Nevada Rural Water Assists Utility with Decontamination


MIDAS, Nev. – When the Midas Water Cooperative in rural Elko County, Nev. tested positive for total coliform in repeated samples, they contacted the Nevada Rural Water Association for assistance.

Aaron Hughes, a training specialist with the Nevada Rural Water Association, visited Midas to help inspect and disinfect the system.

“I started by conducting a survey of the #1 wellhead, tank, the chlorination system and the sanitary condition of the well house,” Hughes said.

The well and tanks showed no signs of breaches or leaks. The ladder was locked, hatches sealed, concrete pad for the tank had no visible cracks, the overflow was properly protected, the water level target in working order and sample cabinet locked. However, when water from the tank was tested, there was no chlorine residual.

“We determined the chlorination system was broken, but Well #2 could supply chlorination for the system,” Hughes said.

Hughes and Midas General Manager Gene Casci isolated the well from the rest of the system and began to shock chlorinate the well. Since the process required four to six hours of contact time, Hughes and Casci began working on Well #2.

“The chlorinator hadn’t been in operation,” Hughes said. “It was working, but needed fine tuning for the system.”

Hughes provided training on dosage and how to use the utility’s testing equipment to determine and maintain the appropriate dosage. Water treatment equipment must be controlled so the amount and the timing of chlorine added, ensures the chemical reaches an appropriate level for a long enough time to be effective.

After the appropriate contact time, and with the chlorine feeder operating correctly, they began flushing the wells and testing the chlorine residuals. When the water tested at the required levels, the disinfection was complete and testing showed “coliform absent” results. Assistance from the Nevada Rural Water Association helped return the water utility to routine monitoring and provided the operations specialists with better training to understand and control their system.

Vermont Rural Water Spends a Decade Bringing System into Long-Term Sustainability


GILMAN, Vt. – When the paper mill in Gilman, Vt. closed, the wastewater plant took a double hit – first from lost revenue of such a large wastewater customer and then from the economic downturn of hundreds of lost jobs. A decade of assistance from the Vermont Rural Water Association has saved the utility over $125,000 and helped them achieve long-term sustainability.

Lunenburg Fire District 2 manages and operates the water and wastewater systems in Gilman. The improvement involved substantial effort from both the VRWA and Lunenburg 2.

“Truly a team effort with Vermont Rural Water Association and the Lunenburg Fire District # 2,” said Wayne Graham, VRWA Wastewater Specialist. “It stretched the limits of both organizations but the outcome was well worth it.”

One of the first services VRWA provided was leak detection and wastewater infiltration. Graham and Circuit Rider Brent Desranleau regularly provide these services to utilities trying to achieve stability because it reduces the amount of money spent treating water wasted in leaks.

Lunenburg 2 had a 38-year-old wastewater facility that was beginning to show its age. Aerators for the treatment lagoons were beginning to fail. Cold weather led to four breaks in the force main that pumped all the wastewater into the treatment plant.

“The unexpected force main breaks forced the district to move ahead with the upgrade and replacement project,” Graham explained.

The utility received a 75% grant from Vermont USDA to help offset the cost of the replacement.

The replacement of the lagoon aeration systems was a long-term project that required hard-work, ingenuity and support from other utilities. Graham found a wastewater system that had upgraded their lagoons and had aeration equipment they no longer needed. That system donated 40 aerators, hundreds of feet of high density polyethylene piping and dozens of standpipe assemblies to Lunenburg 2. Graham and Lunenburg 2 Superintendent Buddy Ball designed the system based on the donated material. Then Graham, Ball and System Operations Specialist Richard Dresser began installing the system. They installed everything for only $1,000, largely because of Ball’s efforts.

“He mixed a lot of concrete by hand, attained hundreds of feet of galvanized pipe for free and provided lots of labor at no cost to the district,” Graham explained.

The new equipment provided a substantial upgrade to the wastewater treatment operations.  The upgraded aeration system is also more energy efficient, providing electrical savings for the utility.

VRWA also provided support for organizational and managerial improvements to assist Luneburg 2. Graham and Circuit Rider Brent Desranleau helped create an appropriate budget and set sustainable rates for the utility. The donated equipment and work is estimated to have saved the utility over $125,000.

“The lesson in this system achieving long term sustainability is that it takes a team and can be a long process,” Graham said. “But the water and wastewater departments will be enjoying the benefits for years to come, as will the residents of this small community.”

Oklahoma AG Pruitt Said To Be Trump’s Choice For EPA Administrator


https://insideepa.com/daily-news/oklahoma-ag-pruitt-said-be-trumps-choice-epa-administrator

December 07, 2016 (Inside EPA)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), who has brought a host of legal challenges to EPA climate, water and other rules, is said to be President-elect Trump’s choice to head EPA, multiple sources say.
Pruitt was seen entering Trump Tower in New York today, Dec. 7, for a second meeting with the president-elect, and an announcement is said to be imminent. But it is unclear whether Trump will announce his EPA administrator pick as a stand alone, or name his choices to lead the Department of Energy and the Department of Interior alongside his environment chief as has been expected and “would make sense,” one source notes.

However, two sources say that Trump gave Pruitt the nod for EPA chief on Dec. 4, and are unclear why an announcement has not already been made. One source says Pruitt was to be announced Dec. 6. “And yet, it’s now mid-day Wednesday [Dec. 7]. I think this is what the next four years are going to look like.”

Another cites the meeting with Trump today to note, “I assume the announcement will come shortly.”

Neither Trump’s transition team nor Pruitt’s spokesman could be reached for comment.

The Oklahoma attorney general was first publicly named as a possible contender Nov. 28, along with former Texas environment department chief Kathleen Hartnett White, who both met with Trump that day in New York. Local press reports noted that Pruitt is term limited as the top lawyer in the state.
Pruitt has long been a major thorn in the Obama EPA’s side, bringing or leading state challenges to a host of agency rules, including the power plant greenhouse gas rules, mercury air toxics rule, haze requirements, waters of the U.S. rule and others.

For example, he brought an unsuccessful suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that sought to block EPA from finalizing its GHG rule for existing power plants, though he was among a number of state attorneys general who succeeded in winning a high court stay of the rule.

He has also been among a group of state attorneys general criticizing EPA efforts to craft a new facility safety rule.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), one of Pruitt’s home state senators and a long-time EPA critic, strongly endorsed the attorney general. “Every time we had a problem, you had our attorney general coming filing lawsuits, getting involved. He’s fought all the EPA stuff. He’d be great,” Inhofe told Politico this week, adding that he has spoken to people in the Trump transition about Pruitt.
But environmentalists and Senate Democrats would be expected to oppose his nomination. Environmental Defense Fund noted in a recent statement that “since becoming Oklahoma’s top legal officer in 2011, Pruitt has sued the EPA to stop vital protections for public health — including standards for reducing soot and smog pollution that crosses interstate lines; protections against emissions of mercury, arsenic, acid gases and other toxic pollutants from power plants; and standards to improve air quality in national parks and wilderness areas. Each time he failed.”
“These common-sense efforts to cut pollution will save lives, prevent dangerous brain-development issues in children, reduce asthma attacks and increase productivity. Yet, Attorney General Pruitt has apparently never seen an EPA rule that didn’t prompt him to run to court to have it blocked,” the group said.

Hawaii Rural Water Holds First Annual Conference


1nrwa_2016_sm_page_11KAMUELA, Hawaii – The Hawaii Rural Water Association held its first annual conference Nov. 2-4 at Wailea Beach, Maui. The conference is a major milestone for the association, which was incorporated on December 2, 2010.

“It was amazing for our first year,” said Mahana Gomes, HRWA Executive Director.

HRWA partnered with the Hawaii Water Works Association for the conference. Over 200 water professionals attended, including 24 vendors.

The conference also featured the first Hawaii Water Taste Test. Consolidated Base Yard of Maui was named Hawaii’s best Tasting Water, and will be the first Hawaii utility to compete in the Great American Water Taste Test.

“We’re very excited,” Gomes said. “They will be joining us at the Rally in Washington.”

The Great American Water Taste Test will be held on Feb. 8, 2017 in Washington, D.C. as part of the annual Rural Water Rally.

Presentations at the conference included keynotes from Dr. Ka’eo Duarte and Josh Stanbro, who have been working on a large collaborative project called A Blueprint for Hawaii’s Future. Technical presentations included Dan Cortinovis Wastewater expert, Neal Fujii and Reinhard Sturm, Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management, Dr. Duranceau, University of Central Florida and Erica Perez, Coral Reef Alliance. The program also included opportunities for water and wastewater professionals to share stories and collaborate on ways to move forward in a more united and community based method.

“We really tried to create a feel of community and validation of the importance of all the work we do,” Gomes explained. “The water and wastewater communities have a lot of responsibility and a lot of authority when it comes to our water resource.”

Response to the first conference has been very positive.

“Everyone that came up to us said that it was a great event,” Gomes said. “The feeling was very uplifting.”

Several special guests attended the Hawaii conference including Mayor of Maui Alan Arakawa, National Rural Water Association President Steve Fletcher, NRWA Chief Financial Officer Claudette Atwood and Executive Director of the California Rural Water Association Dan DeMoss.

“A big Mahalo to everyone that supported us for this first annual conference,” Gomes said, using the Hawaiian word for thanks. “There was a lot of support and a lot of sacrifice made in order to make this first conference successful.”

Hawaii Rural Water is already making plans for their second conference, which will be Nov. 1-3, 2017 on the Big Island.

“Everyone is joking around the office that we can’t believe our first annual is just barely over and we’re already into the next one,” Gomes said. “We’re very excited for the second annual conference.”

Rural Water Energy Assessment Saves Town Over $100,000


u-s-_post_office_gowanda_ny_aug_10GOWANDA, N.Y. – The Village of Gowanda, N.Y. is set to save over $100,000 per year after an energy assessment by Jamie Herman from the New York Rural Water Association.

Most of the savings will come from a review of the system’s utility bills, which showed the village qualified for a discounted energy rate. The $0.02/kWh discount applies to all village operations and is estimated to save nearly $60,000 alone.

gowana“Superintendent Jason Opferbeck provided our staff with copies of all the necessary utility bills and operational reports, as well as detailed information regarding the operation of the wastewater system,” Herman said.

The energy audit also revealed upgrades to the wastewater system that could provide additional energy and money savings.  Herman recommended installing Variable Frequency Drives on the system’s lift stations and effluent pumps. VFDs allow pumps, motors and other equipment to operate at optimum speeds, saving energy and reducing mechanical stress.

The recommended upgrades are expected to save the wastewater utility over 300,000 kWh and $44,000 every year.

Room Block for the Rural Water Rally Opens Today


DUNCAN, Okla. – The Room Block for the 2017 Rural Water Rally opened today. Rural water supporters can now make reservations at the Hyatt Regency by phone or online. Registration and housing information is available at http://nrwa.org/rally/.

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.

An early registration discount will be available until Jan. 16, though registration will be available on-site and online.

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.

Rural Water Helps Minn. Community Fight Back Against Nitrates


rock1ELBOW LAKE, Minn. – When the Rock County Rural Water District noticed an increase in nitrate concentrations in their best producing wells they sought assistance from the Rock County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Minnesota Rural Water Association.

“Losing your best producing wells is a big deal in any part of the state,” said Aaron Meyer, MRWA Source Water Protection Specialist. “Losing your best wells in southwest Minnesota is an even bigger deal.”

The Water District was faced with either constructing a nitrate removal plant or drilling more wells.

“Finding water in this part of the state is very difficult, and many times once you find a source with sufficient quantity, it usually has poor quality,” Meyer explained.

To save themselves from building a nitrate removal plant or drilling additional wells, the RCRWD Board asked for assistance from the Rock County Soil and Water Conservation District and the MN Rural Water Association. The three organizations held meetings with the farmers and land owners within the wellhead protection area.

After discussing the various issues and concerns, the RCRWD Board decided to create a cost-share program to help fund conservation practices which would lessen the nitrate loading from croplands west of the Rock River. The cost-share program was designed to offer a financial incentive to farmers interested in planting a cover crop or applying an additional nitrogen side dress application. Side dressing is a method where fertilizer is applied alongside plants.

rock2The board used a tiered approach, offering the highest payment rates closest to the impacted wells and reduced payment rates farther away from the wells.

None of the farmers in the area were split applying their nitrogen fertilizer during the growing season, so the group created a program to apply the same amount of fertilizer but spread among more applications. This created a win-win that not only protected the water sources, but ensured more efficient use of nitrogen.

“By spreading it out over a number of applications rather than one, this would not only potentially increase yields, but also reduce the nitrate loading to the aquifer,” Meyer explained.

RCRWD also applied for a source water protection grant via Minnesota Department of Health and was awarded $10,000 to help offset some of the cost of implementing the program.

NRWA Opens Registration for the 2017 Rural Water Rally


DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association opened registration for the 2017 Rural Water Rally today. Registration and rally information is available at http://nrwa.org/rally/.

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.

An early registration discount will be available until Jan. 16, though registration will be available on-site and online.

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.

NRWA to Announce Creation of Workforce Advancement Center


DUNCAN, Okla. — The National Rural Water Association, the nation’s largest water utility association with over 31,000 members, will announce the creation of the NRWA Workforce Advancement Center Monday, Nov. 14 during a joint ceremony with the Oklahoma Rural Water Association at NRWA’s headquarters in Duncan, Okla. The Center will develop the WaterPro Apprenticeship Program, a nationally recognized standard that will be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.

“The NRWA Workforce Advancement Center will ensure a well-trained and capable water sector workforce to meet the increasing demands of the water industry,” said NRWA CEO Sam Wade. “Advancements in water treatment and supply technology have increased the skills and training needed to protect public health and the environment. The apprenticeship program will ensure we have the skilled and educated workforce we need well into the future.”

NRWA State Affiliates will jointly make the announcement at training events for water and wastewater operations specialists in California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia and New York. The announcement and events will commemorate National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and will highlight the need for a national water sector apprenticeship initiative.

It takes over 380,000 highly skilled water and wastewater personnel to ensure the public supply of safe drinking water and to protect our lakes, streams and groundwater. Advancements in water treatment and supply technology have increased the skills and training required of this workforce. Water professionals are ultimately responsible for meeting stringent regulatory standards, replacing aging infrastructure, recruiting and training new operations specialists, and responding to and recovering from disasters.

In addition to increasing professional demands, utilities will soon be forced to replace many of their most experienced employees. Between 2010 and 2020, the water sector is expected to lose between 30 and 50 percent of the workforce to retirement. Many of these employees have worked at the same utility for the majority of their careers, and they will depart with decades of valuable institutional knowledge.

NRWA Seeks Industry Experts to Present at 2017 WaterPro Conference


DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association has opened the call for presentations for the 2017 WaterPro Conference to be held Sept. 18-20 in Reno, Nev.

Those who wish to submit presentations for consideration can fill out the form at www.waterproconference.org/call.

All topics relevant to the water industry will be considered, but special consideration will be given to topics on new technology, security, utility management and board training. The WaterPro Conference offers training opportunities for all aspects of the Water Industry, from operation to management to regulation. WaterPro is unique, however, in that it offers specialized education and networking opportunities specifically designed for utility managers, town council members and utility board members.

Conference presentations should be submitted before December 16, 2016, at which time NRWA will begin selecting presentations for the agenda. The call will remain open until all conference timeslots are filled.

WaterPro is the annual conference of the National Rural Water Association and is designed to bring together water and wastewater utility systems – large and small, municipal and rural – for sessions in operations, management, boardsmanship and governance. More information about the WaterPro Conference is available at www.waterproconference.org