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 https://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 https://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

The Risks of Industrial Cyberattack and How You Can Manage Them: 2 p.m. CST Nov. 30


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The Risks of Industrial Cyberattack and How You Can Manage Them: 2 p.m. CST Nov. 30 Click Here to Register

The risks of significant, debilitating cyberattack on America’s water and wastewater treatment facilities are mounting.

Without the proper industrial automation and control system defenses in place, a cyberattack can disable safe, normal operations, and put the local environment and economy as well as lives in jeopardy.

Despite expert predictions and ongoing calls for improved security, not nearly enough is being done to implement basic industrial cybersecurity measures, most notably best-practice standards, and reinforce them through proper staff training.

One reason for this is many owners and operators of critical infrastructure are not fully aware of the real-world risks and dangers associated with cyberattack on IACS. Others don’t know where and how to begin in addressing the threats.

This important webinar is aimed at those who would like to understand more about the industrial cybersecurity risks they are exposed to and what they can do to mitigate these risks.

Presented by Steve Mustard, an industrial cybersecurity subject-matter expert of the International Society of Automation and its umbrella association, the Automation Federation. Mustard is an automation consultant with extensive development and management experience in real-time embedded equipment and automation systems. He has worked extensively in the water and wastewater industry. His customers include Anglian Water and Yorkshire Water in the UK, Dublin City Council in Ireland, Sydney Water in Australia, and the Western Virginia Water Authority in the US.

Mustard is a UK registered Chartered Engineer, a European registered Eur Ing, an ISA Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) and a certified Global Industrial Cybersecurity Professional (GICP).

USDA Announces $331 Million Investment for Clean Water Infrastructure in Rural Communities


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $331 million in 85 projects that will improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas.

“Strategic investments like these into community infrastructure provide a path to rural economic growth,” Vilsack said. “Water and wastewater upgrades protect the health and safety of those who live and work in rural areas, and are especially critical given today’s aging infrastructure in areas that have not fully benefited from rural America’s economic rebound. Modernizing water and wastewater systems improves the quality of life and can help attract jobs to rural communities.”

USDA is providing $264 million in loans and $67 million in grants through Rural Development’s Water & Environmental Programs. These programs provide assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Community infrastructure investments are a key piece of USDA’s mission to support America’s rural communities, and these investments build on the $13.9 billion USDA has invested over the course of the Obama Administration to support 5,825 water and wastewater infrastructure projects that currently benefit 19.5 million rural residents.

The Full Text of the press release can be found Here.

Rural Water Loan Fund Grows to Over $5 Million


rwloanlogoDUNCAN, Okla. – The National Rural Water Association’s Rural Water Loan Fund has grown to over $5.2 Million, supporting water and wastewater utilities with low-cost loans for a variety of projects.

The Rural Water Loan fund was created through grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a means of providing short-term, low-cost loans for repair costs, small capital projects, planning or pre-development costs associated with larger projects.

The loan fund has expanded to include a 90-day, interest-free emergency loan to help systems recover in the event of disasters or other emergencies. The provision is available for utilities in a declared national, state or local emergency, and is designed to have funds available within 48 hours of receiving an application.

The RWLF has also added support for energy efficiency projects. Utilities can access these loans independently or as part of NRWA’s Energy Efficiency program, which is available in 14 states. The Energy Efficiency program offers free, on-site energy audits, energy efficiency training and efficiency recommendations to water and wastewater utilities. Utilities can then use the RWLF to secure financing for the recommended upgrades.

The Rural Water Load Fund was created through grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Loans are for a maximum of $100,000 or 75% of the project cost, and have a maximum repayment period of 10 years. Interest rates for the loans are around 3% and have no fees.

The RWLF is a revolving loan fund, so repayments are returned into the fund where they can be used to finance future loans and assist other utilities. Since its creation, the fund has made over $7.62 Million in loans.

More information about the Rural Water Loan Fund is available at https://nrwa.org/initiatives/revolving-loan-fund/

Quality on Tap! Let it work for you: 2 p.m. CST Nov. 2


Quality on Tap! Let it work for you: 2 p.m. CST Nov. 2 Click Here to Register

“Quality On Tap – Our Commitment, Our Profession” is a nationwide, grassroots public relations and awareness campaign designed especially for the drinking water industry. QOT is intended to promote a positive image to the public, focusing on the safety of drinking water and the expertise of the technical professional who ensure water quality.

The campaign is now 20 years old and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s continuing to grow nationwide as rural and small community utilities get more involved with their customers. Learn how you can tell your story, the way you want it told.

Presented by Michael Harris, Marketing Director, National Rural Water Association.