delaware and Pennsylvania collaborated with EPA Region 3 in using EPA’s Enforcement Tracking Tool (ETT) to identify systems in non-compliance, and how assistance was provided to return the systems to compliance and protect public health.

 

Connecting Private Wells and Source Water Protection

Our colleagues at PrivateWellClass.org have developed the following article to help state drinking water programs think proactively about private wells, how to help their owners maintain them, and the connections between private wells and source water protection.

Improperly managed private water wells are a source of ground water contamination but are sometimes overlooked in the source water protection conversation. Activities typically focus on identifying and managing potential sources of contamination within a watershed, such as agricultural operations, leaking underground storage tanks, and storm water runoff. While these are undoubtedly significant and common, it’s important not to underestimate the impact that 15 million private wells have on source water quality. RCAP’s private well program, funded by EPA’s training and technical assistance grants, has elevated awareness of this issue within the public water supply community and worked to improve public health protection for the 47 million Americans who use private well water.

A majority of well owners don’t know how to care for their well, determine if their water is safe to drink, or protect groundwater from contamination. Many private well owners have never tested their well water quality. This lack of knowledge not only endangers the health of those who rely on private well water, but also increases the vulnerability of the 102 million Americans served by a public water system using groundwater. RCAP’s private well program uses a combination of online and in-person technical assistance, training, and education to boost knowledge and competency of the individual well owner as well as the thousands of dedicated environmental health, cooperative extension, and water well professionals that serve well owners day to day. With support from EPA over the last five years, RCAP has developed an extensive partner network that reaches all 50 states, tribal lands, and U.S. territories.

 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign coordinates the program with RCAP and their six regional affiliates. Other partners include the National Ground Water Association, the Water Systems Council, the National Environmental Health Association, and cooperative extension programs in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. Efforts to date have fostered cooperation with state health departments, county/local health districts, drillers associations, state extension offices, real estate professionals, and laboratories, among others, that leverage state and local resources to provide direct, targeted support for well owners. There is still significant work to be done to reach the millions of well owners lacking the basic skills of well care. Here’s how state drinking water programs can help:

 

  1. Sign up as a private well partner. The U of I team delivers a monthly newsletter for the private well stakeholder community and last year held the first-ever national conference for the private well professional community.

 

  1. Request and distribute well owner brochures. The U of I team has developed a brochure that encourages private well owners to test their water and learn more about well care. Requests for professionally-printed copies of this tri-fold are accepted on an ongoing basis, but please submit before February 9 to be included in the first print run.

 

  1. Lead the collaborative effort in your state. State drinking water programs are in a unique position to leverage existing source water protection programs, make connections with state-level colleagues who regulate well construction, and coordinate with RCAP field staff involved in this effort. A state-wide workgroup can boost dialogue about private well issues and connect stakeholders to the wealth of resources developed under the RCAP program.

Take advantage of these opportunities to share helpful information with private well owners and to help your state’s source water protection program.

EFCN Hosts Two New Webinars

Our colleagues from EFCN’s Syracuse and Wichita State Universities are hosting two webinars this month that should be of interest to you.

Resiliency Planning 101

DATE:              February 13

TIME:               2:30-3:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click this link Register

This webinar will offer definitions of community and utility resiliency in the context of disaster preparedness, recovery, and proactive planning measures. Resiliency enables communities and utilities to remain economically and socially viable in the face of extreme weather or economic events.  This event is hosted by the Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center

What Challenges Do Different Sizes & Types of Systems Face?

DATE:              February 27

TIME:               2:30-3:30PM (eastern)

Register           Click this link Register

This webinar will address the challenges of delivering safe, potable water to communities of varying size and the differences and similarities of management challenges that both small and large systems face.  This event is hosted by the Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center.

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!

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!

New Resiliency Webinar from EFCN

Our EFCN partners are hosting a webinar titled Resilience:  Planning on Disaster and Preparing for Disruption.  How do you prevent or mitigate the duration of severity of water service interruptions – especially if you’re a small system?

DATE:              Wednesday, September 20

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7020594331405763586

This event will outline a basic framework for small water systems to use in in their resilience planning.  It will also offer various tools and resources to help get plan implementation off the ground.