AWWA TEC Issues RFPs for Drinking Water Related Project Contracts

AWWA’s Technical and Educational Council (TEC) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a variety of drinking water system related projects.  The due date for contract proposals is February 17, 2017. Please forward this information on to your colleagues and networks as appropriate.  Following is the list of RFPs and the associated contract funding amounts:

  • Communicating Source Water Protection Efforts in Consumer Confidence Reports ($8,000)
  • Guidance for Water Utilities on Managing the Implementation of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems in Community Water Systems ($13,000)
  • Operator Licensing Requirements Across the United States: Levels and Effects ($19,000)
  • The level of progress of Utilities in implementing Safety Management Programs ($8,500)
  • Water Utility Disinfection Survey ($12,000)

The link to the RFPs, along with the terms, conditions, requirements, and evaluation process for potential contractors can be found here.  Proposals and questions should be submitted to Alex Gerling of AWWA at agerling@awwa.org.

EPA Announces Video Challenge for National Ground Water Awareness Week

EPA has announced a video challenge in support of the National Ground Water Association’s Ground Water Awareness Week. From February 1-24, EPA is inviting budding filmmakers, citizen scientists, or anyone interested to create and submit a compelling and innovative video that informs individuals and communities about the importance of groundwater, and inspires them to do more to protect and conserve it. The winning videos will be posted on EPA’s website and recognized throughout its online outlets during National Groundwater Awareness Week, taking place from March 5-11, 2017. Details about the video challenge and instructions for entering can be found on EPA’s website.

American Rivers Becomes Newest Member of the Source Water Collaborative

The Source Water Collaborative is pleased to announce that American Rivers has become its newest member, bringing the membership to a total of 27 agencies and organizations.  American Rivers has over 250,000 members, supporters, and volunteers that help lead its efforts to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers, and conserve clean water for people and nature.  Visit the Source Water Collaborative website to view the announcement.

New State Water Agency Practices for Climate Adaptation on EPA’s Website

New state water agency practices for climate adaptation are now available on EPA’s website.  The compilation of these practices is the result of a collaborative effort by ASDWA, the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM), and EPA’s Office of Water.  ASDWA would like to give a big “thank you” to those states that contributed to this effort both this year and last year.  New state practices this year come from Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington, and we would like to add more in the future.  Two of the practices that should be of particular interest to state drinking water programs include New Hampshire’s Drinking Water Program Climate Resilience Program, and Oregon’s Harmful Algal Bloom Strategy.  For more information and to view the practices, visit the EPA website HERE.

EPA Publishes Water Conservation and Efficiency Best Practices for Water Supply Assessment

EPA has published a document that provides water conservation and efficiency best practices for evaluating water supply projects.  The document is entitled, “Best Practices to Consider When Evaluating Water Conservation and Efficiency as an Alternative for Water Supply Expansion (PDF).”

The purpose is to help water utilities, as well as Federal and state governments, carry out assessments of the potential for future water conservation and efficiency savings to avoid or minimize the need for new water supply development.  The document includes some basic background information, along with best practices and case studies in the following categories:

  1. Water System Management: Supply Side and Demand Side Accounting
  2. Water Loss Minimization: Leak Management
  3. Metering
  4. Conservation Rate Structure
  5. End Use Water Conservation and Efficiency Analysis
  6. Water Conservation and Efficiency Plan

There is also an appendix with a deliverables chart for quantifying actions taken in each category.  For more information, visit EPA’s website.

 

EPA Finalizes Effluent Guidelines Rule for Dental Metals

EPA has finalized a regulation to reduce discharges of mercury and other metals from dental offices into municipal wastewater treatment plants, and thus to waterways that may serve as drinking water supplies.  EPA expects that this final rule will reduce the discharge of dental metals to wastewater treatment plants by at least 10.2 tons per year, about half of which is mercury.  This rule will strengthen human health protection by requiring the use of technology and best management practices in dentists’ offices across the country recommended by the American Dental Association, and that approximately 40 percent of dental offices already employ.  Once the mercury is captured, it will also be able to be recycled.  For more information, visit EPA’s website.

NRCS Announces FY ’17 Funding for Regional Conservation Partnership Program Projects

By Kira Jacobs, US EPA Region 1

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced its funding for the FY 2017 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects.  This year, $225 million will be invested nationwide!

This is the third round of projects being funded for the RCPP.  The RCPP provides conservation assistance to producers and landowners for the purpose of improving the nation’s water quality (including drinking water sources), combating drought, enhancing soil health, supporting wildlife habitat, and protecting agricultural viability.  Partners must provide matching funds or in-kind contributions, and may include state government agencies (including drinking water programs), water utilities, NGOs, and universities.

In the spirit of collaborating with other partners, I encourage you to read through the list of FY 2017 RCPP projects by state.  Some of them indicate an obvious connection to source water protection (such as projects on the list in Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, and West Virginia).  In other cases, the nexus with source water protection is more subtle.  I encourage you to “dig a little deeper” if you see a project in your state that is located in a source water protection area where you are currently working or would like to work.  The purpose of these projects is to encourage collaboration and leverage the expertise of numerous partners.  NRCS offices in each state can assist you in identifying and reaching out to the partners if you are unable to find information online.  Also, the NRCS website includes projects awarded for the past several years (the program began in 2015).  Since most programs are multi-year, you may want to refer to the past years’ projects as well.

Click here for the full list of 2015 projects.

Click here for the full list of 2016 projects.

An example of an ongoing RCPP project where source water protection is a key component of the project is the Connecticut River/Long Island Sound RCPP.  This 2015 RCPP project brings together dozens of partners in six states.  Source water protection is a stated priority for this project, even though the Connecticut River is not a drinking water source!   When the project was conceived, the Connecticut Association of Conservation Districts decided to include source water protection in one of its three focus areas for the project, Land Protection.  It was determined that, because this vast watershed is home to so many large municipal drinking water supplies, it is important to protect their sources.  As a result, $3.25 million is being directed to land protection in priority source water protection and critical habitat areas.  To learn more about this project, please refer to the project website:  http://www.lisw-rcpp.com/

usda-rcpp

EPA Finalizes Stronger Standards for Pesticide Applicators

epa-pesticide-applicator-stds-photo

 EPA has finalized its new standards for applicators who apply restricted-use pesticides that are not available for purchase by the general public, and require special handling.  The benefits of this rule include fewer acute pesticide incidents to people and reduced chronic exposure.  EPA’s stricter standards would require all people who are certified to apply restricted use pesticides as well as those working under their supervision to be at least 18 years of age. These certifications must be renewed every five years. Learn more about how the pesticide application rule protects workers from pesticide risk.  Read a blog post by Assistant Administrator Jim Jones about the strengthened standards.

 

Three New Water Story Map and Visualization Tools

SWC Nutrient Story Map:  The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) has launched a new interactive highly-visual Nutrient Story Map as part of its Learning Exchange.  This Story Map includes a variety of information about nutrient pollution problems and harmful algal blooms, as well as source water protection challenges and nutrient reduction success projects taking place across the country (see related article).

USGS Water Use Visualization:  The USGS Water Availability and Use Science Program has developed a new “How Much Water Do We Use?” data visualization tool  that highlights USGS data from 1950 to 2010. The visualization highlights how water is used differently in the east versus west half of the country, and shows water use trends for thermoelectric power, public supply, irrigation, and industrial withdrawals. An accompanying press release can be found HERE.

EPA Water Progress Story Map:   EPA has launched a new “Protecting America’s Waters” interactive, multimedia story map to highlight the progress made to protect America’s waters since 2009. This story map features the most prominent accomplishments within the following areas: clean water protection; drinking water safety; water infrastructure; community assistance; climate change resilience; and science and innovation. The story map is a snapshot of EPA’s ongoing efforts toward clean and reliable water.

 

EPA and USGS Publish Report on Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration

EPA and the USGS have released a report providing scientific and technical information related to the protection of aquatic life from effects of hydrologic alteration. This report presents a literature review of natural flow and a description of the potential effects of flow alteration on aquatic life, as well as examples of water quality criteria that some states have developed to support natural flow and maintain healthy aquatic life. The report also describes a flexible technical and scientific framework that state water managers can consider if they are interested in developing narrative or numeric targets for flow that are protective of aquatic life.  This scientific and technical report is non-regulatory and does not affect or constrain state or tribal discretion.
Hydrologic alteration can include an increase or decrease in water volume, seasonal flow disruption, and dramatic variation in water temperature. Hydrologic alteration can affect aquatic species’ ability to spawn, gather nutrients from the stream system, access high-quality habitat, and more. Hydrologic alteration may be further exacerbated through climate change. Recent climate trends have included the change in frequency and duration of extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, which can have an impact on flow and affect aquatic life. Maintaining flow targets may help increase a stream’s resilience to climate change by reducing or avoiding intensification of existing stressors.

 

For more information and to view the report, visit EPA’s website.  For questions, please contact Diana Eignor of EPA at eignor.diana@epa.gov or Jonathan Kennen of USGS at jgkennen@usgs.gov.