Mexico Visits Oklahoma to Discuss Utility Best Practices

Mexico delegation visit

Oklahoma City, Okla. – NRWA and ORWA hosted a Mexican delegation of water utility managers and senior staff in Oklahoma City, November 14 – 15, 2019, to discuss the operations and management of small water and wastewater systems in the US.

NRWA was contacted by the US Department of State, Global Ties because of its international connections and well-known training and technical assistance to rural systems across the country.

“The group will examine sewage treatment infrastructure and plans for maintenance, populations growth and contingencies necessary for waterways to be safe for recreational contact and drinking,” stated in the US State Department program request from Melissa Graffigna, President of the International Visitors’ Council of Oklahoma City.

Tour of Del City Water Treatment Plant with Mexico

Jimmy Seago, ORWA Deputy CEO, and Steve Wheeler, Field Operations Manager, coordinated a tour of the Del City Water Treatment Plant located just east of Oklahoma City. The group was given a personal tour by the Del City water superintendent where they were given a hands-on experience of the daily operations.

The next day at ORWA headquarters, Sam Wade, NRWA CEO, and James Gamill, ORWA CEO, welcomed the 9-member Mexico delegation to Oklahoma, and staff began presenting information about programs, trainings and other necessary day-to-day activities inside the associations.

“We do not have an association or an organization like these in Mexico,” one delegate said. “But to see a group of experts pull together to help systems and communities is what it should be all about.”

The three-hour scheduled meeting ran overtime as the Mexico group had questions about the structure, planning and implementation of each program and wanted to dive deeper in hopes that some of these practices could be introduced in their communities.

At ORWA headquarters with Mexico delegation

The Mexico delegation visited three other states including Michigan, Kansas and Missouri where they met with universities and government agencies.

“Your staff shined with expertise, hospitality, and goodwill to make the visit one of the professional highlights of this State program,” one of the US State Department representatives said as they thanked everyone in the room.

Utilities Targeted in Cyberattacks Identified

An article from the Wall Street Journal
November 24, 2019

Hackers homed in on smaller electricity providers in proximity to critical infrastructure; FBI investigating

By Rebecca Smith and Rob Barry

More than a dozen U.S. utilities that were targets in a recent wave of cyberattacks have been identified by The Wall Street Journal. Some of the utilities, most of which are relatively small, are located near dams, locks and other critical infrastructure.

These electricity providers were singled out in a hacking campaign that was brought to light in August by researchers at a Silicon Valley cybersecurity company. But little was known about the attacks until now.

One of the electric utilities targeted in the ‘Lookback’ cyberattacks is near the Sault Ste. Marie Locks, above, a critical juncture for the transport of iron ore to U.S. steel mills. PHOTO: UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP/GETTY IMAGES

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing the attacks and has contacted some, but not all, of the utilities, according to some of the utilities. It is possible that the hacking campaign is ongoing, according to security researchers.

Utilities said the FBI provided information that helped them scan their computer networks to see if firewalls—their first-line defenses—had been probed and whether malware-laced emails had been sent to their employees. The FBI declined to comment.

The targeted utilities, which operate in 18 states from Maine to Washington, include Cloverland Electric Cooperative in Michigan, which sits next to the Sault Ste. Marie Locks, a critical juncture for the transport of iron ore to U.S. steel mills; Klickitat Public Utility District in Washington state, which is near major federal dams and transmission lines that funnel hydroelectricity to California; and Basin Electric Power Cooperative in North Dakota, one of the few utilities that is capable of delivering electricity to both the nation’s eastern and western grids.

The hackers attempted to get malware installed on utility computers through “phishing” emails that trick recipients into opening them. The embedded malware, which in this case has been dubbed “Lookback,” could give attackers the ability to take control of victims’ computers and steal information.

The attackers left identifying information on targets briefly exposed on a server in Hong Kong, security researchers said, a portion of which the Journal was able to review. Of the 11 utilities named in this way by the Journal, none said that they had been breached but roughly half said that the FBI had warned them that they may have been targets. Some utilities said they didn’t detect any suspicious emails.

Some utilities targeted in the cyberattacks are located near vital infrastructure. PHOTO: NATALIE BEHRING/GETTY IMAGES

At least two other utilities not on the list were also likely targeted in the attacks, according to people familiar with the matter, which have taken place throughout 2019. The names of other presumed targets couldn’t be determined.

The U.S. government has warned repeatedly that the nation’s electricity grid is an attractive target for overseas hackers. The U.S. blamed a hacking campaign in 2017—the subject of a Page One article in the Journal in January—on the Russian government. National-security officials have said that Russia and China have the ability to temporarily disrupt the operations of electric utilities and gas pipelines.

This year’s hacking campaign illustrates the extent of the threat: Even smaller utilities, which often lack big budgets for security measures, are vulnerable, even though experts once believed their low profile afforded them some protection.

Executives of Wisconsin Rapids Water Works and Lighting Commission said an FBI agent reached out to them in early October and suggested attackers could have been targeting the utility’s networks at the beginning of the year.

“It turned out the reason they were contacting us was because we had been probed in January and again in March” by someone testing the utility’s firewalls from a network located in Hong Kong, said Matt Stormoen, the utility’s information-systems administrator.

The utility now blocks emails from Hong Kong. “We never got compromised and never saw the phishing emails,” Mr. Stormoen said.

Researchers at Proofpoint Inc., the cybersecurity firm that early on publicized the Lookback attacks, identified at least two active attack periods in July and August, when hackers sent emails designed to entice the targets to open them up. One email distributed in July, for example, falsely purported it contained licensing examination information from the U.S. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

David Cox, chief executive of the examination body, said the fraudulent emails “were like nothing we send out” but might still have tricked people because they used the group’s logo.

Another examination-themed email that circulated in August was falsely presented as coming from an outfit called Global Energy Certification, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The targeted utilities, which operate in 18 states from Maine to Washington, include Cloverland Electric Cooperative in Michigan, which sits next to the Sault Ste. Marie Locks, a critical juncture for the transport of iron ore to U.S. steel mills; Klickitat Public Utility District in Washington state, which is near major federal dams and transmission lines that funnel hydroelectricity to California; and Basin Electric Power Cooperative in North Dakota, one of the few utilities that is capable of delivering electricity to both the nation’s eastern and western grids.

The hackers attempted to get malware installed on utility computers through “phishing” emails that trick recipients into opening them. The embedded malware, which in this case has been dubbed “Lookback,” could give attackers the ability to take control of victims’ computers and steal information.

The attackers left identifying information on targets briefly exposed on a server in Hong Kong, security researchers said, a portion of which the Journal was able to review. Of the 11 utilities named in this way by the Journal, none said that they had been breached but roughly half said that the FBI had warned them that they may have been targets. Some utilities said they didn’t detect any suspicious emails.

Some utilities targeted in the cyberattacks are located near vital infrastructure. PHOTO: NATALIE BEHRING/GETTY IMAGES

At least two other utilities not on the list were also likely targeted in the attacks, according to people familiar with the matter, which have taken place throughout 2019. The names of other presumed targets couldn’t be determined.

The U.S. government has warned repeatedly that the nation’s electricity grid is an attractive target for overseas hackers. The U.S. blamed a hacking campaign in 2017—the subject of a Page One article in the Journal in January—on the Russian government. National-security officials have said that Russia and China have the ability to temporarily disrupt the operations of electric utilities and gas pipelines.

This year’s hacking campaign illustrates the extent of the threat: Even smaller utilities, which often lack big budgets for security measures, are vulnerable, even though experts once believed their low profile afforded them some protection.

Executives of Wisconsin Rapids Water Works and Lighting Commission said an FBI agent reached out to them in early October and suggested attackers could have been targeting the utility’s networks at the beginning of the year.

“It turned out the reason they were contacting us was because we had been probed in January and again in March” by someone testing the utility’s firewalls from a network located in Hong Kong, said Matt Stormoen, the utility’s information-systems administrator.

The utility now blocks emails from Hong Kong. “We never got compromised and never saw the phishing emails,” Mr. Stormoen said.

Researchers at Proofpoint Inc., the cybersecurity firm that early on publicized the Lookback attacks, identified at least two active attack periods in July and August, when hackers sent emails designed to entice the targets to open them up. One email distributed in July, for example, falsely purported it contained licensing examination information from the U.S. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

David Cox, chief executive of the examination body, said the fraudulent emails “were like nothing we send out” but might still have tricked people because they used the group’s logo.

Another examination-themed email that circulated in August was falsely presented as coming from an outfit called Global Energy Certification, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Any opening of the emails would likely have unleashed—without users knowing—malicious code potentially giving attackers covert control over their computers. Only a few people at any individual utility were targeted, Proofpoint said, suggesting hackers studied their victims carefully.

Proofpoint researchers say that the attackers used similar tools as Chinese hackers and that Iran has been active in the utilities sector, but the identities of the perpetrators remain shrouded in mystery.

It couldn’t be determined whether the hackers infiltrated utility operations, whose defenses are typically stronger than those of utilities’ business networks and purposely separated from the internet.

Ted Cash, general manager of ALP Utilities, a city-owned utility in Alexandria, Minn., said his information-technology employees “found a quarantined email in a restricted account” after they were contacted by the FBI, and his IT staff downloaded the quarantined email onto a disk and sent it to the FBI for analysis.

Gary Huhta, general manager of Cowlitz County Public Utility District in Washington state, said his staff didn’t know anything about Lookback until the FBI informed them they may have been hit in July. Subsequent analysis, he said, determined no malicious emails had entered the utility’s network.

Some utility executives told the Journal that the Lookback campaign was unfamiliar and that they had not received any FBI warning.

“It doesn’t ring a bell with me,” said Mike Parrish, director of IT security at Flathead Electric Cooperative in Kalispell, Mont., whose utility was among those listed on the Hong Kong server.

Brian Matthews, chief information officer for Basin Electric Power, declined to “offer specifics about what has gone on.” The North Dakota utility provides wholesale electricity to 141 electric cooperatives in nine states.

Some utility managers said they weren’t particularly worried about Lookback because they face a daily barrage of malicious emails. “Malware is inside 60% of the email our server receives,” said Chuck Zane, IT director for Cloverland. “The odds of those emails making it to a desktop are slim.”

He added that, although his utility might appear to be critical to operations at the Sault Ste. Marie locks, the locks have their own sources of electricity.

Likewise, Jim Smith, the general manager of Klickitat PUD said that even though the John Day Dam on the Columbia River is near its offices in Goldendale, Wash., it has no control over the power house or the transmission lines onto which electricity is fed. “But if they are thinking in terms of geographic proximity, then we might seem like a worthwhile target,” he said.

NRWA Opens Call for Abstracts for 2020 WaterPro Conference

DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association has opened a call for abstracts for the 2020 WaterPro Conference, to be held September 14 – 16, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona.

NRWA is looking for experienced professionals and outstanding leaders to present on a wide variety of current challenges and opportunities for our attendees. Those interested in presenting on topics related to Water and Wastewater Operations for small utilities, Workforce Development, Board Management and Leadership, Technological Innovations, Disaster Response and Recovery and/ or Sustainability and Partnerships can submit abstracts at www.waterproconference.org/call/.

NRWA is especially interested, but not limited to, these specific topics for WaterPro Conference 2020:

 

All abstracts will be reviewed by NRWA staff after the submission deadline of February 3, 2020. Speakers may be contacted to ask for additional information on the presentations submitted. Speakers will be contacted about speaking opportunities if their presentation is selected by April 2020.

 

 

Kansas Rural Water Association Continues Assistance After Damaging Tornado in Linwood

6-inch plastic pot found after plug was removed.

On May 28, 2019, a devastating tornado ripped through the City of Linwood, Kansas that would need long-term assistance from Kansas Rural Water Association (KRWA).

Vehicles were flipped over, homes severely damaged or destroyed and debris spread out everywhere. One consequence, some might not think about, would be the harm that debris could cause the local wastewater facility.

On July 8 KRWA Wastewater Tech Charlie Schwindamann visited the City of Linwood wastewater facility. He helped the city’s Wastewater Operator Robert Bryant conduct a sludge profile and assess the tornado debris damage.

After finding that the loss of capacity in the wastewater cells was between 10 and 16 percent, Schwindamann recommended that the sludge be removed in order to remove all debris left by the tornado.

“There is no way to know all debris will be removed without removing all the sludge as well,” said Schwindamann.

Following up on this project, Schwindamann returned to Linwood on September 3 to assist with removing debris that was plugging the lines between the wastewater cells. Utilizing an inflatable flow-thru plug and pump, they were able to force water from the structures back into the cells to dislodge any debris and open the pipes.

“In cell one we were able to get it opened and found a 6-inch plastic pot floating near the pipe soon after plug was removed and believe this was plugging the line,” reported Schwindamann.

They used the same method for the other cells as well and found possible pieces of insulation floating near the pipe in the cell, presumably what was plugging the pipe. As Linwood and the wastewater facility continue to recover from the damaging effects of the tornado, continued work is likely to be needed on the wastewater cells.

Linwood, Kansas is an example of the tremendous impact natural disasters have, and also the long-lasting effects that they can cause. Rural Water continues to respond to these events and provide assistance to communities and utilities in need.

EPA Announces Partnership to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure at Schools and Childcare Facilities

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further support efforts that reduce lead in drinking water at schools and child care facilities. In recognition of Children’s Health Month, the commitments made in this MOU will provide safer and healthier environments for children across the country.

“The Trump Administration is prioritizing efforts to identify and reduce lead contamination while ensuring children impacted by lead exposure are getting the support and care they need,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This MOU supports our Lead Action Plan and shows our commitment to work with federal and non-federal partners to ‘get the lead out’ of drinking water to the greatest extent possible.”

This new MOU provides a framework for a coordinated approach between critical partners across the federal government, tribes, water utilities and the public health community. The commitments of this new MOU support the Lead Action Plan, which provides a blueprint for reducing lead exposure and associated harms by working with a range of stakeholders, including states, tribes and local communities, along with businesses, property owners and parents.

“While America’s drinking water is very safe and the occurrence of lead in drinking water is rare, we want to stay vigilant in protecting the children in our schools and child care facilities from any potential occurrence of lead in drinking water,” stated NRWA Deputy CEO Matthew Holmes. “Rural and small communities are committed to collaborate with our federal partners, especially the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and USDA Rural Development, to implement the national 3Ts initiative to help empower the public on exactly how to protect schools and child care facilities from possible drinking water lead contamination.”

“My priority is for our BIE students to receive a quality education and study in safe facilities and environments, one critical environmental factor is safe drinking water. Indian Affairs is actively working to ensure that children in our schools are provided with safe drinking water,” said Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary- Indian Affairs.

“ASDWA’s members will be on the front lines in working with state public health and education agencies on lead testing in schools and child care centers, which is the first step to reducing lead exposure in these facilities. ASDWA, whose role it is to convene state drinking water agencies together to tackle common drinking water issues is well qualified and positioned to help, and we’re very eager to get started,” said Alan Roberson, Executive Director, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA).

The MOU:
• Highlights each partner’s commitment to work to help ensure that children in schools and childcare facilities are provided with safe drinking water.
• Encourages supporting activities that provide education on health concerns associated with lead in drinking water; assists in the development of a lead testing program utilizing the EPA’s 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in School and Child Care Facilities; and helps schools and child care facilities establish a sustainable and effective lead in drinking water testing program.
• Promotes collaboration in the development of materials, training and tools to assist schools and child care facilities in reducing lead in drinking water.
• Allows for better identification of appropriate networks, associations and organizations to partner with to develop communication materials for schools and child care facilities.

To read the MOU and related information visit: https://www.epa.gov/safewater/3Ts

Background
Since the 1970s, the United States has made tremendous progress in lowering children’s blood lead levels. Despite the overall decline of blood lead levels over time, lead remains a significant public health concern for some children because of persistent lead hazards in the environment. Recognizing that children spend large portions of their days in schools and child care facilities, EPA suggests that these facilities implement programs for reducing lead in drinking water as part of their overall plans for maintaining healthy learning environments.

EPA Administrator Addresses Agency Goals with Water

EPA Administrator Wheeler delivers keynote at WaterPro Conference 2019

U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler delivered the keynote presentation to kick off Opening Session at the 2019 WaterPro Conference in Nashville, Tennessee with more than 2,100 in attendance.

Administrator Wheeler addressed NRWA members about the agency’s goals both domestically and internationally to elevate the importance of water issues and commended Rural Water on the differences they are making in the water and wastewater industry.

“On infrastructure we estimate that more than 700 billion dollars are needed to modernize the United States water infrastructure over the next 20 years,” Wheeler stated.

When the EPA was founded almost 50 years ago, 40 percent of our water systems failed to meet EPA’s standards every single day. Wheeler proudly went on to inform the audience that of the 50,000 community water systems across the country, 91 percent of these systems serve communities of less than 10,000.

He continued with updates on the EPA programs that water and wastewater systems can utilize to improve their infrastructure and water technologies as well as the three key areas EPA is focused on assisting with are regulatory certainty, workforce development and financial assistance.

“Regulations need to keep pace with science and realities on the ground,” Wheeler stressed. “PFAS is a major concern right now, and EPA is working to develop new technologies and treatment options to remove PFAS from drinking water and to remediate soil.” Along with this research and development, they are looking into the ricks of PFAS in bio-solids, monitoring options and developing a PFAS risk communication tool box that includes materials that states, tribes and local partners can use to effectively communicate with the public.

“In the United States we have come to rely on safe drinking water at the turn of a tap. It can be easy to take this blessing for granted. But the strength of local economies and public health depend on the dedicated support of drinking water, wastewater and storm water systems. More specifically the depend on the people who operate them, the water workforce,” Wheeler commented.

One third of water operators will be eligible to retire in the next ten years. The water workforce protects the investments in our water infrastructure. A major challenge right now is developing and retaining new water and wastewater operators, and right now technology is outpacing the training. EPA is working with their federal counterparts to support water workforce training and development.

“We appreciate your work on this effort, especially the National Rural Water Association’s Apprenticeship Program,” Wheeler said.

In closing, Wheeler announced a new grant program to be offered, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) authorizes a new EPA grant program specifically designed to help disadvantaged communities to improve their drinking water. The first round for applications for this grant will be opened later this month.

“Every day you and your colleagues provide clean and safe water to millions of Americans. There are few callings as noble and as significant as that,” Wheeler said, “you deserve greater recognition and least of all you deserve our thanks.”

Other highlights of the Opening Session included NRWA President Kent Watson reviewed NRWA’s accomplishments this past year, including a plan to purchase a fully equipped emergency response trailer and one-ton truck for NRWA to assist in emergency response efforts across the country. Watson highlighted the continuing success of the NRWA Affinity Partners and the growing NRWA Apprenticeship Program.

NRWA CEO Sam Wade praised the attendees, because the everyday efforts of utility professionals are what makes Rural Water successful.

Nicholas Hines, the first apprentice to complete the NRWA Apprenticeship Program, was also recognized during the Opening Session. The Apprenticeship Program is focused on helping emerging leaders become the next generation of professionals to improve the water and wastewater industry.

“This program is turning jobs into careers for apprentices across the country,” Hines said.

Between one of the highest attendance in conference history and the participation of high government officials from EPA and USDA, this WaterPro Conference was considered a huge success and plans have started for next year’s WaterPro Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Oklahoma Sets Industry Leading Precedence by Signing Strategic Alliance Agreement

August 22nd of 2019 was a day that should be noted in Oklahoma history as the first Strategic Alliance Agreement was formally signed between the Oklahoma State Secretary of Energy and Environment, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, and the Oklahoma Rural Water Association, and was ratified by the Governor of Oklahoma Kevin Stitt.

The formal signing took place at the Oklahoma Rural Water Association’s fall conference at Sequoyah State Park’s Western Hills Lodge.  The alliance agreement commits the organizations to work together to help meet the missions of the organizations and to improve the sustainability of Oklahoma rural and small community water and wastewater systems.

Some of Oklahoma’s water and wastewater infrastructure systems exceed one hundred years old, and many of the systems are not prepared for the business challenges of the twenty-first century.  Without enough potable clean water and wastewater system capacity the economic development of many Oklahoma communities will be a risk.

“We’re in a different time and era than when most rural water and wastewater systems were set up.” Said Jimmy E. Seago, Deputy CEO of Oklahoma Rural Water Association. “At that time, our biggest challenges were meeting the needs of economic growth and development. Today, the biggest challenge is changing our mindset of how we operate and do business.”

Water system managers and boards will need to see themselves not as operating a mom-and-pop non-profit, but as professionals whose responsibilities include public health, customer service, best business practices, education, public relations, technology and much more.  And, the signing of this agreement will ensure they have the resources available to them to meet those needs.

No one organization or agency has all the resources to address the water and wastewater system sustainability planning that will be vital to the success of meeting and exceeding Oklahoma’s water needs into the next century. In 2018 the Oklahoma Rural Water Association took national honors for providing membership services. The new strategic alliance is an extension of that effort.

By working together as a team all the members of this strategic alliance have the resources required to complete the task.  And a daunting task it will be as there are over 1,300 water systems in the state that need long range sustainability planning.

“This is good government at work for the people of Oklahoma.” Said Scott Thompson, Executive Director of Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

It will elevate the rural water and wastewater systems of Oklahoma to a best-in-class business model.  This will move Oklahoma into the top five in the nation on providing long range value for its citizens through water and wastewater services.

Strategic alliances are built on relationships between people, and this alliance will develop trust and teamwork between the organizations and all of Oklahoma.

IRWA Breaks Ground for Technical Training Facility

Idaho Rural Water Association (IRWA) broke ground on its almost 11,000 square foot Technical Training Center located in Boise, Idaho on August 8, 2019.

This facility will be used to train incoming apprentices and help with emergency response hands-on education that will benefit small communities and rural areas all across Idaho. It will house both indoor and outdoor areas to accommodate classroom-style coursework and practical field training.

“By establishing a workforce training center, Idaho’s rural communities will have a dedicated source of trained workers prepared to take on the management and challenges associated with rural water infrastructure,” U.S. Senator Mike Crapo said as he previously commended IRWA for putting together .  a highly-merited proposal deemed worthy of investment by the Economic Development Administration.

In October 2018, U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $1.4 million grant to IRWA. The remaining financial support is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Community Facilities Loan Program.

When the announcement of the award came out, U.S. Senator James Risch (ID) stated, “This investment will create jobs and energize rural water in Idaho and the industries it supports. I look forward to seeing the positive impact it has on our community and business development for years to come.”

Sen. Risch’s Regional Director, Rachel Burkett, attended the Groundbreaking Ceremony alongside Casey Atteberry, State Director of Agriculture for U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, and Dirk Mendive, Regional Director for U.S. Representative Russ Fulcher.

“After many years of hard work and determination by the IRWA staff and Board of Directors, the vision of providing superior training opportunities for professionals in the drinking water and wastewater industry can now become a reality,” Shelley Roberts, IRWA CEO, stated as she thanked everyone who has been a part of this dream.

Those who have been most involved in this project participated in the ceremonious groundbreaking with shovels that includes: William (Brad) Richy, Director of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management, Idaho Military Division; Layne R Bangerter, State Director of Idaho, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development; Shelley Roberts, CEO Idaho Rural Water Association; Robert Dial, Board President, Idaho Rural Water Association; Silvia Morrow, VP Branch Manager, D. L. Evans Bank Scott Henderson, Construction Manager, Pacific Source Construction; John Russ, Area Manager, Idaho Department of Labor; and Martin Hahle, AIA, President CSHQA.

EPA Administrator Will Deliver Keynote at WaterPro Conference

USEPA photo by Eric Vance

The National Rural Water Association welcomes U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler as its keynote speaker at WaterPro Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on September 9, 2019.

Wheeler will be the first EPA Administrator to attend WaterPro and to address America’s water and wastewater leadership of rural areas and small communities.

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. These industry professionals are part of the decision-makers who are responsible for 90% of the nation’s community water supply.

EPA Administrator Wheeler is expected to cover the vital role EPA plays in building infrastructure for the future and the long-standing relationship with NRWA and its State Affiliates.

Don’t Fret – You Can Still Register for WaterPro Conference 2019

Did you miss the early bird registration deadline for WaterPro Conference 2019? Don’t worry! You still have ample time to sign up for the industry event of the year. This year’s agenda is packed full of valuable information and educational tools that you won’t want to miss. With topics on Utility Management, Technology Innovations, Women in Water and Board Leadership training, there is a wide variety for you to choose from.

If you are looking for more interaction and updates from the federal agencies, attend the Outlook Sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. WaterPro Conference will provide the latest in technological innovation, emergency response and disaster recovery and much more.

Along with these amazing session topics are opportunities to make the most out of your WaterPro Conference experience. Get in early on Sunday to enjoy a day on the green with fellow Rural Water professionals or take a shot at the Sporting Clays Fun Shoot. Check out the State Associations in the Exhibit Hall as they battle it out Monday at the first WaterPro Feud.

With WaterPro Conference being held in Nashville, Tennessee, you can take advantage of all the wonderful things it has to offer. From the Grand Ole Opry, to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and much more, you can be sure Nashville has something just for you.

There are many opportunities for you at WaterPro Conference, such as learning new skills and upgrading current ones, networking opportunities, meeting with vendors and suppliers and hearing from the experts. You don’t want to miss it! Visit the conference website for information on the agenda, places to stay, events and how to register.

You may have missed the early bird registration opportunity, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on WaterPro! We look forward to seeing you in Nashville.