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.

 

Webinar:  Encouraging Customers to Conserve–Pricing and Non-Pricing Approaches

As part of their ongoing collaboration, AWWA and the Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) offer another in their webinar series for small systems.

DATE:              Thursday, May 31, 2018

TIME:               2:00PM-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. You 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.

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.

Register Today – EPA’s Asset Management Community Call

DATE:              April 18, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Are you looking for helpful tools and resources as you pursue asset management – as a trainer, as a water system, as a state program specialist?  Join EPA for this event to learn what’s available and how to use the array of tools, information, and strategies to best effect.  See the attached flyer for more information.  AM Community Call Flyer

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

UNC-EFC Tackles Financial Resilience

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Caroline, Chapel Hill hosts a blog site that looks at water and wastewater needs, issues, concerns, and successes. One of their most recent posts looks at Local Government Financial Resilience and Preparation Before a Natural Disaster.

As the blog post notes, “…municipalities are becoming extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, making it necessary for local governments to become more resilient to catastrophes. Natural disaster resiliency often focuses on the built environment and hazard mitigation, but what about weathering the storm from a financial perspective?”  It goes on to suggest that communities should consider the following steps when evaluating the potential financial impacts of a natural disaster:  identify the probability and type of likely disasters, set a planning timeline, know about available funding sources, and set up a rainy day fund.

The blog post also contains numerous links to resources that can help a community understand and plan financially for a disaster.  One that stands out is Financial Planning for Natural Disasters: A Workbook for Local Governments and Regions.  The Workbook “…is designed to help local governments and regions understand their financial vulnerabilities to natural disasters, evaluate their financial capacity to cover the costs of those disasters, identify strategies to close the gap between financial vulnerability and capacity, and identify and address the spillover effects of neighboring local governments’ financial vulnerabilities to disasters.”

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.