Rural Water Helps Locate Leak Costing $1,095 per Month

BURGIN, Ky. – The Town of Burgin, Ky. had a serious leak that was costing $1,095 per month and was bubbling to the surface along roadways, creating a risk to motorists. Assistance from the Kentucky Rural Water Association helped locate and repair the leak, saving thousands of dollars and protecting the lives of local drivers.

“The city contacted me for assistance in locating a leak that was surfacing near the main road,” said Danny Stinson, a Circuit Rider with KRWA. Circuit Riders are roving water experts that provide assistance to communities in need.

Stinson evaluated the immediate area and isolated the leak to a section between two valves. He investigated further, using sophisticated acoustic detection equipment to search for the leak by identifying the noise it made.

“He was able to find the leak in an old line that was put in illegally several years ago,” Burgin Mayor and Water Superintendent George Hensley said in a letter.

The line was connected on an abandoned house and was leaking over 10 gallons per minute. Rural Water’s assistance saved over $13,000 per year in water loss, plus over a thousand dollars in consulting fees.

“His help was very much appreciated,” Hensley said. “We want to thank everyone involved in helping us with this problem.”

Rural Water Prepared to Restore Water After Harvey

DUNCAN, Okla. – State Rural Water Associations, especially those in Texas and Louisiana are ready to respond to small communities once flood waters recede.

“Restoring water and wastewater service is the primary goal of the Rural Water Emergency Response teams,” said Matt Holmes, Deputy CEO of the National Rural Water Association.

The Rural Water Network consist of mutual aid agreements from other states to provide trained emergency response personnel, equipment and supplies to restore service to local communities.

“Restoring service after a flood is a complicated task,” Holmes said.

The first step to restoring clean drinking water to a community is reestablishing electricity. Rural Water has access to hundreds of emergency generators that can be used to provide temporary power until power companies can repair electric systems.

Floods can create additional complications because they can potentially contaminate the entire drinking water system. That means that wells, pumps and distribution lines may have to be cleared and decontaminated to meet safe drinking water standards.

Staff of State Rural Water Associations undergo annual training to respond and manage emergencies. Often, the general public does not realize the amount of pre-planning needed to respond to these types of events. Meals, fuel, lodging and, above all else, safety have to be planned out before entering into an emergency area. Rural Water staff is trained and ready to respond once access is made available.

Telluride Saves Nearly $50,000 per Year with Energy Upgrades

TELLURIDE, Colo. – The Town of Telluride, Colo. has made a series of energy efficiency upgrades to the water and wastewater treatment facilities that are saving nearly $50,000 per year, with new improvements set to provide even more savings when completed. Improvements include motor capacitors, geothermal heating and cooling, solar power and micro hydroelectric power generation.

One of the simplest improvements was by improving the sizing and location of the wastewater plant’s motor capacitors.

“At the time, I did not know what the big grey boxes above the electrical buckets were,” said Bill Goldsworthy, Telluride Plant Superintendent “I found out they were generically-sized capacitors, which make it easier to start motors no matter how large or small. Every plant has them, the question is, are they the right size and are they located as close to the load as possible.”

Telluride contracted a company to replace the large, generic capacitors in a single location to properly-sized capacitors located near the motors they would supply. The work was done without interrupting the plant operation.

“They did this without starting and stopping motors,” Goldsworthy said.  “I wouldn’t have known they were there.”

The upgrade saved enough to payback its cost in the first year.

In 2006, Telluride investigated the possibility of heating the aerobic digesters in the wastewater plant to solve settling issues during cold months. An inspection revealed that heating was not a solution for the digesters, but the plant could convert to a geothermal heating system that would provide significant savings over the current, natural gas heating.

At the time, Telluride was spending $45,000 per year on heating. That amount heated both the wastewater plant and the town dog pound, including rooms in the treatment plant that required the air to be exchanged several times per hour. The town installed a closed-loop heat exchange system that used the wastewater plant effluent as a heat source when there was cold weather and a heat sink when hot.

The heating costs of the plant have decreased from $45,000 to $10,000.

Telluride has also installed 112 kw of solar power generation over the wastewater facility’s three oxidation ditches. The town also used the 1,000-foot elevation of their new water treatment facility to install a micro hydroelectric generation station that will produce 320 kw when completed.

These improvements will be discussed as part of a webinar, Innovative Energy Saving Strategies for Utility Systems, held at 2 p.m. CDT on Aug. 24. Those interested in hearing the presentation can Register Here or watch the live stream on the NRWA Facebook Page.

Innovative Energy Saving Strategies for Utility Systems: 2 PM CDT Aug. 24

Innovative Energy Saving Strategies for Utility Systems: 2 PM CDT Aug. 24 Register Now This Webinar will also be simulcast through Facebook Live.

This webinar will focus on case studies from the Town of Telluride and May Valley Water that have instituted energy saving improvements to save energy/money for their communities. Topics will include alternative power generation using hydro electric generators, wastewater effluent heat transfer systems and design for heating buildings. We will also cover sizing pumps correctly to ensure energy efficient operations.

WaterPro Conference Discount Set to Expire as Event Approaches

DUNCAN, Okla. – Early Bird registration discounts for the 2017 WaterPro Conference will end at midnight on Friday, Aug 18. Those interested in attending should register now to save money on their registration.

The expiration also marks 30 days until the conference, which will be held Sept. 18-20 in Reno, Nev.

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, board leadership and governance.

NRWA Praises New EPA National Approach to Improve Drinking Water Safety & Compliance

DUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association, the largest community-based drinking water utility organization in the country, praises a July 24, 2017, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy to reestablish on-site assistance to the country’s over 46,000 small community drinking water utilities to help them comply with federal environmental regulations.

“Small and rural communities have the very important public responsibility of complying with all applicable federal regulations and for supplying the public with safe drinking water and sanitation every second of every day,” said Mike Keegan, NRWA Policy Analyst. “Most U.S. water utilities are small: 91% of the country’s 50,366 drinking water supplies serve communities with fewer than 10,000 persons. These small and rural communities rely on on-site technical assistance to operate their drinking water and wastewater systems responsibly, in compliance with myriad federal regulations and avoiding EPA fines. Small communities want to ensure quality water and stay in compliance – on-site technical assistance provides them the shared technical resources to do it. We appreciate Administrator Scott Pruitt’s new attitude to prioritize the policies that will result in a dramatic and measurable improvement in drinking water safety and compliance in rural America.”

EPA’s recent decision directs the agency to fund technical assistance through the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act (PL 114-98), which was enacted on December 11, 2015. This is an important change in EPA policy; to reestablish “full-time” on-site-technicians that were eliminated in 2012 when Congress gave EPA discretion over the operation of the program.

On-site technicians are water treatment and EPA compliance experts that provide roving training and technical assistance to small and rural communities in need. This form of assistance is so effective because the technician can travel to communities to work with their unique treatment system and to personally educate the operations specialists, managers, mayors or other local officials. This level of assistance can only be provided by full time technicians, available to assist communities when they are in need, including nights, weekends and after natural disasters.

Five U.S. Senators wrote a letter encouraging Administer Pruitt to utilize the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act. Senators Barrasso (WY), Heitkamp (ND), Enzi (WY), Duckworth (IL) and Boozman (AR) wrote:

“On-site technical assistance can equip small and rural communities with the resources they need to provide safe water to residents and businesses while also meeting drinking water standards. We believe this assistance is most effective when it comes from a trusted individual who is willing to travel directly to the community, has technical expertise to remedy the specific issue with existing treatment and infrastructure, and can be available on-site at any time. In December 2015, Congress unanimously passed and the president signed the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act, which directs the EPA to provide on-site technical assistance in a manner that is most effective to small and rural communities. By following the authorities under the Act, we are hopeful on-site technical assistance can be reestablished in our states and ultimately make the program more effective and easier for the EPA to implement.”

The new EPA policy should result in the return of two on-site technicians in each state. These technicians will provide critical support to rural and small communities.

Colorado Rural Water Energy Assessment Leads to Energy Efficiency Upgrades

WILEY, Colo.– An energy assessment for the May Valley Water District led to energy efficiency upgrades that reduced the system’s pumping costs by 40%.

“We identified the opportunity to lower energy consumption by resizing and upgrading one of the water well pumps,” said Joe Kleffner, a Colorado Rural Water Association Energy Program Technician. “The existing pump was driven by a 20-horsepower motor, but we discovered that the required amount of water could be delivered with a 10-horsepower motor.”

Kleffner selected a high-efficiency Variable Frequency Drive motor, which would further increase energy savings. VFDs improve efficiency by operating at various speeds, where direct drives only operate at full power. The new equipment cost $5,785 and lowered energy costs by $3,900 annually. The original pumping costs of $1.30 per thousand gallons was reduced 40% to $0.88 per thousand gallons.

“The upgrades will pay for themselves in the first 18 months of operation,” Kleffner said.

The May Valley energy assessment will be one of the case studies discussed during the Energy Efficiency webinar at 2 p.m central on August 24. Click Here to Register. This webinar will also be simulcast on Facebook Live.

Asset Management Case Study of a Small/Rural System: 2 PM CDT August 17

Asset Management Case Study of a Small/Rural System: 2 PM CDT August 17  Register Now

An informative overview into how an the Town of Veedersburg, Ind. is utilizing an affordable and easy-to-use turnkey GIS solution to implement asset management and increase the sustainability of its water & wastewater systems.

Key takeaways

•             How to quickly & easily implement core asset management principles

•             Use of work orders for maintenance tracking

•             Linking digital media to assets and work orders

•             Updating and maintaining assets – live demo

About the Presenters:

Tony Shriner is the President of iamGIS. With an expertise in GIS and asset management, Shriner has spent the last twelve years assisting utility professionals in small and rural systems. He is the founder and President of iamGIS – a technology company that provides affordable and easy-to-use GIS/asset management software that anyone can proficiently use regardless of their background.

Dirk Garriott is the Town Manager of Veedersburg, Ind. and holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs. Garriott is a certified water and wastewater operator, as well as, an FAA licensed drone pilot. He oversees the daily operations of the electric, street, water & sewer departments for the Town of Veedersburg.

Missouri Rural Water Assists Community After Leaks Drain System

PUXICO, Mo. – When the manager of Wayne/Butler County #4 started getting late-night calls from customers without water, she knew she needed help. Assistance from the Missouri Rural Water Association helped locate the leaks and restore water service.

“I got the call at around 10 p.m. that night,” explained Brad Rayburn, a MRWA Circuit Rider. “They had customers without water and the towers were empty.”

Rayburn met with General Manger Jennifer Pierce and operations specialist Jason Pierce to provide assistance. The system’s two 150,000 gallon towers had emptied in just a few hours, leaving 700 customers without water.

Rayburn and Jason Pierce went to the well house to check the pumps.

“One of their wells was hit by lightning the month before and the motor had to be replaced,” Rayburn said. “They had problems with the wells not turning on when they should.”

After a few hours in the well house, Rayburn and Pierce determined that the pumps were working properly.

“That meant they had a major leak somewhere,” Rayburn said.

With the darkness becoming a problem, they decided to break and resume work in the morning.

The next day Rayburn and Pierce started looking for the leak. The conditions made locating the leak extremely difficult – there was no water in the system and there had been recent heavy rain in the area.

“The system had over 200 miles of pipe, and several miles were only accessible by foot,” Rayburn said. “it was difficult to locate without water in the system.”

Leaks are typically located by looking for water seeping to the surface or using listening equipment to detect the sound of the leak. Rayburn and Pierce decided to try to isolate part of the system, which would allow them to narrow the search area and restore service to part of the community.

“The system was split in two parts: north and south,” Rayburn said. “The district has an emergency well and a boost up station that allowed us to direct the water to either side.”

After a few hours, the north part of the district began to fill, indicating the leak was in the south. Rayburn directed the water into the south end.

“Once we got some water in the pipes I could use the leak detection equipment to listen for the leak,” he explained.

Rayburn and Pierce located the leak in an eight-inch water main. The Circuit Rider remained to assist with the repair.

“It was a lot more difficult than putting a clamp around the pipe,” Rayburn said. “The main was split and the entire 20-foot section had to be replaced.”

The repair lasted until nearly midnight. When the pipe was replaced, they returned to the well house, activated the pumps and waited for the towers to fill.

“We waited and waited and waited, but the tower never filled,” Rayburn said. “I thought the repair didn’t hold.”

They checked the repairs, but everything had held. Rayburn started listening to valves again, and determined there was another leak somewhere in the system. Facing the challenge of locating another leak at night in the large system, they decided to return and repair the second leak the next day.

Jennifer Pierce contacted the Red Cross to bring a pallet of bottled water for customers still without service. Rayburn and Jason Pierce located another split eight-inch water main. After another repair, they returned to the well house to reactivate the pumps. There was only one more complication.

“We had to turn off the pumps because there was a tornado siren,” Rayburn explained. “Luckily there was no tornado.”

The tower levels finally began to rise and water service was finally restored to the community.

Watch Brian McManus from Texas Testify to House Ag Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Brian McManus from Texas testified on July 17 to the House Agriculture Committee on the state of infrastructure in rural America.

NRWA has two recordings of Sternberg’s testimony: one trimmed to only include remarks about Rural Water and a recording of the full hearing.

Watch Rural Water Highlights below:


Watch the full hearing below:


Click Here to learn more about USDA’s impact on Rural Infrastructure.