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!


Reminder – Water Audits & Water Loss Control Webinar Series – Part 3

Water Audits and Water Loss Control:  I’ve Completed My Water Audit, Now What? is Part 3 of a series of webinars (earlier presentations on data gathering for an audit and how to enter data into a spreadsheet took place in March) presented jointly by AWWA and EFCN.

DATE:              May 3, 2017

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


This webinar will help participants to:

  • Understand the need to examine data validity before taking any other actions
  • Understand the tools that can be used to address unbilled metered usage, apparent losses, and real losses
  • Learn how to base the use of tools on the volumes and values of each category.

Separately, our AWWA colleagues are offering a no cost training opportunity via eLearning:

2-hour Financial Sustainability for Small Systems eLearning Course:  This eLearning course focuses on 3 major areas needed by small systems to achieve financial sustainability; including understanding enterprise funds and their revenues, as well as an overview of what is needed to protect public health through safe water.  > Register

Developing and Implementing Tools for Small Systems to Evaluate and Select Appropriate Treatment Technologies

Water utilities can struggle to know which treatment technologies to consider and then which one to select and implement to solve their water quality and compliance challenges. This is particularly challenging for small water systems without resources to stay up-to-date on the range of appropriate technology options and their associated treatment and operational performance. The DeRISK Center is dedicated to addressing this challenge by developing and implementing tools for small systems to evaluate and select appropriate treatment technologies. These tools are designed to help utilities, states, consultants, and technology providers make technology selection decisions based on public health protection and sustainability beyond just regulatory compliance.

A conventional analysis of technology alternatives is typically performed when water systems need to upgrade or replace major treatment facilities. This analysis consists of identifying the feasible alternatives that will accomplish the treatment goals, comparing the alternatives based on some criteria, and selecting the “best” alternative. The criterion most used is cost—capital cost, operation and maintenance cost, or an engineering life-cycle cost analysis that includes the anticipated life-span of major equipment.

The DeRISK Center tools employ a decision support methodology that improves on this conventional approach. The major steps in the methodology are deciding what criteria are most important to stakeholders and providing and easy way to compare technology alternatives to each other with respect to each criterion. Our approach strives to go beyond just a comparison of costs. As shown in Figure 1, the decision support methodology expands on the conventional analysis of alternatives process by including:

  • Facilitated methodology that incorporates stakeholder input
  • Data on innovative treatment technologies
  • Relative health risk protection of treatment approaches
  • Sustainability measures of treatment approaches
  • Stakeholder preferences

Performance information such as treated water quality and performance data along with other characteristics, including source water quality constraints, are used to identify feasible technology alternatives. The characteristics for feasible alternatives are then fed into the analyses of health risk, sustainability, and stakeholder preferences in order to provide data to the decision support methodology.

Microbial and chemical agents in drinking water can pose significant human health risks. Evaluating the combined impacts from multiple contaminants can provide new insights into how best to manage that risk and protect public health to meet regulatory compliance and achieve the greatest risk protection possible given feasible alternatives. The DeRISK Center tools utilize the Relative Health Indicator (RHI)—a semi-quantitative metric developed to harmonize the cancer and non-cancer impacts from a wide range of drinking water contaminants—to compare the relative health risks posed by multiple waterborne constituents.

The DeRISK Center is also focused on analyzing and improving the environmental and economic sustainability of small drinking water treatment systems. To achieve this, life cycle analysis (LCA) methodology is being used to quantify and characterize environmental impacts associated with various drinking water technologies. These impacts (using EPA’s TRACI assessment method) include ozone depletion (kg CFC-11 eq), global warming (kg CO2eq), smog (kg O3 eq.), acidification (kg SO2 eq.), eutrophication (kg N eq.), carcinogenics (CTUh), non carcinogenics (CTUh), respiratory effects (kg PM 2.5 eq.), ecotoxicity (CTUe), and fossil fuel depletion (MJ surplus). A comprehensive LCA model framework was developed utilizing water treatment data, experience, and commercial information.

Last, the DeRISK Center is putting these tools to the test evaluating treatment technology decisions through cases studies with actual small water systems needing to address water quality and compliance challenges. The first case studies are assessing disinfection alternatives for small water systems in New Hampshire.

If you are interested in testing these tools and collaborating with DeRISK Center researchers to assess treatment technology alternatives for your water system, please contact Chad Seidel at

This post was re-blogged from

CUPSS Presentation and Audio Recording Available

If you were unable to participate in the December 10 CUPSS Community webinar, we have some good news to share!  You may download both the powerpoint presentation and an audio recording of the event from the links below.

The event showcased “The Ohio RCAP Approach to Asset Management and CMOM” and featured Wayne Cannon from Ohio RCAP who described an successful comprehensive evaluation process for their water and wastewater facilities. The process incorporates the CUPSS asset management software and includes a wide range of options such as: GIS mapping, operational and management review, field investigations, identification of best management practices, developing capital improvement and asset management plans, conducting rate analyses, and gaining community support through public informational meetings.  Click these links to view the powerpoints and listen to the presentation.

CUPSS Community Call Slides – December 2014


EPA Publishes New Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Water Security Division is pleased to announce the release of their newest tool called Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities. Drinking water and wastewater utilities are particularly vulnerable to flooding, which can damage pumps, disconnect chemical tanks, break distribution lines and disrupt power supplies. Targeted to small and medium utilities, the Flood Resilience Guide outlines a simple, 4-step assessment process to help any water utility understand their flooding threat and identify practical mitigation options to protect their critical assets. With a user-friendly layout, the Guide provides worksheets, instructional videos, and flood maps to help utilities through the process. For outreach to the water sector, EPA has partnered with Rural Water organizations in several states to co-present training on flood resilience.  EPA also intends to conduct a national webinar to further promote the Flood Resilience Guide. You can download the tool from EPA’s website at

via EPA Publishes New Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities.

August 27 EFC Asset Management Webinar

The Environmental Finance Center Network is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, August 27th from 3:00 – 5:00pm (eastern).  The webinar is entitled “Ask the Expert: A Unique Opportunity to Ask Your Asset Management Questions or Seek Advice on How to Begin.”  If you have been to an asset management training or have considered or even started asset management activities, you probably have generated many questions about the process. For example, “Where is a good place to start?” or “What options do I have for mapping my system?” or “How do I number my assets?” You may have specific questions regarding something you’ve tried and had difficulty with.

This webinar will provide you with a unique opportunity to ask any and all questions regarding asset management or implementing asset management.  An asset management practitioner, Ross Waugh, with extensive experience implementing the process in New Zealand will answer questions. Heather Himmelberger, director of the Southwest Environmental Finance Center, will join in answering questions.   

This will be a great chance to hear information regarding what has worked elsewhere in the world and to learn from those experiences. If you don’t have any questions of your own, you can still greatly benefit from listening in to the questions of others.  

For questions, please contact Khris Dodson at

To register, visit the web site HERE.

EPA Posts New Updates/Training on Federal Disaster Funding Tool

EPA has posted a series of short video trainings to help introduce water and wastewater utilities to EPA’s tool, Federal Funding for Utilities-Water/Wastewater-in National Disasters (Fed FUNDS).  This can be a great resource for smaller systems who will need to know where to go for funding if there is a major disaster.  On the web at, this new, user-friendly approach walks the user through a series of “how to” scenarios that apply in advance of, during, and after a disaster has occurred…literally, at the press of a button!

Which Funding is Right for You? – guides you to the most applicable funding programs

  • Be Prepared to Tap into Funding – lists activities to prepare you to apply for funding
  • Currently in a Disaster? – provides forms and photologs to document the damage
  • Federal Disaster Funding Programs – covers federal programs from FEMA, EPA, USDA, and others
  • Utility Examples, Training, & Assistance – includes successful applications, training on funding, and funding mentors





Take a look at FedFUNDS and share this information with your water systems to help them be better prepared “just in case…”

Tips & Reminders for Electronic CCR Delivery

EPA has just completed a two-part webinar on Consumer Confidence Reports and the impact of new flexibilities in delivery mechanisms.  With the advent of electronic delivery options, states and water systems alike have some new concepts to consider and older action items that still need to be remembered.  The excerpts in the link below offer the Agency’s “best thinking” on the top ten things to remember as systems consider taking advantage of the electronic delivery option for CCRs.  In addition, there is a slide that includes helpful CCR reminders for state drinking water programs.

Top 10 Things To Remember & Primacy Agencies

RCAP Creates and Shares Water Recruitment Brochures

Our colleagues at RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Partnership) have recently produced brochures to recruit people into the water and wastewater operations field.  These materials are part of a larger RCAP recruitment and training effort that involves collaboration with community colleges.

Here are URLs for the recruitment brochures.  Note that RCAP has included both a “screen-friendly” and printer-friendly version for each brochure.  When printed, the text is laid out for a 3-fold format.

At RCAP’s suggestion, you are invited and encouraged to print and distribute these brochures within your community and to forward the links to your colleagues who may not be aware of this offer.

Drinking Water Brochure:

Wastewater Brochure:

Our thanks to RCAP for sharing these helpful tools as we strive to manage our individual and collective workforce issues!

States Find Creative Solutions for Common Problems

A couple of weeks ago, ASDWA invited state drinking water programs to share interesting or innovative efforts that you have undertaken that would be of interest to others – particularly in the arenas of capacity development, operator certification, or other small system focused initiatives.  Within 24 hours, ASDWA heard back from two states – Rhode Island and Nebraska.  They offered two completely different efforts but each is remarkable for its creativity in meeting the needs of small drinking water systems.

 Fast Track to Compliance is a 5”x7” booklet shared by Steven Boudreau, Capacity Development Coordinator in the Rhode Island Office of Drinking Water Quality.  The Office of DWQ Capacity Development program has developed this Fast-track to Compliance Program in an effort to highlight the collaboration efforts of our Capacity Development, Operator Certification, and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs and our Compliance and Enforcement efforts.  Once a failing system is recognized, Capacity Development staff and DWQ management undertake an evaluation of the system’s ability to provide safe drinking water to its consumers.  Our assessment of the capacities required to effectively meet this obligation provides an analysis of their current and future sustainability. The evaluation involves a 5-step return to compliance process that applies the Principles of Effective Utility Management (EUM); is managed by Capacity Development staff and is carried out over a 4 – 6 month timeframe.

Here is a PDF copy of the booklet: Fast-Track to Compliance

Small PWS Cross-Connection and Backflow Models:  Mike Wentink, the Nebraska Operator Certification Coordinator in the state’s Environmental Health Services Section, shared a very creative way to use some of Nebraska’s Expense Reimbursement Grant funds:

We have just completed a contract with University of Nebraska – Lincoln for the design, and construction of small PWS cross-connection and backflow models.  These 3 models are used to educate water operators of small systems and others about the hazards associated with backflow from cross-connections on the distribution system.  It was about a two-year project; I drafted the contract in November, 2009 and concluded the contract September 30, 2011. Two students from the senior design class in the Civil Engineering Department were the “lucky” project people for this one.

What is unique about these models is their convenience of use and visual perspective.  Each model has four different cross-connection scenarios that are representative of what can be found connected to the distribution system – a private domestic well, pressure vessel (boiler), broken water main in close proximity to a sewer line, stock tank being fed by a water line, etc.  [Editor’s Note:  See photos below for a great visual!]

Other models currently in use for this purpose were explored but we decided that we wanted something easily put together, transportable in a typical “state issued” vehicle, and representative of situations found in small water systems.  These models consist of distribution system from clear rigid and flexible plastic tubing, an elevated water storage facility, small pumps, valves, and other appurtenances found in a small water system.  Food dye in the water source for the model provides the visual aspect of actual backflow occurrence in these scenarios.  The small scale representation of distribution system hydraulic conditions to make these scenarios realistically work was a challenge.  It was a unique means for utilization of ERG funds.  The couple of small demonstrations performed with a model thus far seemed to hold people’s attention.

A website location for the project materials (design, parts list, etc) has not been decided yet but it will be posted and available to share.  I’m still working with the University on that.

Here are some photos that showcase the models: