WaterPro Conference Registration Now Open

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DUNCAN, Okla. — Registration is now open for the 2016 WaterPro Conference, to be held Sept. 12-14 in Orlando, Florida. Attendees can register at waterproconference.org. Special discounts are available for NRWA members and attendees that register before Aug. 12.

The WaterPro Conference is the national conference of the National Rural Water Association. It features education sessions, exhibits and networking opportunities tailored to meet the needs of small water and wastewater utilities. Every year, thousands of water professionals across the United States attend to further their education, see new technology and hear from leading officials from the USDA and EPA.

Special hotel rates are also available to attendees planning their trip to the WaterPro Conference. The host venue for the 2016 WaterPro Conference is at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel.

To find more information or to ask a question about the WaterPro Conference please visit waterproconference.org.

USDA Rural Development Lowers Interest Rates

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced new, low rates for their Rural Utility Services loan programs.

The following rates will be effective on April 1:

  • Market: 2.875%
  • Intermediate: 2.25%
  • Poverty: 1.75%

“These new low interest rates for the USDA Water and Waste Disposal Program are an opportunity for rural communities to upgrade, expand, or replace their infrastructure affordably and bring cleaner, more reliable service to rural residents,” said RUS Administrator Brandon McBride. “Funding is available and USDA is ready to work with rural water leaders now while this low rate window is open.”

USDA’s Rural Utilities Service administers programs that provide infrastructure and infrastructure improvements to rural communities.

“USDA plays a critical role in helping to expand economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for rural Americans,” said Sam Wade, CEO of the National Rural Water Association. “These rates are incredibly low, and systems would be wise to take advantage of this opportunity to make needed improvements.”

Project loans can have up to 40-year payback period, based on the useful life of the facilities financed. The interest rate is based on the need for the project and the median household income of the area to be served. Applications are accepted year round at local offices of USDA Rural Development, or online using RDApply: https://rdapply.usda.gov.

Sustainable Utility Management for Rural and Small Systems: 2 p.m. CST April 7

Sustainable Utility Management for Rural and Small Systems is scheduled for 2 p.m. central on April 7. Click Here to Register

Sustainable Utility Management for Rural and Small Systems aim is to support rural and small water and wastewater systems in their common mission to become more successful and resilient service providers. The program is built around ten key management areas of sustainably managed utilities that can help rural and small water and wastewater system managers address many ongoing challenges and move toward sustainable management of both operations and infrastructure. In aiming to increase their long-term sustainability and effectiveness, the eventual goal for systems is high achievement, consistent with the needs and expectations of their communities.

This webinar will present an example of how NYRWA professionals were able to guide a small community through the Sustainable Management Program.

Presented by Steve Grimm and Molly Reed. Grimm is a Wastewater Technician for New York Rural Water Association. He has been with NYRWA for 15 years assisting small rural wastewater facilities with onsite technical assistance such as troubleshooting, I&I investigations and system sustainability. He is a stakeholder on DEC’s waste water infrastructure subcommittee representing the interests of the small rural systems NYRWA assists.

Reed is a Training Specialist with the New York Rural Water Association. She provides training and technical assistance for water and wastewater systems to achieve or maintain compliance with local and federal regulations. Ms. Reed has previous experience with a variety of environmental remediation, compliance, and mapping services. She has a B.S in Water Resources and a minor in Geographic Information Systems from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.

Rural Water Assists Flooded Communities

IMG_2065DUNCAN, Okla. –Responders from Louisiana Rural Water Association rush to build a berm of earth and plastic to protect a community’s wells from rising floodwater. It is only one example of Rural Water Associations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas working to protect and restore water service for communities threatened by recent floods.

The flooding began after a slow-moving storm system dumped more than two feet of rain on the region. The huge influx of water caused numerous rivers to reach record heights, leaving nearly 6,000 homes damaged and five reported dead.

“I wish this 100-year flood would have waited another 100 years: It is total devastation for these small rural communities,” said LRWA Executive Director Patrick Credeur.

With rain totals rising, Rural Water immediately began contacting utilities to assess their situation. Response managers sorted systems experiencing flood damage or service interruptions according to severity and dispatched staff and equipment to provide assistance. In just two days, association staff in three states contacted over 100 systems.

The assistance provided by Rural Water ranged from planning flood response to supporting complicated repairs.

“Three water distribution systems had water mains blown out at creek crossings,” explained Mississippi Rural Water Association Executive Director Kirby Mayfield. “Those breaks were repaired with only minor disruptions in service.”

IMG_2070Mississippi Rural Water assisted in isolating and repairing water mains for the Lexie Water Association and McGee’s Creek Water Association in Tylertown and the M and M Water Association in Laurel. In Louisiana, Rural Water assisted the Town of Blanchard and the Hebert Water System by constructing berms. They assisted other communities by detecting leaks, repairing damaged water lines or decontaminating flooded water wells.

In many cases, though, all they could do was assist the utility in planning for their recovery once the flood waters recede, because the system is completely underwater and the entire community has been evacuated.

“The people in Louisiana continue to fight flood waters,” Credeur said. “Many have been displaced and will not be allowed into their homes for many days to come and possibly weeks.”

Rural Development regulation webinar scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern on March 14

Washington, D.C. – USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Brandon McBride announced a new rule governing how Rural Development will review actions affecting natural, historic and cultural resources on March 2.

The rule, which takes effect April 1, applies to actions covered under the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act and other important environmental requirements.

Rural Development is hosting a webinar, titled “New Environmental Regulations for Rural Development- Don’t Fear the NEPA,” to explain the new rule. The webinar will be held at 3 p.m. Eastern on March 14. Those interested can register Here.

The EPA Ground Water Rule from the Ground Up: 2 p.m. CST March 17 2016

The EPA Ground Water Rule from the Ground Up is scheduled for 2 p.m CST on March 17, 2016. Click Here to Register

On December 10, 2009, the Ground Water Rule went into effect.  Why another Rule? What does it do? Who is effected and how? Join us as we review the basics of the GWR and answers to these important questions. In addition, this webinar will review the GWR’s relationship with other rules, explore compliance issues, and discuss potential corrective actions.

Presented by Tom J. Bahun. Bahun is a Training Specialist for Maine Rural Water Association. He is a Certified Environmental, Safety and Health Trainer, holds a Maine Class IV Water Treatment and Distribution Operator license and a Grade 5 Wastewater Treatment Operator license. Tom has over 20 years of experience with training adults in workplace safety, emergency response and water/wastewater management and operations.

NRWA hosting 2nd Annual Water District Forum June 1-2

Finance Reg seminar 2nd Annual logoDUNCAN, Okla. – The NRWA is hosting the 2nd Annual Water District Finance and Regulatory Issues Forum on June 1-2, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

This forum is designed to identify the challenges facing water districts, their potential solutions and available resources as well as educate agency officials about district operations. Participants will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with legislative staff, regulators and funding agencies to discuss the unique challenges face water districts.

Formed in the early 60s, Rural Water Districts, have grown to become major participants in the protection of public health and of drinking water sources. They are a foundation of the rural economy. When many RWD were formed the sparsely populated sections of the nation were their primary service areas. Today, in many locations, these once rural areas are now urbanized and/or have merged smaller systems into their operations to provide sustainability of service to rural citizens. The make-up of large service areas, miles of pipe that transcends multiple counties, and the funding and regulatory structures designed primarily for municipal operations, now present unique funding and regulatory challenges for rural districts.

More information is available at https://nrwa.org/waterdistrictforum/

SDWA Compliance Issues for the US Territories: 4 p.m. CST Feb. 25, 2016

SDWA Compliance Issues for the US Territories had been scheduled for 4 p.m. CST on Feb. 25, 2016. Register Now

This webinar will explore the unique challenges of Safe Drinking Water Act compliance for territorial utilities. Systems in the Territories often must provide service to dispersed rural communities with limited employment opportunities and a low tax base. Rural water has a long-standing relationship with these systems, providing technical, managerial, financial and emergency response assistance.

Presented by Mahana Gomes, executive director of the Hawaii Rural Water Association.

Glenbrook, Nev. Named Best Tasting Water in the Country


IMG_9537WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a cheer of celebration, officials from the Glenbrook Water Cooperative in Glenbrook, Nev. walked to the stage to accept the Gold Medal Award at the Great American Water Taste Test. Glenbrook was selected by a panel of judges at the GAWTT finals at noon on Feb. 10 in Washington D.C.

The Consolidated Rural Water and Sewer District #1 of Jefferson County from Hastings, Okla. won the Silver Award, with the City of Emporia, Kan. earning Bronze. The Northwest Dyersburg Utility District in IMG_9535Dyersburg, Tenn. and the City of Scottsbluff, Neb. completed the top five. A panel of preliminary judges selected the five finalists from entries submitted from across the nation. Only utilities that had won their state drinking water taste test were eligible to submit samples for the national competition.

Rural Utility Service Administrator, Brandon McBride, Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs, Jacki Ponti-Lazaruk, RUS Senior Advisor Titilayo Ogunyale, Director for Rural
IMG_9532Development’s Water Programs Division, Kent Evans, and USDA Engineering and Environmental Staff Director, Kelli Kubena served as the final judges.

Judges rated each water sample based on its clarity, bouquet and taste.
Watch a recording of the entire Taste Test.

GAWTT Photo Gallery

Watch the Great American Water Taste Test live at Noon Eastern

NRWA will stream the Great American Water Taste Test Live from Washington D.C. at Noon Eastern. Viewers can watch the stream on this page or by Clicking Here.

A recording of the event should be available immediately after the stream is completed. Viewers will also have access to a live chat feature that allows them to interact with the event.