14

Emergencies in the water industry happen every day. Your system may be able handle small events, but are you ready for the big one?

Do you have security procedures in place? Could you quickly handle unexpected hazards? Do you know where to find technical and financial resources to recover? WaterISAC can be one answer to many of these questions.

WaterISAC is a community of water sector professionals who share a common purpose: to protect public health and the environment. It serves as a clearinghouse to provide America's drinking water and wastewater systems with a source of information about water system security and with a secure Web-based environment for early warning of potential threats. Relying on information gathered from federal intelligence, law enforcement, public health, and environmental agencies, and from utility security incident reports, WaterISAC analysts produce and disseminate physical and cyber security information to the water sector.

How WaterISAC works:
WaterISAC analysts collect and review infrastructure protection information from government and private sources to share with members. Analysts tap into classified intelligence and open source information 24 hours a day to track security incidents across the world. Members are alerted increased risk of contamination, terrorism, or cyber threats so they can take quick action to reduce or prevent damage or injuries.

WaterISAC allows its members to be updated with news affecting water and wastewater operations through a regularly published e-newsletter prepared by a team of security experts. A threat notification is sent immediately in cases of imminent threats. Through confidential incident reporting, members can participate in protecting our critical infrastructure by confidentially reporting security breaches and suspicious activity.

WaterISAC offers two level of memberships, the WaterISAC PRO and WaterISAC Basic. A free 3-month PRO membership trial is offered to new members and the annual dues scale is sliding, based on population served. (For example, membership for most small drinking water systems would be $249 each year.) For more information about WaterISAC membership, you can visit their website.

For more water security resources, search our document database under the Water Security/Emergency Response category.

Posted in: Security
08

The most recent state to experience widespread severe drought is California. Water restrictions are going into effect and everyone seems to be having in-depth discussions about the future of water resources in the state. Though California’s drought is particularly severe, a glance at the latest Drought Monitor report shows several areas of the country are feeling a little parched. And even if your region of the country isn’t experiencing a drought right now, it doesn’t hurt to have some plans in place for next time things dry up for a while. One place to start on that project could be the Rural Community Assistance Corporation’s drought resources page.

A Great Starting Point for Drought Contingency Planning
RCAC has collected drought contingency planning resources from a number of states and organizations with previous drought response experience. These resources include Drought Contingency Plan templates from both Texas and IHS, the TCEQ handbook for drought contingency planning, presentation slides from RCAC drought contingency planning training sessions, the Urban Drought Guidebook from California DWR, several resources for calculating irrigation needs for landscape plantings and lawn sprinkler systems, and an Action Plan for Emergency Drought Management co-developed by RCAC and the New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau. In addition, there’s a brief summary of a report on climate change and water in the Southwest, for background on the current water situation. Some of these materials should be useful to any utility that wants to be prepared for the next time water resources run low, while others will be most helpful for utilities with no previous plan in place that need one in a hurry.

California Resources Also Available
Since the RCAC page was created in response to California’s current drought crisis, it makes sense that some of the resources would be specific to California. In addition to the general resources mentioned above, RCAC has also collected sample water conservation and water use restriction resources from the Water Resources Control Board, and a spreadsheet of California licensed water haulers. They’re also where we heard about the Water Resources Control Board’s CAA Interim Emergency Drinking Water financial assistance program. This fund is intended to provide interim replacement drinking water for economically disadvantaged communities with contaminated water supplies, but is only available to eligible California utilities. See the link for details on the program.

More Drought Resources
If you want to check out more resources, you can search our documents database by typing the keyword “drought” into the search box. If there’s more drought response or planning resources we should know about, tell us in the comments!

18

Many small systems find access to quality training to be a challenge. Finding money in the budget and time in the day to make it to training events can feel like too much work on top of regular operations duties, leading to a scramble for CEUs once renewal time comes around. To help small systems with this challenge, the American Water Works Association, in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the Environmental Finance Center Network, is offering a series of trainings and e-courses for both operators and utility managers.

What Counts as a Small System?
To qualify for these trainings, you need to work for a small public water system. For this program, small systems are public water systems serving a population of 10,000 or fewer, including Non-Transient Non-Community Water Systems and Transient Non-Community Water Systems. For more on the kinds of systems served by this program, see the “How do I know if I qualify?” section at the top of this page.

Small System Operator Training
Free operator training is offered in two formats: in-person workshops and eLearning courses. In-person technical workshops are offered by RCAP in conjunction with the state AWWA sections. These workshops cover Safe Drinking Water Act topics, including Revised Total Coliform Rule, Lead/Copper, Groundwater Rule, water treatment (microbial contaminants), disinfection byproducts reduction and control, and distribution system operation and maintenance. To see which in-person workshops are being offered near you, check the full list here. (Technical trainings are the ones co-hosted with RCAP; workshops co-hosted with EFCN are on managerial topics and are sometimes also good for CEUs.) Most of these workshops are good for CEUs in the state where they are being held; if a training near you hasn’t been approved for your state, check with your certification authority to see if you can get credit. You do need to register for the courses in order to receive credits, but you do not need to be a member of AWWA to attend.

In addition to the workshops, AWWA and RCAP have developed an eLearning course on the Revised Total Coliform Rule. It’s also free, and you do not need to become a member in order to access it, though you will have to create a (free) account on AWWA’s website. Operators can complete it on the computer at home. It covers basic RTCR topics, including how to perform an assessment under the RTCR, sample site evaluation, source and treatment assessment, and distribution system operations and maintenance practices assessment. Upon successful completion of the course, registrants will receive a certificate of completion to file with their states for continuing education credits.

Small System Manager Training
Small water system managers often face an overwhelming set of challenges along with their operators. For them, AWWA has partnered with the Environmental Finance Center Network to offer free in-person workshops on a range of financial and managerial topics. To see if there are any of these trainings offered near you, and what they cover, check the full list here. (Note that only the workshops co-hosted by EFCN or EFC are aimed at managers. The ones co-sponsored with RCAP are designed for operators.) In addition to these workshops, there is an eLearning course on financial sustainability and a webinar series in development. Bookmark this page to stay up to date.

Want to look for more trainings in your area? Check out our events calendar and sort it by your state. Interested in webinars you can attend from your computer? Sort instead by Type=Webinar.

 

Posted in: Training/CEUs
15

For wastewater operators, one of the most challenging aspects of the treatment process is the mathematical component. Working with the calculations and conversions involved with wastewater treatment can be intimidating, particularly if these skills are not used on a daily basis. Opportunities for math review outside of stressful classroom and exam settings are not always readily available or easily accessed, but can be valuable to operators looking to strengthen their skills through practice.

Wastewater Technology Trainers make available in their blog a “Problem of the Day” which provides operators with a great opportunity for review. The problems posted during December and January involve calculating the removal efficiency and influent pounds per day of TSS, VSS, and BOD, influent and primary effluent concentrations of VSS, primary sludge volatile content (VS and VSS), TSS and VSS pounds per day removed, surface over flow rate, and primary clarifier detention time. Detail is given to show step by step how each problem is solved, including how to work out the necessary conversions. Take a look at one of the sample problems here.


To access the sample problems, select "Problem of the Day” under Blog Categories from WWTT’s blog page. Each problem is provided in the form of a downloadable document containing a page or two about working in the wastewater treatment industry followed by the sample problem. Although each of the documents appear similar at first, you’ll find the problems generally begin on the second or third page following a schedule of problems provided on earlier dates. So, if you are looking for a little math review to work at your own pace, this could be the tool for you!

Posted in: Wastewater
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