Plan Now for National Groundwater Awareness and Fix-a-Leak Weeks in March

National Groundwater Awareness Week is taking place on March 11-17, and EPA’s WaterSense Fix-a-Leak is taking place the following week on March 19-25, 2018.

National Groundwater Awareness Week is March 11-17

ngwa awareness weekPlan now to promote public awareness about groundwater during this year’s National Groundwater Awareness Week. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) invites you to join them in this effort by spreading the word through your website, timely newsletter publications, social media, or other education and outreach activities. This year’s theme of “Tend, Test, Treat,” includes an associated video for private well owners, a press release template, and other useful information and materials. State drinking water programs and health departments can use these tools to reach private well owners and the general public, and also pass this information along to your water utilities to share with their customers. For more information, to download the materials, and to become a groundwater advocate, visit NGWA’s website at Ground Water Awareness Week and Wellowner.org.

Fix-a-Leak Week is March 19-25

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EPA’s WaterSense program and its partners (including ASDWA and many states) will raise awareness about the importance of eliminating household leaks during the 10th Annual Fix-a-Leak Week. ASDWA encourages states to promote this week with your water systems and communities by sharing information through newsletters and social media, and hosting community events that highlight the water-saving benefits of fixing household leaks. Help them get started to chase down leaks and reduce water waste with a few simple tips, along with educational resources and a video you can find on the WaterSense website.

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AWRA Seeks Abstracts for Summer Conference on Governance of Transboundary Groundwater

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The American Water Resources Association (AWRA) is seeking abstracts for presentations, topical sessions, and workshops at its Summer Conference on the Science, Management, and Governance of Transboundary Groundwater that will be held July 9-11, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. The program will stimulate conversations on innovative approaches for identifying transboundary groundwater resources and the methods to develop sustainable governance and management agreements. For more information and deadlines for submission, visit the AWRA website.

Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership Signing Ceremony and Meeting Held This Week

 

The Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership Signing Ceremony and Meeting were held this week at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC. The Partnership was initiated in 2005 and now includes EPA and 19 partner organizations (including ASDWA) that work collaboratively at the national level to improve decentralized performance and protect the nation’s public health and water resources. During the signing ceremony, Mike Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Water and Andrew Sawyers, Director of EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management provided opening remarks; and Partners introduced themselves and shared a few highlights from the 2017 Accomplishments Report. The Partnership also welcomed the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) as a new member this year. The purpose of the meeting was for members to discuss the MOU Partnership goals and begin to develop a 2017–2020 Priorities and Actions Workplan. Some of the discussed actions included:

  • Conducting a logic model exercise to determine other audiences (such as local governments and planners) for promoting decentralized systems and Septic Smart Week to achieve public health and environmental outcomes, including protecting drinking water sources.
  • Spearheading additional research opportunities for working with members of the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), that are both members of the Partnership.
  • Connecting with state Clean Water SRF programs to consider prioritization options for funding decentralized system projects.
  • Starting a workforce development effort to create and promote educational awareness and opportunities for students.

For more information about the Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and septic system resources, visit EPA’s website.

GWPC Annual Forum and Source Water Protection Workshop Held Last Week

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The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) held its Annual Forum last week in Boston, Massachusetts, that included a source water protection workshop and multiple sessions on ground water connections to drinking water, private wells, stormwater, brownfields, Underground Injection Control and state oil and gas programs, and more. Forum attendees included representatives from state and EPA ground water and source water programs, state oil and gas programs, the Department of Energy, energy companies, associations (including ASDWA), and consulting firms.

The Source Water Protection Workshop was held the day before the Forum to highlight effective collaborations and discuss opportunities at the national, state, and local levels to protect drinking water. Opening remarks were provided by Peter Grevatt, Director of EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, and Jane Downing of EPA Region 1 who spoke about the importance of source water protection as well as continuing challenges with emerging contaminants (e.g., PFAS and 1-4 Dioxane), extreme weather, chemical spills, and emergency response. Presentations during the workshop included information about the Source Water Collaborative tools; Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act coordination; working with USDA NRCS State Conservationists; the Iowa Source Water Agricultural Collaborative; working with state geologists; and a new source water protection scorecard tool being used for the Hudson River in New York. Key takeaways from the workshop included the need to:

  • Use visible “science” and accurate data as a catalyst to motivate action and engage partners, as shown by the attention drawn to drilling trucks arriving on farms for groundwater investigations in Iowa.
  • Use state geologists as a resource, as highlighted by the valued added in sharing and understanding ground water connections by use of geologic maps during the recent Vermont State Workshops.
  • Get more information and tips on navigating opportunities to work with NRCS and agricultural partners on the ground, as discussed in relation to current nation-wide funding initiatives and projects that are underway in Connecticut.

After the workshop, the GWPC Annual Forum kicked off with opening session that included remarks by GWPC’s President Marty Link of Nebraska and by the Ground Water Research and Education Foundation President Stan Belieu, also of Nebraska. Bethany Card, the Deputy Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection also shared information about her state’s efforts to address lead in schools, climate change, drought and water withdrawals, and clean water act coordination. In addition, Nancy Johnson of the Department of Energy highlighted their activities to address energy, water, and seismicity; and Peter Grevatt of EPA provided perspective on the Agency’s efforts to work with states on source water protection and UIC activities. Other highlights from the Forum’s concurrent sessions included:

  • Information about GWPC’s efforts to develop a produced water report on using flowback water from oil and gas wells for beneficial uses.
  • Presentations about efforts to assess and address PFAS in New Hampshire, and by the National Ground Water Association to develop a report on the State of Knowledge and Practice that will be published this fall.
  • Presentations from the University of New Hampshire and EPA Region 1 on potential impacts to ground water from stormwater infiltration, and from SCS Engineers on connecting human health with brownfields remediation and revitalization.

Other interesting presentations included information about Connecticut’s first state water plan, land use and source water protection planning in Vermont, and New Hampshire’s efforts to inspect above ground storage tanks and conduct emergency response exercises. For more information, visit the GWPC website.

Register Now for ASDWA Webinar on Leveraging CWA 319 and SDWA Programs for Surface and Ground Water Quality Planning

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ASDWA CWA-SDWA Webinar:  Leveraging CWA 319 and SDWA Programs for Surface and Ground Water Quality Planning

Date:  Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Time:  1:00pm – 2:30pm (eastern), 10:00am – 11:30am (pacific)

REGISTER HERE

On November 7, ASDWA will host a free Clean Water Act – Safe Drinking Water Act (CWA-SDWA) webinar entitled, “Leveraging CWA 319 and SDWA Programs for Surface and Ground Water Quality Planning.” The purpose of the webinar is to build on the efforts of ASDWA, ACWA, GWPC, and EPA to share and promote CWA-SDWA coordination activities across state and EPA water programs. State, interstate, tribal, and federal water programs, water utilities, technical assistance providers, and anyone else who would like to participate is encouraged to attend. During the webinar, presenters from the Nebraska and Nevada state water programs will share how they coordinated with EPA and local communities to leverage the CWA 319 nonpoint source (NPS) program for surface and ground water quality protection planning in drinking water supply areas.

We hope you will attend!

September Promotional Events:  Protect Your Groundwater Day and SepticSmart Week

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Protect Your Groundwater Day is September 5th:  The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) is encouraging the protection of public health and the health of the environment by celebrating “Protect Your Groundwater Day.” This year’s celebration will take place on September 5th. State drinking water programs should consider sharing information about “Protect Your Groundwater Day” with their water utilities and residents, as a means to create greater awareness about protecting this valuable resource.  For more information, visit the NGWA website and WellOwner.orgwebsite. To ask questions, please contact Cliff Tryens of NGWA at ctreyens@ngwa.org.

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SepticSmart Week is September 18-22:  Each year, EPA holds SepticSmart Week with outreach activities to encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. This year, SepticSmart Week will be held from September 18-22. State drinking water programs and communities will want to use this opportunity to inform homeowners on proper septic system care and maintenance, promote homeowner education and awareness, and educate local decision makers about infrastructure options available to improve and sustain communities. Visit EPA’s website to download SepticSmart materials and a proclamation template, read about suggested events and activities, view highlights and case studies of community efforts across the nation, and participate in the conversation on social media #SepticSmartWeek.

USGS Finds Unconventional Oil and Gas Production Not Currently Affecting Drinking Water Quality in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas

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A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that unconventional oil and gas production in some areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas is not currently a significant source of methane or benzene to drinking water wells. These production areas include the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, and Haynesville shale formations, which are some of the largest sources of natural gas in the country and have trillions of cubic feet of gas.

This is the first study in these areas to systematically determine the presence of benzene and methane in drinking water wells near unconventional oil and gas production areas in relation to the age of the groundwater.  Age-dating indicates groundwater in wells is often several thousand years old suggesting decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water.  For more information, see the USGS Technical Announcement.

USGS Publishes National Brackish Groundwater Assessment

Brackish Groundwater in the United States

USGS has published a new study that suggests brackish groundwater could help stretch limited freshwater supplies. This study found that the amount of brackish groundwater underlying the country is more than 800 times the amount currently used each year. With issues like drought, groundwater depletion, dwindling freshwater supplies, and demand for groundwater expected to continue to rise, understanding brackish groundwater supplies can help determine whether they can supplement or replace taxed freshwater sources in water-stressed areas. Although this assessment can’t answer all of the questions related to sustainable use, it represents a starting point for identifying the gaps in our knowledge and for directing research to locations where further study would be most beneficial. View the report and press release HERE.

EPA Webinar on How State and Local Governments Can Promote SepticSmart Week in September

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EPA’s Decentralized MOU Partnership is hosting a webinar on May 16th from 2:00pm to 3:30pm (eastern).  This webinar will share information from presenters in two states (Washington and Alaska) and one city (Ogden Dunes, Indiana) whose governors and mayors have made SepticSmart Week Proclamations.  Learn more about these proclamations and other activities by joining this webinar and hearing from individuals who led the efforts at the state, county, or local level.

SPACE IS LIMITED. RESERVE YOUR WEBINAR SEAT NOW AT: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6651424505486693378

For additional information on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Decentralized Wastewater MOU Partnership and past recorded webinars, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/septic

 

 

 

 

Submit Your Abstracts Now for ASDWA’s 2017 Annual Conference

 

Please submit your abstract for ASDWA’s 2017 Annual Conference.  This year’s conference will be held October 17-20, 2017 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, VA. Approximately 250 participants from state and territorial drinking water programs, EPA and other Federal agencies, drinking water associations, consulting firms, and industry groups are expected to attend.  Presentation themes may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Source water protection and sustainability of water supplies
  • Clean Water Act/SDWA connections, nutrient pollution, and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
  • Extreme weather, water and energy efficiency, and conservation
  • Drinking water emergency preparedness and resiliency strategies and tools
  • Small systems: TMF, sustainability strategies, technologies, and compliance
  • Emerging drinking water treatment technologies and optimization of current technology
  • Workforce, operator certification, and/or technical assistance initiatives
  • SDWA implementation approaches and strategies including collaborations and partnerships
  • State revolving loan fund tools and techniques/green infrastructure strategies
  • Data management and electronic reporting
  • Distribution system issues
  • Emerging contaminants in drinking water
  • Drinking water research
  • Risk assessment, risk communication and consumer outreach

When reviewing proposals, ASDWA will give priority to those received from state drinking water program administrators and their staff.  If you would like to make a presentation, please submit a one-page abstract with the proposed presentation title, and the name, title, affiliation, and contact information for the speaker to Deirdre Mason of ASDWA at dmason@asdwa.org by June 1, 2017.

For More Information, please view the ASDWA 2017 Annual Conference Call for Papers on the ASDWA website.