2009 Water News

  • State Budget Woes to Impact VT SRF Technical Assistance for Public Water Systems

    By Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

    The Water Supply Division has released information indicating no RFP will be released for SRF Technical Assistance services effective February 1, 2010. This situation will impact VRWA directly as we currently have Ian Schrauf serving in the VT SRF Technical Assistance program. Ian provides a variety of assistance on all aspects of the VT SRF funding process. We are hopeful that this will not be a long-term situation and VT DEC will release the RFP sometime in the near future. If you represent one of the systems that has received assistance with the state SRF application process from VRWA, please consider submitting a letter of support directly to me. Thanks for your consideration and stay tuned for future developments.

  • Change in Vermont law regulating amount of lead allowed in plumbing supplies used to convey water for human consumption, effective January 1, 2010.

    Read the letter-notice from the Office of the Attorney General explaining that under Vermont law, on January 1, 2010, the amount of lead permitted in plumbing supplies used to convey water for human consumption will be limited.

  • Important Funding Opportunity

    Vermont Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Request for Priority List Applications

    The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) amendments authorized low interest loans using federal and state funds administered by the State for water system improvements. Funds for loans to municipalities and certain privately owned water systems for planning, final design and construction for the purpose of repairing or improving public water systems to comply with State and Federal standards and protect public health will be available.

    The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is now accepting priority list applications for placement on the 2009 DWSRF project priority list. The deadline for 2009 construction priority list applications is December 18, 2009. If you would like an application for your water system improvement project to get on the priority list, please call the Water Supply Division at 1-800-823-6500. Additionally, a copy of the form can be found and completed online on the Water Supply Division website at: www.vermontdrinkingwater.org/forms/DWSRFPriorityListApplication.doc

    We plan to have a draft priority list available by Friday, January 15, 2010. A public meeting to receive comments on the draft priority list and the FY 2009 DWSRF Vermont Intended Use Plan will be held on Monday, January 25, 2010, from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M., at the Summit Training Center - Hazen Notch Room at the Waterbury State Office Complex. Final written comments are due by Friday, February 5, 2010.

    If you have questions about completing the application form or the loan program in general, please contact Bryan Redmond toll-free in Vermont at 1-800-823-6500 ext. 3408, direct at 1-802-241-3408 or by fax at 1-802-241-3284. We look forward to assisting you with your water system improvement needs.

  • VRWA Staff Changes

    By Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

    We are pleased to report some staff changes here at VRWA. Eric Hanson will be moving back into a source protection planning position, as of November 1. Eric served in this role two years back when the program was dropped at the national level. In the interim Eric has worked on two separate contracts with DEC. One focused on redelineation of source protection areas and most recently on a state wide well interference project for public water systems. Fortunately the EPA source protection program was recently reinstated and Eric looks forward to assisting systems once again with issues associated with source protection planning. Eric most recently was serving as a VRWA Circuit Rider assisting water and wastewater systems with all details associated with accessing ARRA Rural Development Stimulus Funding.

    To fill the circuit rider position Eric is leaving, we have hired Randall Antinarelli on a temporary full-time basis. Randy brings many years of experience in the bottled water industry to the table. Most recently he was production manager for Vermont Natural Springs Water at their Brattleboro facility. Randy started in late October and has already been on the road with other VRWA staff to meet system personnel and Rural Development officials. He is covering the southern VT region to complement the work of Dmitri Hudak (VRWA) who covers the north half of the state on these issues. Welcome aboard Randy.

  • VRWA Gains Additional Circuit Rider Positions

    By Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

    The objective of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is to create jobs and furthermore provide funding opportunities for infrastructure improvements. Our staff is busy assisting a number of systems with all details associated with this process. With the infusion of just under three times the annual appropriation for water/wastewater infrastructure funding there is a lot to get done. VRWA is fortunate enough to be gaining positions to assist during this particularly busy time. The focus of these positions is to assist rural development eligible communities with all details associated with ARRA funding opportunities.

    These positions have been implemented for rural water affiliates across the country and are the result of funding allocated by USDA Rural Development and sourced from ARRA. The National Rural Water Association worked closely with National Rural Development officials to develop these programs. The support these technicians will provide will be of significant benefit to public water and wastewater systems and to the given state rural development offices.

    We are pleased to announce Eric Hanson (VRWA) has been assigned to the first ARRA circuit rider position as of July 1st. Eric just wrapped up an extensive one year project on a statewide tool to predict and describe well interference issues for Vermont. Eric has been with VRWA since June 2006 and has held several positions with the association focusing on groundwater related issues and source protection planning. He has over 25 years of experience in the field of hydrogeology and environmental permitting. He is well versed in application processes and has experience working with boards, various commissions, and state regulators. In his local community of Starksboro he previously served as Chairperson of the Planning Commission and as a member of the Starksboro Conservation Commission. Eric recently received a Professional Hydrologist certification from the American Institute of Hydrology.

    We welcome aboard Mr. Dmitri Hudak of Berkshire who filled the second ARRA Circuit Rider position on July 20th. He most recently served as the Water/Wastewater Foreman with the Town of Richford, Vermont up to mid-July. Prior to working in Richford, Dmitri held the Facilities Engineer position for the Ed Weed Fish Hatchery in Grand Isle and previous was Laboratory Coordinator for the University of Vermont College of Engineering. He is a 2001 graduate of the Colorado School of Mines and has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Dmitri holds a State of Vermont Class 4B Public Water Operator Certification and State of Vermont Grade 2D Wastewater Treatment Facility Operator Certification.

    If your public water or wastewater system needs any additional assistance on project funding opportunities please contact us. Of particular note, Eric and Dmitri will out in the field in force to assist the rural development eligible communities with the process. Just as is our focus, they will be providing the resources, advice, and guidance to implement and move forward on given projects. Congrats to Eric on his new assignment with VRWA and again welcome aboard to Dmitri.

  • Vermont Rural Water Association Announces Two New Circuit Rider Positions

    Vermont Rural Water Association (VRWA) is pleased to announce two new Circuit Rider positions for the association. These positions have been implemented for rural water affiliates across the country and are the result of funding allocated by USDA Rural Development (RD) and sourced from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The circuit riders will provide hands-on technical assistance to public water and wastewater systems on all details associated with infrastructure improvements funded with ARRA funds. One of the positions will be filled on July 1st by Eric Hanson, and the second position is in the process of being filled. Eric has been with VRWA since June 2006 and has held several positions with the association focusing on hydrologic related issues and source protection planning. He has over 25 years of experience in the water field and is well versed on application processes and has experience working with boards and various commissions. In his local community of Starksboro he previously served as Chairperson of the Planning Commission and as a member of the Starksboro Conservation Commission. Eric recently received a Professional Hydrologist certification from the American Institute of Hydrology.

  • For Immediate Release

    Date: April 30, 2009
    Contact: Federal Trade Commission, Office of Public Affairs, 202-326-2180

    FTC Will Grant Three-Month Delay of Enforcement of 'Red Flags' Rule Requiring Creditors and Financial Institutions to Adopt Identity Theft Prevention Programs

    The Federal Trade Commission will delay enforcement of the new "Red Flags Rule" until August 1, 2009, to give creditors and financial institutions more time to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. For entities that have a low risk of identity theft, such as businesses that know their customers personally, the Commission will soon release a template to help them comply with the law. Today's announcement does not affect other federal agencies' enforcement of the original November 1, 2008 compliance deadline for institutions subject to their oversight.

    "Given the ongoing debate about whether Congress wrote this provision too broadly, delaying enforcement of the Red Flags Rule will allow industries and associations to share guidance with their members, provide low-risk entities an opportunity to use the template in developing their programs, and give Congress time to consider the issue further," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

    The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) directed financial regulatory agencies, including the FTC, to promulgate rules requiring "creditors" and "financial institutions" with covered accounts to implement programs to identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, or specific activities that could indicate identity theft. FACTA's definition of "creditor" applies to any entity that regularly extends or renews credit - or arranges for others to do so - and includes all entities that regularly permit deferred payments for goods or services. Accepting credit cards as a form of payment does not, by itself, make an entity a creditor. Some examples of creditors are finance companies; automobile dealers that provide or arrange financing; mortgage brokers; utility companies; telecommunications companies; non-profit and government entities that defer payment for goods or services; and businesses that provide services and bill later, including many lawyers, doctors, and other professionals. "Financial institutions" include entities that offer accounts that enable consumers to write checks or make payments to third parties through other means, such as other negotiable instruments or telephone transfers.

    During outreach efforts last year, the FTC staff learned that some industries and entities within the agency"s jurisdiction were uncertain about their coverage under the Red Flags Rule. During this time, FTC staff developed and published materials to help explain what types of entities are covered, and how they might develop their identity theft prevention programs. Among these materials were an alert on the Rule's requirements, www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/alerts/alt050.shtm, and a Web site with more resources to help covered entities design and implement identity theft prevention programs, www.ftc.gov/redflagsrule. The compliance template will be available on this Web site.

    The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

  • 2009 Drinking Water Tasting Contest

    Do you have the best tasting drinking water in Vermont? Well, here's your opportunity to prove it.

    The Drinking Water Week Committee welcomes all public water systems to enter the 2009 Water Tasting Contest. As in years past, the Water Tasting Contest will be held on the State House lawn during the Drinking Water Fair. This year's Fair is Friday, May 8th. Your water will be tasted and judged by a panel of your peers. Water systems will remain anonymous to the judges and all fair attendees with the exception of the tasting coordinator and the winners, who will be announced during the fair festivities.

    Applications should be submitted on or before May 1st to allow time for processing. All participating systems must be in compliance with both State and Federal rules and regulations (including water quality standards in Subchapter 21-6 of the Vermont Water Supply Rule). There are three categories for this contest- Public Community surface water, Public Community groundwater and Non-transient Non-Community. An overall winner will be chosen from the top finishers. A minimum of two (2) gallons of your water are requested, clearly marked with water system name, type of system (groundwater, surface water or NTNC), and contact person on each container. The water system may use a container of their choosing, but glass is strongly recommended. Samples should be drawn no earlier than the day before the contest and will be served at room temperature.

    We will have a designated tasting area where samples can be delivered the Lawn. All samples must be in no later than 9AM on May 8th (the day of the fair). There will be three drop off places, State House Lawn, May 8th by 9AM; the Water Supply Division, Waterbury, May 7th or 8th, but no later than 8:30AM on the 8th; or VRWA Trade Show at Lake Morey, May 7th. Please contact me by email ashley.lucht@state.vt.us or phone 802 241 3424 with any questions or if you need additional information.

    Ashley Lucht
    Water Tasting Coordinator, Vermont Drinking Water Week

    Download the Water Tasting Application here! (pdf)

  • Learn Your Facility's Energy Performance

    Free resource available on line

    by Amy Rubin of Efficiency Vermont

    An on-line tool has been made available, free of charge, to enable facility managers to gain knowledge about energy use. Provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the "ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager" can determine how much energy a facility uses in comparison to facilities of similar use and size throughout the country.

    "The value of this tool can be tremendous for water and wastewater treatment plants," says Efficiency Vermont's George Lawrence, who works with Vermont water and wastewater facilities, to help them reduce their electricity costs. "It can help reveal if opportunities exist for lowering energy use and costs."

    Facility managers also can use the Portfolio Manager to monitor energy and water costs, set priorities for resource-saving upgrades, and verify the performance of improvements.

    "The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an easy and straight-forward way for facility managers to track their facilities' energy use and to find out how they compare to similar facilities," says Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of the EPA's New England office. "This resource is helping a wide range of facilities across the U.S. to significantly reduce energy use, which saves money and reduces air pollution."

    The Portfolio Manager is able to compare energy use among similar facilities by accessing data gathered in a national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy. This survey, known as the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey, is conducted every four years, and obtains data on building characteristics and energy use from thousands of buildings across the United States. Data is available for more than a dozen categories of commercial buildings, including water and wastewater treatment facilities.

    To learn more, go to www.energystar.gov/buildings. Scroll down to "Tools" and click on "Portfolio Manager".

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