Kansas Water Office Partners in Milford Lake Watershed RCPP Project

milford lake algae bloomGuest article by Matt Unruh, Chief of Planning for the Kansas Water Office

Throughout the United States, harmful algal blooms (HABs) impact operations for many raw water sources utilized by public water supplies.  When HABs are present toxins and taste-and-odor compounds can be produced which can lead to increased treatment costs for water suppliers as well as public health concerns. Milford Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in north-central Kansas near Junction City and Fort Riley, is a prime Kansas example of the impacts HABs can have on drinking water sources as well as collective efforts which are in progress to reduce the magnitude and frequency of HABs occurring.

Phosphorus loading from the Lower Republican River Watershed is one of the contributing factors leading to the formation of HABs in Milford Lake. In an effort to reduce the phosphorus loading entering Milford Lake from the Republican River, the Kansas Water Office (KWO) engaged with a number of partners including the state drinking water program and the Section 319 Nonpoint Source program in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), other state agencies including the Kansas Department of Agriculture – Division of Conservation (KDA-DOC) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism (KDWPT),  four public water suppliers including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Olathe and Water District No. 1 of Johnson County (WaterOne) which are impacted by releases as they travel downstream of Milford Lake along the Kansas River, as well as agricultural commodity groups and organizations, county conservation districts, and non-profit organizations. milford lake map

This partnership team and their direct and/or in-kind contributions were included within a proposal submitted to the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to establish a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project within the Lower Republican Watershed in Kansas with the objective of reducing phosphorus loading entering Milford Lake by providing additional technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers within the project area. With the project involvement of American Water Works Association (AWWA) member WaterOne, KWO was able to utilize technical assistance provided by the 9b Group through the AWWA Farm Bill Initiative to receive technical support for the development of the pre-proposal and final proposal for the project during 2017. In December 2017, KWO received word from NRCS that the Milford Lake Watershed RCPP Project had been successful in receiving a commitment from NRCS of $2.88 million to be utilized in conjunction with partner team contributions to provide financial and technical assistance within the watershed to increase the adoption of conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

A number of sources of funding will be utilized to provide financial assistance to producers within the Milford Lake watershed through this project. These include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 319 Nonpoint Source funds administered by KDHE, KDWPT funding, KDA-DOC funding, and State Water Plan funding through the Kansas Water Office. Funding from these sources will be utilized along with NRCS funds to provide sign-up incentive payments for certain practices as well as up to 90% cost share on identified core phosphorus-reducing practices for cropland and livestock-related land use. It is estimated that the first producer sign-up period for this project will take place during the Fall of 2018.

In Kansas as well as nationwide there is a growing trend from public water suppliers in recognizing the value in source water protection-related activities leading to the investment of technical and financial resources to work with agricultural producers to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff. Partnerships such as those in place for the Milford Lake Watershed RCPP Project will play an important role in the successful development and implementation of programs such as the KDHE Drinking Water Protection Program and related programs in other states. Knowing the details of programs available to leverage technical and financial resources such as NRCS RCPP can help to provide vital resources towards source water protection-related activities as well as build partnerships necessary for long-term success.

For more information about this RCPP project, contact Matt Unruh, Chief of Planning, Kansas Water Office, Matt.Unruh@kwo.ks.gov, (785) 296-0861.

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NEMWI Report and Briefing on the Cost of Nitrate Treatment for Mississippi River Basin Water Utilities

NEMWIThe Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI) recently published a report and hosted a Congressional briefing on “Source Water Quality and the Cost of Nitrate Treatment in the Mississippi River Basin.” The report shares the findings of a ten-year study showing that levels of nitrate in source water exceeding the SDWA maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 mg/L are occurring with increasing frequency. The study focused on three water treatment plants in the Upper Mississippi River Basin:  Des Moines, Iowa; Decatur, Illinois; and Vermilion County, Illinois, and tracked nitrate levels and the contributors to these increasing levels as well as the related treatment costs for the water utilities. For more information and to read the study, go here.

The associated briefing was held on Capitol Hill on May 23rd and was hosted in collaboration with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The briefing featured a panel of four science and policy specialists who presented on the importance of conservation initiatives and water quality monitoring to preserve the health of the Mississippi River Basin. For more information and to view a recording of the briefing, go here.

Don’t Forget to Register for Next Week’s ASDWA Webinar on 1,4-Dioxane

1 4 diox chem structureASDWA is pleased to announce a free webinar on Tuesday, June 5th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm (eastern) entitled, “State Efforts to Assess and Address 1,4-Dioxane through Drinking Water, Ground Water, and Clean Water Programs.” The purpose of the webinar is to share information about state efforts to assess and address 1,4-dioxane, an unregulated contaminant that is causing states and water utilities to become increasingly concerned about potential health impacts from elevated levels of 1,4-dioxane in both groundwater and surface water drinking water sources. The webinar presenters are Brandon Kernen from the State of New Hampshire and Rebecca Sadosky from the State of North Carolina. This webinar also builds on the efforts of ASDWA, the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), and EPA to share and promote Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act (CWA-SDWA) coordination activities across state and EPA water programs. State, interstate, tribal, and federal water programs, water utilities, and technical assistance providers are encouraged to attend, along with anyone else who would like to participate. REGISTER HERE.

EPA Nonpoint Source Measures Report for Hypoxia Task Force States

HTF MS River statesEPA has published its “Progress Report on Coordination for Nonpoint Source Measures in Hypoxia Task Force States” that provides a summary of nutrient reduction measures among member states. The report was developed by the Hypoxia Task Force Nonpoint Source Workgroup and focuses on the coordinated effort to account for nonpoint source (NPS) changes, primarily agricultural, that influence nutrient loading from a variety of methods. This effort provides additional critical metrics for tracking and informing progress towards reducing nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico that complements other historical aspects of tracking nutrient loading, including Mississippi River and tributary water quality monitoring and tracking point source metrics. For more information and to read the report, visit the website.

New AWWA Report Highlights Source Water Protection in Water Utility CCRs

AWWAAWWA has published a new report entitled, “Communicating Source Water Protection Efforts in Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs).” This new report serves as a guidance document that is designed to help small and medium-sized utilities write more effective CCRs that educate customers about source water protection needs and efforts. The complimentary report is only available to AWWA members for the first six months. For more information, visit the AWWA website.

Webinar on Hudson River Drinking Water Protection

HudsonmapOn Friday, May 18th from 1:00 to 2:00 pm (eastern), Riverkeeper, the Center for Watershed Protection, and the communities that draw drinking water from the Hudson River in New York are hosting a webinar entitled, “Protecting Drinking Water at its Source: Recommendations for the Hudson River.” The goal of the webinar is to present findings and recommendations developed from using the Riverkeeper’s Source Water Protection Scorecard as a framework for analysis. Register for the webinar here

ASDWA Webinar on 1,4-Dioxane for State Drinking Water, Ground Water, and Clean Water Programs

1 4 diox chem structureASDWA is pleased to announce a free webinar on Tuesday, June 5th from 1:00 to 2:30 pm (eastern) entitled, “State Efforts to Assess and Address 1,4-Dioxane through Drinking Water, Ground Water, and Clean Water Programs.” The purpose of the webinar is to share information about state efforts to assess and address 1,4-dioxane, an unregulated contaminant that is causing states and water utilities to become increasingly concerned about potential health impacts from elevated levels of 1,4-dioxane in both groundwater and surface water drinking water sources. The webinar presenters are Brandon Kernen from the State of New Hampshire and Rebecca Sadosky from the State of North Carolina. This webinar also builds on the efforts of ASDWA, the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA), the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), and EPA to share and promote Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act (CWA-SDWA) coordination activities across state and EPA water programs. State, interstate, tribal, and federal water programs, water utilities, and technical assistance providers are encouraged to attend, along with anyone else who would like to participate. REGISTER HERE.

Register Now for the May 9th SWC Forest to Faucets Webinar

swc_logoThe Source Water Collaborative (SWC) is pleased to announce a free webinar on Wednesday, May 9th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (eastern) entitled, “A Preliminary Look at the National Forests to Faucets Analysis 2.0 (F2F2).” During the webinar, Sally Claggett of the US Forest Service will share how they are updating the original Forests to Faucets analysis to quantify, rank, and illustrate the direct geographic connection between private and public forests, surface water drinking water supplies, and populations that depend on them. The new F2F2 includes a three-part analysis of the:

  1. Inherent ability of watersheds to produce clean water, based largely on land use.
  2. Most important watersheds to surface water drinking water supply users.
  3. Various threats to forests and the quantity of surface water drinking water supplies.

Altogether, the F2F2 project will provide a broad view of the land use characteristics and water supply threats to watersheds that feed surface water drinking water sources. It does not displace the need for local land use data, local knowledge, or different analyses of hydrologic regimes. F2F2 will, however, be useful for long-range planning, municipal education, and prioritization of regional water needs, including indicating where alternative water supplies may be needed. It will also help those making land management decisions know where practices may be needed to conserve or restore forests. SWC members and their networks are encouraged to attend, along with anyone else who is interested and would like to participate. REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR HERE

Source Water Collaborative Webinar on Forests to Faucets 2.0

swc_logo

The Source Water Collaborative is pleased to announce a free webinar on Wednesday, May 9th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (eastern) entitled, “A Preliminary Look at the National Forests to Faucets Analysis 2.0 (F2F2).” During the webinar, Sally Claggett of the US Forest Service will share how they are updating the original Forests to Faucets analysis to quantify, rank, and illustrate the direct geographic connection between private and public forests, surface water drinking water supplies, and populations that depend on them. The new F2F2 includes a three-part analysis of the:

  1. Inherent ability of watersheds to produce clean water, based largely on land use.
  2. Most important watersheds to surface water drinking water supply users.
  3. Various threats to forests and the quantity of surface water drinking water supplies.

Altogether, the F2F2 project will provide a broad view of the land use characteristics and water supply threats to watersheds that feed surface water drinking water sources. It does not displace the need for local land use data, local knowledge, or different analyses of hydrologic regimes. F2F2 will, however, be useful for long-range planning, municipal education, and prioritization of regional water needs, including indicating where alternative water supplies may be needed. It will also help those making land management decisions know where practices may be needed to conserve or restore forests. Source Water Collaborative members and their networks are encouraged to attend, along with anyone else who is interested and would like to participate. REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR HERE

 

Submit Your Abstracts for ASDWA’s Annual Conference!

Please submit your abstract for ASDWA’s 2018 Annual Conference.  This year’s conference will be held October 22-25, 2018 at the Embassy Suites Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa.  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
  • Clean Water Act/SDWA connections, nutrient pollution, and Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)
  • Emerging contaminants – PFAS & 1,4-dioxane
  • Drinking water emergency preparedness, resiliency, and cybersecurity strategies and tools
  • SDWA implementation approaches and strategies including collaborations and partnerships
  • DW SRF tools and techniques
  • Small systems: TMF, sustainability strategies, technologies, and compliance
  • Workforce, operator certification, and/or technical assistance initiatives
  • Data management, electronic reporting, and SDWIS Prime
  • Lead service line replacement; lead testing in schools
  • Distribution system water quality
  • Emerging drinking water treatment technologies and optimization
  • 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.

Instructions for Submissions

You may submit an abstract online using ASDWA’s Call for Papers Submission Form.

Alternatively, you may 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.

The deadline for submissions is June 8, 2018.