AWWA Offers New Affordability Webinar

Our colleagues at AWWA are offering a no cost webinar for AWWA Members (others – $125) on the subject of affordability and how utilities are striving to better support their low income customers.

DATE:  February 28, 2018

TIME:  1:00-2:30PM

REGISTERHere

Affordability of water service is at the forefront of many challenges water systems face today.  Implementing a customer assistance program (CA) can ameliorate the effect of high water bills on vulnerable and low income customers.

This webinar is an introduction to several models and approaches utilities are 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.” This new report along with additional information from US EPA and others means that the conversation has advanced considerably in the last few years and considerable new information is available.

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GAO Releases Water Workforce Report

Earlier today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report titled Water and Wastewater Workforce: Recruiting Approached Helped Industry Hire Operators, but Additional EPA Guidance Could Help Identify Future Needs (GAO-18-102).  The study, reviewing workforce needs within the drinking water and wastewater industry, was requested by the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.

As the Report’s Highlights document states, “This report describes (1) what is known about workforce needs at water utilities compared with workforce needs nationwide and effects of potential unmet workforce needs on the utilities’ compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act; (2) approaches used by selected utilities to manage their workforce needs and challenges they have faced in managing those needs; and (3) ways in which federal programs can assist water utilities with workforce needs.”

In summary, “GAO recommends that EPA add strategic workforce planning questions, such as the positions and skills needed in the future, to its inspection guidance documents. EPA generally agreed with GAO’s recommendation as it related to drinking water, but neither agreed nor disagreed regarding wastewater. GAO believes the entire recommendation should be implemented.”

A complete copy of the Report may be downloaded here.

ABC Brings Certification Professionals Together

Last week, despite unexpected cold and ice, more than 100 certification professionals gathered in San Antonio to participate in the ABC National Conference.  Titled ABC Innovation in Certification 2018, the Conference provided attendees from state drinking water and wastewater programs, tribal certification organizations, and Canadian and other international interested parties an opportunity to interact with their peers and discuss a range of issues and initiatives.

Presentations and discussions ranged across topics such as the legal aspects of certification, setting the certification standard, tech tools for the certification process, and workforce challenges and solutions.  Participants also heard from EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water about ongoing projects and from AWWA about upcoming projects and priorities for 2018.

Some of the more interesting discussions looked at drivers for good certification programs – coordinate with trainers, review deficiencies, communicate with stakeholders, and play a leadership role.  Discussions also focused on root causes for operator shortages and noted that, in many locations, the shortage relates more to operator retention rather than a lack of available operators.  Of course, an aging workforce also plays a large role in the shortage scenario.  Another discussion centered around drivers for certification standards.  John Solvie, ABC’s C2EP Chair, noted that standards are not developed in a vacuum but rather that significant influencers are regulators, legislators, and industry organizations.  Joe McClary of IACET spoke to participants about the need to make data driven solutions.  He also suggested that certification programs should create a quality of service benchmark; ask for feedback from the operator community; and then act on that feedback to make improvements.

ABC plans to post presentations from the Conference within the next few weeks at www.abccert.org.  Next year’s ABC Conference is planned for January 8-11 in Savannah, GA.

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.

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.

New ORD Small Systems Webinar

This month’s small system-focused webinar hosted by EPA’s Office of Research and Development will look at a new Decision Support Methodology for Small Systems to Evaluate and Select Treatment Technologies.

DATE:              Tuesday, September 26

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4142166351292189186

Knowing which treatment technologies to consider and how to select the best option to solve compliance challenges can be particularly daunting for small systems.  This webinar will highlight a decision support methodology that allows users to decide what criteria are most important and then providing an easy way to compare technology alternatives with respect to each identified criterion – beyond simple cost comparisons.

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.

Ask the Experts – Energy Management in Water Supply and Distribution Systems

 

 

 

 

Have questions about energy use in water systems?  Then this event is for you!  Please join the EFCN (Wichita State & Southwest Centers) and AWWA as they answer your questions.

 

DATE:              Tuesday, September 12

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

REGISTER:      Register Here

 

In this question and answer session about utility energy management, we will discuss common areas of energy usage in water treatment, pumping and distribution systems. Processes such as energy usage in buildings and grounds, and losses due to water loss will be covered. Expert facilitators Nick Willis and Dawn Nall will answer your energy management questions and concerns.

 

Sign up today!

ORD Webinar on Water Loss Management and Rehabilitation Technologies

 

 

 Register today for the latest in the EPA ORD webinar series.  This month’s focus will be on water loss management and rehabilitation technologies for distribution systems.

 

 

 

DATE:              July 25, 2017

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5350209670959878657

The first of two presentations will review methods to reduce non-revenue water with practical and cost-effective water loss management. This will include how to (1) assess and identify water loss within the water distribution system, (2) quantify non-revenue water, and (3) monitor system consumption and pressure will be discussed.  The second presentation takes a look at the latest innovations for the rehabilitation of water mains, primarily focused on trenchless technologies.