NRWA Opens 2017 Rural Water Rally in Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite on-going change and deep uncertainty surrounding the nation’s capital, the National Rural Water Association opened its 2017 Rural Water Rally on Feb. 7 with optimism about the success of their programs and eagerness to build new relationships moving forward.

The speakers at the Rally opening included NRWA President Steve Fletcher of Illinois, the NRWA Legislative Chair Kent Watson from Texas, Deputy Staff Director for the US Senate Committee on Appropriations Fitzhugh Elder IV, and Former Chief of Staff for Senator Thad Cochran Keith Heard.

“Thank you all for being here,” Fletcher said. “It’s a great time to be in D.C. – I think that’s said every time we’re here. There’s a new administration, there’s new opportunities, new challenges but I we can meet those and be successful this year.”

The NRWA President emphasized that change was underway, and that whether individuals agreed with that change or not, those changes were happening.

“Rural Water now needs to go with the flow, adapt to the change, accommodate the change, embrace the change, in order to continue our work across America,” he said.

Fletcher encouraged all in the water industry to remain active and productive, and to engage with their elected officials.

“With the changes in D.C., we have our best opportunity in many years to affect the future of our water and wastewater systems,” Fletcher said. “These efforts have the chance to benefit our members for years and years to come.”

Elder and Heard discussed the details of the current budget process and the prospects of continuing resolution. Elder expressed how much the Rally felt like home, since he was formally part of NRWA’s D.C staff. Heard, formerly of Senator Cochran’s office recently joined NRWA.

After the opening session, the Rally attendees left for meetings with their elected representatives. These meeting will continue through Feb. 8 and will be followed up with meetings with legislators’ and their staff throughout the year.

NRWA Announces New Association Logo

DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association has chosen a new logo to represent the association. New logos are also planned for Water University, the WaterPro Community and WaterPro Conference.

NRWA officials will announce the new logos at the Rural Water Rally to be held Feb. 6-8 in Washington, D.C. The new logos will be updated onto the website and other media throughout the week.

The association chose to update the logo based on NRWA’s membership growth and program development since the previous logo. In the years since the previous logo was approved, NRWA has expanded to include a State Affiliate in all 50 states, launched Water University, the WaterPro Community, the WaterPro Conference and the Workforce Development Center’s apprenticeship program.

NRWA has also expanded the offering in its Products and Services Portfolio. This portfolio was designed to offer unique options specifically-designed to benefit water utilities. These products and services include the Rural Water Loan Fund; Insurance for line breaks and data breaches; customer contact services; website design and hosting; lifestyle health plans; and mobile forms and work orders.

Forming Responsible Management Entities: 2p.m. CST March 2

Forming Responsible Management Entities: 2p.m. CST March 2 Register Now

The session will discuss the applicability of Responsible Management Entities and the different types of entities whether Governmental or Volunteer. The discussion will center around forming the Entities, the Entities focus, roles, and responsibilities. As many as 26 million homeowners living in subdivisions, mobile home parks or small communities use septic systems without a centralized sewer treatment plant. RME’s range from home owner associations that use regular pumping schedules to systems using low pressure lines to move grey water to a centralized drain-field.

About the Presenter:

William “Rusty” Reeves began his career with La Rural Water Association in September 1997 in the Louisiana Compliance Initiative Program. He previously worked as General Manager/System Operator for West Allen Parish Water District for eight years and holds a Class IV Certification in Water Production, Treatment and Distribution as well as Class I Certification in Wastewater Collection and Treatment. Reeves received his CIT (Certified Instructional Technologist Training) in Mississippi in 2004, and upgraded to a CET (Certified Environmental Trainer) in 2005 through the National Environmental Safety & Health Training Association.

West Virginia Rural Water Deploys Mobile Treatment Plant to Assist Community Without Water

GREEN SPRINGS, W.V – When the Central Hampshire County Public Service District was having problems filling the water tanks that serviced the town of Green Springs, they contacted the West Virginia Rural Water Association for assistance. Rural Water quickly discovered the utility was facing a more serious problem, and provided the assistance to restore the system to normal functioning.

“I was originally called in for leak detection,” explained Bertis McCarty, a circuit rider for WVRWA.

The Service District was having trouble gaining water in Green Spring tanks and it was assumed the water was lost to leaks. The utility had attempted several measures to fill the tanks, including attaching additional pumps.

“They tried a lot of makeshift solutions,” McCarty said. “They even had the fire department haul water from a neighboring community and pump it into the system.”
After two days of leak detection, McCarty and Ernie Crouse, a district operations specialist, only found a single small leak. McCarty met with Crouse and General Manager James Hoffman to discuss the system’s operations.

“They started throwing out some numbers and I was taking notes,” McCarty said. “I did some figures and a lot of the numbers just didn’t add up. I realized pretty quickly there was something else wrong.”
The Green Springs system relied on a membrane filtration plant to supply water for a population 1,100, including an elementary school. The membranes failed and the plant had shut down.
“It was actually water production,” McCarty said.

With the problem identified, the utility ordered replacement membranes. The system still needed a solution until the membrane plant could be returned to service. The WVRWA dispatched its mobile treatment plant to supply the town with water until regular service was restored. They also sent Circuit Rider Mike Hersman to help set-up and operate the mobile plant. The mobile treatment plant puts the same equipment often found in a permanent facility – pumps, filters, chlorination – onto a trailer. The mobile plant can assist when communities lose water, but it is not a long-term replacement.

“Using a mobile treatment plant, the community still had to be on a boil water order,” McCarty said.

The mobile treatment plant filled the utilities tanks and provided service until the replacement membranes were put into place. The situation also provided an opportunity to create a backup and make the system more resilient in the future.

“Green Springs and the neighboring Silver Springs are connected by a valve,” McCarty said.

With the membranes replaced, the Green Springs system was capable of supplying both communities with water. McCarty also advised that, with a pump upgrade, the Silver Springs utility could also supply both communities.

“It gives them some backup if something happens in the future,” McCarty said.

National Rural Water Association Opens Registration for District Forum

DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association has opened registration for the 2017 Regional/Water District Issues Forum, which will be held April 11-12 in Washington D.C. Registration information is available Here.

The District Forum was designed to address the unique needs of Utility Districts and Regional Water Systems. These utilities face unique challenges due to large service areas, miles of pipe that cross various jurisdictional boundaries and unique governmental structures. The Forum has evolved into a unique opportunity for all system leaders to get personal briefings on the latest issues and network with utility and agency leaders shaping the water industry.

The full agenda will not be finalized until political appointees are in position later this year. Previous forums have included presentations by Patrick Carroll, Chris Tomassi and Melissa Zimmerman, appropriators from the Interior and Agriculture Appropriations Committees; Rural Utility Service Administrator Brandon McBride; Jim Gebhardt and Ron Bergman of the EPA; Jeanette Manfra, Council to the DHS Secretary; Adam Sedgewick, Analyst at the National Institute for Standards and Technology; and Steve Mustard and Michael Marlow of the Automation Federation.

Early Registration Discount for the 2017 Rural Water Rally expires Jan. 17

DUNCAN, Okla. – The early registration discount for the 2017 Rural Water Rally will expire on Jan. 17. Rally participants that register early can save $25. Registration and rally information is available at

The Rural Water Rally brings utility system representatives to Capitol Hill to support funding for infrastructure, training and technical assistance. The Rural Water Rally includes the Great American Water Taste Test, where drinking water from around the country is judged to determine the year’s best. All events are held at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.

NRWA is also organizing letter-writing and social media campaigns for rural water supporters that cannot attend the rally in person. Utilities that have received assistance from rural water are encouraged to write a letter to their State Association detailing how the association has helped and the value they provide.

Rural water supporters can also participate in the social media campaign by posting their support for rural water on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #NRWArepresents during the rally.

Mississippi Rural Water Assists Utility After Staff Turnover

WAYNESBORO, Miss. – After two years of staff turnover and political changes, the City of Waynesboro, Miss. contacted the Mississippi Rural Water Association for assistance with training new employees.

Robby Mayfield, a MRWA training specialist, visited the utility to provide on-site training for Joe Zaydel, the Public Works Director and Josh West, a certified system operations specialist.

“All the changes have created a difficult situation for Waynesboro,” Mayfield explained.

Mayfield began with on-site training for the Revised Total Coli-form Rule and the Ground Water Rule. He also provided training on proper sampling and testing techniques, including new rules from the Mississippi State Department of Health regarding sample collection. Mayfield gave training on chlorine testing and how to properly maintain a chlorine residual through the distribution system.

“I also offered them on-site training on GPS and GIS systems,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield completed the assistance by informing Zaydel and West about other training opportunities in their area.

Tactics of Physical Intrusion: 2 p.m. CST Jan. 26

Tactics of Physical Intrusion: 2 p.m. CST Jan. 26 Register Now

Critical infrastructure is susceptible to a wide range of risks: from cyber attacks to service outages, but perhaps the most unnerving is the notion of a physical break-in. Attackers who can lay hands on technology and equipment are capable of stealing data, compromising operations, absconding with valuable supplies, or simply wreaking havoc.

As head of a Physical Penetration team, my crew has a very rewarding job. We are tasked with simulating attackers and breaking into facilities of all types, across the country. Then with faces agog, executives routinely watch me describe (or show video) of their doors and cabinets popping open in seconds.

This presentation will highlight some of the most exciting and shocking methods by which my team and I routinely gain entry in on physical jobs.

About the Presenter:
While paying the bills as a security auditor and penetration testing consultant with The CORE Group, Deviant Ollam is also a member of the Board of Directors of the US division of TOOOL, The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers. His books Practical Lock Picking and Keys to the Kingdom are among Syngress Publishing’s best-selling pen testing titles. In addition to being a lockpicker, Deviant is also a GSA certified safe and vault technician and inspector. At multiple annual security conferences Deviant runs the Lockpick Village workshop area, and he has conducted physical security training sessions for Black Hat, DeepSec, ToorCon, HackCon, ShakaCon, HackInTheBox, ekoparty, AusCERT, GovCERT, CONFidence, the FBI, the NSA, DARPA, the National Defense University, the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. His favorite Amendments to the US Constitution are, in no particular order, the 1st, 2nd, 9th, & 10th.

South Dakota Assists Utility After Faulty Sensor Causes Problems

DELL RAPIDS, S.D. – When the town of Colton started testing positive for trihalomethanes the utility called the South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems for assistance.

“The water has shown the potential to produce DBPs because it contains a significant amount of organic carbon,” explained SDARWS Training Specialist James Zeck. “Since they started using chloramination several years ago, they haven’t reported any problems with DBPs.”

Disinfection By-Products are the result of disinfecting agents like chlorine and ozone with material in the water. These byproducts are regulated and have maximum levels that can be present in drinking water.

Zeck worked with the systems bulk water supplier to possibly identify problems that could lead to high DBP levels. During the inspection Zeck noticed the in-line chlorine monitor responsible for dosing the ammonia for chloramination did not match the measured chlorine residuals leaving the plant or in the distribution system.

“Because the system was registering a lower chlorine residual, not enough ammonia was being fed and breakpoint chlorination was occurring in the clearwell leaving them with a free chlorine residual,” Zeck explained.

The utility replaced the chlorine monitor and recalibrated the system to accommodate the new chemical levels. The changes reduced the THMs. During a later follow-up visit, the system was operating properly and the town should show a significant decrease in the THM levels on their next round of quarterly sampling.