2007 Water News

  • Participants Needed for Survey on the Protection of Hazardous Materials

    VRWA is requesting that Vermont systems assist us by completing an online survey about protection of hazardous materials. The survey takes approximately five minutes.

    Rural Water Associations across the country are collaborating with most of the major national water organizations to conduct this survey, which will provide federal policymakers with some initial data on the level of protection of hazard materials (specifically gaseous chlorine) in U.S. water and wastewater supplies. Your participation in this survey is needed even if you don't use chlorine gas as a disinfectant.

    Your peers on the National Rural Water Association Board of Directors have endorsed this initiative to ensure that the decision on which disinfection process to use remains a local decision and that gaseous chlorine will be available where it is safely protected and necessary for public health protection.

    Please complete this important survey by December 7th at the following link: www.semstechnologies.com

  • Disinfection and Disinfection Byproducts Symposium:
    Stage 2 DBPR and LT2ESWTR

    Sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

    WHEN: Thursday November 1, 2007

    WHERE: The Pavilion Building at 109 State Street Montpelier, Vermont

    TOPICS: The Stage 2 Disinfection and Disinfection Byproducts Rule and Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule will be implemented over the next year or two depending on system population. Water systems will need to achieve simultaneous compliance in reducing disinfection byproducts yet insuring any microbial threat has been fully addressed. In order to obtain compliance, systems may be considering alternative primary disinfectants and other secondary disinfectants besides free chlorine.

    This symposium will examine recent research on the need for primary and secondary disinfection in the multi-barrier approach to providing safe water and the extent of primary disinfection procedures required to reduce the microbial threat to meet standards. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of alternative secondary disinfectants will be presented. Current and future regulations affecting Vermont Water Systems will be presented. Ample time is available for each speaker and on any related topic after the session. The symposium is at no charge and 5 training contact hours (TCHs) will be awarded towards operator certification for attendance. Lunch is NOT provided; however, lunch is available nearby at the State House cafeteria.

    If you have questions or for a registration form, please call Laura LaFleur at 802-241-3403, extension 321.

  • Best of Luck to Longtime VRWA Employee Elizabeth Walker

    Elizabeth Walker finished employment with the Vermont Rural Water Association on August 31. Many people in Vermont's water industry have been lucky enough to work with her. Since 1998, Elizabeth has been a key figure in the Vermont State Revolving Loan funding process as a VRWA Water System Specialist. For all the parties involved in the program, including the Water Supply Division staff, she was the senior technician.

    Like the other staff at VRWA, Elizabeth cares deeply about the work she takes on. I recently received a copy of a "best of luck" note directed to her: "You know how impressed I've been, not just the technical skill and knowledge, but the professionalism and down-to-earth honesty and compassion you bring to your working relationships." Elizabeth has been a great co-worker and she is lucky enough to be going back to her former employer, Sugarbush Mountain Resort. All of us at VRWA wish her our best!

    We have been very fortunate to fill the position left open by Elizabeth. We are pleased to announce that Ian Schrauf started with VRWA on September 3. Ian has extensive experience in water and wastewater operations. Most recently, he held a Water System Specialist position with the Mass Rural Water Association. His duties and responsibilities were very similar to those of the position he has taken with VRWA. His name may sound familiar; he formerly held a water system specialist position with our former parent group, the Northeast Rural Water Association.

    Ian spent some time with Elizabeth prior to her departure to ensure a smooth transition. Ian can be reached at by email or by phone at 800-556-3792 extension 321. For additional information on Vermont Rural Water Association, please visit www.vtruralwater.org.

  • Public Meeting Announcement
    July 2, 2007

    Regulation of New Water Line Extensions and Existing Consecutive Water Systems Public Meeting

    Date: Tuesday July 31, 2007
    Where: Pavilion Office Building 100 State Street Montpelier, Vermont
    Time: Begins at 9:30 am and ends no later than 2:00 pm including a 45 minute lunch break

    The DEC Water Supply Division is holding a public meeting. This meeting is a brainstorming session to gather input for two purposes:
    1) How the Water Supply Division should regulate new water line extensions which is a follow-up to the meeting held on January 18, 2007 and
    2) How the Water Supply Division should regulate existing consecutive water systems. Agency of Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie has asked the Division to study the regulation of existing consecutive water systems and make recommendations to him by the end of September 2007.

    Following the meeting, two workgroups will be formed to make recommendations to the Division and ANR Secretary. The Division held two meetings in June 2007 with representatives from a number of the larger public water systems to receive input regarding this process and develop a framework for this public meeting. For more information please see www.vermontdrinkingwater.org under Regulation of Existing Consecutive Water Systems and New Line Extensions.

    Please join us. For more information contact Eric Blatt or Jean Nicolai at 802-241-3400.

  • Water Sector Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training

    This ICS and NIMS workshop sponsored by the EPA Water Security Division will help water and wastewater utilities to better understand ICS, integrate with other first responders within an expanding ICS structure, and implement NIMS concepts and principles that will help utilities provide mutual aid and assistance to on another.

    Date: June 26, 2007, 8 AM to 4 PM
    Place: White River Junction, VT
    Cost: FREE

    Water Operators will receive 3 TCH for course completion.
    ICS 100 and NIMS 700 certifications will be available to all participants.

    To enroll and for additional information: www.horsleywitten.com/ICStraining

    You may also contact: Heather C. Young, Water System Security Coordinator, Vermont Water Supply Division at 1-800-823-3500 (toll free in VT) or 802-241-3717.

  • Vermont Drinking Water State Revolving Fund - Public Meeting Announcement

    Contributed by Bryan Redmond, DWSRF Program Specialist

    The Vermont Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is holding its annual public meeting on Wednesday, June 20, 2007, from 2:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. in the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier, Vermont. The meeting is intended to cultivate stakeholder interest and provide a forum for meaningful public involvement in the preparation of the 2007 Intended Use Plan (IUP). The Water Supply Division is anticipating the State of Vermont's allotment for the DWSRF for the Federal Fiscal Year 2007 to be $8,268,800 with a State match of $1,653,760. Historically, the grant has been used for a wide variety of activities including public water system infrastructure improvements, source water protection, and water system management enhancements. We are always looking for suggestions on the best application for these funds, new and innovative approaches to expend these funds, and ideas for program development and process improvement. Come join us in a spirited and lively discussion!

  • Vermont Rural Water Association Adjusts to Funding Loses

    By Shaun Fielder

    For those of you who attended the business luncheon at our annual conference in Fairlee you heard my comments on the potential loss of a significant source or our funding. Unfortunately we have a final decision on this issue. Due to a number of political factors and a very tight national budget, the administrator of EPA has made a determination not to fund the national rural water EPA programs. You need to know, our relationship and support from EPA Region 1 is very good and many folks working out of the Boston office are very concerned about this issue as we are. This funding cut has resulted in the loss of two of our field positions and associated services as of May 15. The two programs impacted are training and technical assistance as managed by Paula Jackson and source protection planning as managed by Eric Hanson.

    This will affect the delivery of certain services we have offered for years. Water operator continuing education training and certain technical assistance as offered by Paula is being phased out now. Fortunately we will keep Paula on board. She will offer a limited amount of on-site assistance through June and finish her complement of training as scheduled through June 30. On July 1, she will move into the position to be vacated by Erik Peterson. Erik will be leaving our association for another opportunity out of state; we are sorry to see him go and wish him our best. Erik has been with us since July of 2003 and has worked closely with many community water systems in our southern service region. Paula is looking forward to continuing work with those systems. The EPA program loss will result in reductions of training hours offered for the remainder of this year. Phil Acebo will continue to be involved with water operator continuing education.

    The other program affected is source protection planning as managed by hydrogeologist, Eric Hanson. His work focus has been to assist individual systems with source protection plans and updates of the noted items. He will continue to offer these services in the near future, but on a fee basis. In addition Eric will offer a number of other technical assistance services for a fee. Please contact Eric for additional details.

    We all know change is a part of the water and wastewater industry. We are adjusting to the program loses accordingly and will do our best to keep critically needed services offered to you folks in the field. We know you need this assistance to keep up with all the demands of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. Now more than ever we need your continued support. If you are not a member join us now. For all of you, please keep those letters of support and concern on this issue coming to me. We are involved in an ongoing effort at the national congressional level to ensure rural water funding is brought back to a full compliment for fiscal year 2008. That effort is proceeding in a very positive fashion. If you have any questions on this situation, please contact me directly at 802-660-4988 extension 315 or email me. VRWA will get through this funding lag period and I am confident we will be stronger in the end.

  • VRWA Board Discusses Drinking Water with Senator Sanders

    On March 13, VRWA Board Directors Ed Savage and Joe Voci, former Director Gilles Blais, and Executive Director Shaun Fielder visited Washington, DC and met with Vermont's congressional delegation to discuss the importance of drinking water source protection and the technical assistance provided by VRWA's programs. Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch have been continuously supportive of VRWA's work and have formally requested that our 2008 funding be renewed. For photos of our Directors' recent visit, click here.

  • For Immediate Release

    Date: April 12, 2007
    Contact: Sarah MacMillan, VRWA

    Royer Nominated for National Source Protection Award

    ESSEX JUNCTION, VT - Liz Royer, a Source Protection Specialist with the Vermont Rural Water Association, has been nominated by the National Rural Water Association for a Peer Leadership Award. Nominees are chosen by their peers in other states and the nomination recognizes Royer's outstanding efforts to protect drinking water supplies across Vermont.

    Working closely with community stakeholders, Royer crafts community and watershed-wide protection plans that help ensure that drinking water remains uncontaminated while balancing the concerns of residents, farmers, businesses and other stakeholders. As a representative of VRWA, Royer handles the technical aspects of the plan, acts as liaison for the community's steering committee, and assists with plan implementation. The Peer Leadership Award will be awarded at the National Rural Water Association's annual training event on June 13 in Reno, NV.

    Royer earned her Masters in Natural Resource Planning from the University of Vermont. She has been writing source water protection plans as a member of VRWA's staff since 2004.

    Since 1982, the Vermont Rural Water Association has provided expert onsite technical assistance at no direct cost to water and wastewater systems. Services also include training for operators, source water protection planning, and assistance with the managerial and financial aspects of running a system. For more information, visit www.vtruralwater.org.

  • Public Forum on Groundwater in the Mad River Valley

    The Friends of the Mad River and VRWA will host a forum on groundwater issues in the Mad River Valley on April 2, 2007, from 7pm-9pm at the Waitsfield Elementary School in Waitsfield. This is a public forum open to everyone! Come learn about the source protection efforts underway in the watershed and how our well water is connected to the river itself.

    Water operators who attend will receive 2 TCH towards their recertification. For complete information, see the announcement. Registration is optional, but encouraged; see VRWA's schedule to register.

  • UNH Technology Assistance Center Seeking Small Surface Water Systems to Participate in Survey

    The University of New Hampshire has a research group (the Water Treatment Technology Assistance Center) that studies technologies for small water systems. As part of that work, they are conducting a online survey of small water systems that use surface water sources. They are particularly interested in comparing pre-treatment options that help reduce high particulate materials in the source water.

    If you run a small surface water system and would like to participate, the survey can be found at: http://www.kwlemerald.com/UNH_WaterSurvey/survey.aspx

    Your comments are valuable in generating a database to assist the UNH Water Treatment Technology Assistance Center in providing recommendations to the US EPA.

    Results for this study will be posted on the UNH TACnet website (http://www.unh.edu/erg/wttac/) and will also be presented at various conferences and in journals.

    The UNH TAC thanks you for you help! If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, contact Peter Chin at pchin@kwl.ca.

  • Hazardous Materials Planning Workshop

    Vermont Emergency Management and EPA will be conducting a free, half-day workshop on hazardous materials planning and compliance with the federal Environmental Protection and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Water operators can earn 3 TCH towards recertification for attending.

    The workshop will be held Tuesday, February 13th from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at UVM's Waterman Building (Memorial Lounge). For more information or to sign up, contact Randy Bronson, the state's Hazardous Materials Compliance Program Manager, at 802-244-8721, or rbronson@dps.state.vt.us.

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