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

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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.

 

ORD Small System Webinar Series

 

This month’s ORD Small Systems webinar will focus on State Acceptance of Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection Technologies.

 

DATE:              Tuesday, October 31

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8720506381471194113

Two presentations, State Approval of UV Treatment for Drinking Water:  Facing Challenges Through Collaboration (Derek Losh, OGWDW) and EPA UV Testing and Recommendations for Reactor Validation (Jeffrey Adams, ORD), will look at ongoing work to identify a set of technical priorities for review and approval of UV equipment installation and ongoing compliance monitoring.  The presentations will also look at new UV validation testing approaches for disinfection applications of Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and viruses using various test microbes.

EPA SST Publishes Workgroup Best Practices Guide

The new asset management document, titled Successfully Protecting Your Investment In Drinking Water Infrastructure: Best Practices from Communities and Local Experts, is now posted on the EPA website!

https://www.epa.gov/dwcapacity/successfully-protecting-your-investment-drinking-water-infrastructure-0

The document reflects the efforts and contributions of the Asset Management workgroup (2015-2016) established under the 2015 National Capacity Development & Operator Certification Workshop.  Please share the document with others in your state who have an interest in asset management and drinking water infrastructure.

EPA is planning to host a roll-out webinar in August that will feature presentations from some of the local decision makers included in the document.  Look for more information in the near term.

Reminder – Upcoming DWSRF/Cap Dev Asset Management Webinar

If you haven’t already done so, you may want to register for the June 28 hour long n(1:00-2:00PM eastern) webinar on Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Capacity Building in Action:  Asset Management.  CapCertConnections originally posted information about this event on June 7.

For this webinar, EPA’s Susanna Bains (Sustainable Systems Team) and Kiri Anderer (DWSRF Team) will share background information and discuss their perspectives on asset management activities.  Luis Adorno (NH) and Ashley Lucht (VT) will present their respective state’s efforts on asset management funding programs, incentives, and assistance offered through the DWSRF set-asides to promote asset management.

Click http://login.icohere.com/registration/register.cfm?reg=3795&evt=062817 to register.

Using the DWSRF to Address Lead in Drinking Water

EPA’s DWSRF and Sustainable Systems Teams have been hosting a series of webinars to highlight ways in which DWSRF set-asides and infrastructure project assistance can be used to build capacity at drinking water systems.

Registration is now open for the next in the DWSRF/Capacity Development webinar series.  The topic is how the DWSRF can be leveraged to address the challenges of lead in drinking water.

DATE:              Tuesday, November 15

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

REGISTER:      http://login.icohere.com/registration/register.cfm?reg=3187&evt=111516

Both Federal and state partners will tackle the subject.  Nick Chamberlain (EPA DWSRF Team) will discuss background on eligibilities, Robin Schmidt (WI) will present on lead service line replacement, and Michael Maynard (MA) will present on lead testing in schools.

Sign up today!

13th Annual EPA Drinking Water Workshop for Small Systems Challenges and Solutions

To support the efforts of state and local officials to assist small systems, EPA, in cooperation with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), invites you to attend the 13th annual Small Systems Workshop. This free workshop will provide timely information on a variety of drinking water topics relevant to small systems. Past workshops have attracted nearly 300 participants including around  100 state personnel representing 40 state drinking water programs.

DATE:              August 23-26, 2016

SITE:               Cincinnati, OH

REGISTER:      Workshop Information and Registration

Topics for this year’s Workshop include:  Lead and Copper Rule; Revised Total Coliform Rule; Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule; Health Advisories; distribution system issues, including lead and lead service lines, pathogens and biofilms, disinfection, and disinfection byproducts; monitoring and treatment, including emerging contaminants, harmful algal blooms and cyanotoxins, inorganics, tools, and analytics; and other small system information.

EPA Region 4 AWOP States to Engage in Distribution System Optimization Pilot

During last month’s Region 4 Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) strategic planning meeting in Charleston, SC, EPA staff from the Technical Support Center and Region 4, ASDWA, and state staff from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee discussed an opportunity to undertake a pilot program for distribution system optimization (DSO).  The pilot would invite third party technical assistance (TA) providers to engage with states in implementation of AWOP’s distribution system optimization (DSO) training protocols.

Assistance providers from the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Alabama Rural Water Association, Florida Rural Water Association, Communities Unlimited, South Carolina Rural Water Association, Kentucky Rural Water Association, North Carolina Rural Water Association, and Tennessee Association of Utility Districts participated in the pilot option planning discussion.  The focus was on facilitation of technical approaches to achieve distribution system optimization at water systems.  This facilitated approach involves state staff providing the technical training for water systems, augmented by TA providers facilitating the activities with water system staff as they implement the technical tools in their own distribution systems.

After walking through the proposed modules and becoming more familiar with the expectations for all parties, the TA providers and states all embraced this joint implementation approach. Several of the state and TA representatives agreed on action plans to implement this collaborative DSO training approach with water systems during this year.  The AWOP National Optimization Leadership Team will monitor the success of the Region 4 pilot and consider expanding the pilot to other regional AWOPs in the future.  Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.  Meanwhile, if you have questions about this project, please send your inquiries to Rick Lieberman (EPA Technical Support Center) Lieberman.richard@epa.gov .  For more information about AWOP, go to the ASDWA AWOP website.

 

National Capacity Development & Operator Certification Workshop a Success

Nearly 130 partners and colleagues from the small water system community in 36 states and Washington, DC came together this week in Dallas to discuss opportunities to enhance capacity development and operator certification programs across the states.  The Workshop theme, Roadmap to the Future:  Building Sustainability & Integrating Resiliency, sparked numerous brainstorming sessions, presentations from subject matter experts, and calls for development of forward thinking ‘next steps’ strategies.  Contributors included state capacity development, operator certification, and DWSRF program staff, EPA Headquarters and Regional staff, other Federal agency partners, and assistance providers from each of the major training organizations.  Discussions ranged across a broad spectrum of topics such as water system partnerships, financial capacity, resiliency, operator training and workforce, sustainability and collaboration, and communication and community relationships.

The Workshop was cohosted by ASDWA and EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team.  Efforts are already under way to develop a workshop summary, post presentations, and outline strategies to take appropriate next steps based on participant input related to challenges and opportunities.  ASDWA will keep you informed of the progress of these various follow up efforts and share materials and information as soon as they become available.

ASDWA & EPA Cohost the Next Joint National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop

It’s been two years since state and EPA staff from the Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs joined with their training and assistance providers to meet in Atlanta to share success stories and discuss issues of mutual concern.

Now, it’s time to do it again!  Please join ASDWA and EPA’s Sustainable Systems Team in Dallas, Texas for the 2015 Joint National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop.  Workshop dates are December 8-10, 2015.  We will be meeting and staying at the Marriott City Center Hotel with a special group rate of $125/night (Federal per diem rate).

This year’s workshop theme is Roadmap to the Future: Building Sustainability and Integrating Resiliency.  Sessions of the workshop will include how Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs and staff work together, methods for building resiliency into sustainability, and best practices for partnerships and collaboration between the two programs and their partners.  The workshop will provide the opportunity for participants to share success stories and brainstorm new ideas on improving program functions.  There is no cost to participate; however, you must register in advance.

SPECIAL NOTE:  All are invited to attend, but please note that the first morning (8:30-Noon on December 8) is reserved for discussions between state and EPA partners only.  Everyone is welcome to participate in all other portions of the Workshop.

Want to know more?  Click http://www.asdwa.org/index.cfm?useaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=819.   We have posted the latest agenda, an online registration form, a link to the hotel where the meeting will take place, a list of fun things to do in Dallas, and a list of helpful background and resource materials provided by our EPA Sustainable Systems Team that can quickly bring you up to date or serve as a refresher for the fundamentals of both of these programs.

We think Dallas is a not to be missed meeting!  Click the link above, read through the materials, check the agenda, and we believe you will agree with us.

Questions about the agenda?  Contact Susanna Bains (EPA SST) at bains.susanna@epa.gov.

Questions about registration?  Contact Bridget O’Grady (ASDWA) at bogrady@asdwa.org.