2013 Water News

  • Introduction to the Incident Command System - ICS100

    Date: April 10 & 11, 2014 ~ Participants must attend both sessions of the course ~
    Time: 9:00AM - 1:30 PM
    Location: Marlboro Graduate Center, 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT


    Date: May 29 & 30, 2014 ~ Participants must attend both sessions of the course ~
    Time: 9:00AM - 1:30 PM
    Location: St. Leo's Hall, 109 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT

    Credit: 8 TCH (water) / 7 TCH (wastewater)
    Cost: FREE

    This course provides training on and resources for personnel who require a basic understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS). This course introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

    Target Audience:
    Entry-level first responders (firefighters, police officers, emergency medical services providers, public works, public health personnel, others) and other personnel that require introductory ICS.

    Lodging and travel are the responsibility of the participant. Light lunch will be provided.

    Participants who attend all hours required of this course and successfully pass a final exam will receive a Certificate of Completion.
    This course meets NIMS Baseline Training requirements for ICS100.
    Late registrations may be accepted on a case-by case basis.

    Funding for the ICS training is through a grant from Homeland Security.

    To register for this course, please use the following link:



  • Update: Community Fire Safety Act

    On December 17, the senate passed, by unanimous consent, the Community Fire Safety Act. It is anticipated that the president will sign the bill in the near future.

    Thanks to all those systems that reached out to our congressional delegation on this issue.

  • Consider action now - Reduction in Lead in Drinking Water Act Potentially to be Extended to Fire Hydrants (those in inventory and to be installed in the future)

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) October 22, 2013 decision to extend applicability of the Reduction of Lead In Drinking Water Act of 2011 (P.L. 111-380) to fire hydrants in their final Frequently Asked Questions on the Act would result in hundreds of millions of dollars of costs for public water systems without any additional public health protection. Public water systems and many industry groups, including National Rural Water Association and Vermont Rural Water Association, are seeking Congressional action at this time to insure fire hydrants remain exempt from the noted act. Toward insuring the exemption the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3588, the "Community Fire Safety Act," by a unanimous vote of 384 - 0, on December 2, 2013. The bi-partisan legislation does exempt fire hydrants from coverage under the Reduction of Lead In Drinking Water Act of 2011 (P.L. 111-380), along with other currently exempted water supply fixtures that are not used for providing drinking water.

    At this time the U.S. Senate will consider this legislation. Please be aware Vermont Rural Water Association has contacted Senator Leahy and Senator Sanders offices on this issue to request they also vote in favor of the, "Community Fire Safety Act (Senate bill number is to be assigned).

    Please consider contacting Senator Leahy and Sanders office and requesting their support of the noted legislation. For your reference a link below provides draft language on this issue, feel free to use it for any support request item you may submit.


    VRWA will keep you posted on the status of this issue over the next couple of weeks.

  • News Release

    CoBank Announces New Program For Rural Water and Wastewater Lending

    Bank Helps Water and Wastewater Systems Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates

    DENVER (November 13, 2013) - CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit System associations throughout the United States, today announced a new financing program for rural water and wastewater systems.

    Under the bank's new "Streamlined Refinance Program," U.S. rural water and wastewater providers can take advantage of a streamlined process to refinance their existing U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loans with maturities of approximately 20 years or less. Refinanced loans issued under the program will offer multiple benefits to participating customers, including:

    • Historically low interest rates;
    • Simple credit application packet;
    • Flexible structures that reduce payments or shorten maturity;
    • Streamlined approval and closing process, and;
    • Eligibility for patronage refunds from the bank for loans to qualified borrowers. CoBank has consistently paid 1 percent of eligible loan balances in patronage, of which 75 percent is currently paid in cash.

    "We're pleased to announce this new program for existing and prospective rural water and wastewater customers," said Paul Narduzzo, senior vice president for CoBank's Electric Distribution and Rural Water Banking Division. "For any rural water or wastewater company, whether it's a municipality or a not-for-profit system, we believe this program provides a great opportunity to save money by using a quick and easy loan process to take advantage of historically low interest rates. This program should also help the customers meet their USDA Rural Development graduation requirements."

    Those with questions about the program should contact the bank's Rural Water Division by calling Julia McCusker, Vice President, Water Services, at 1-800-542-8072, ext. 45858, or by sending an email to Water@CoBank.com.

    More information about the program also can be found here.

    About CoBank

    CoBank is a $94 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.

    CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation's rural economy. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

    For more information about CoBank, visit the bank's web site at www.cobank.com.


    Arthur Hodges
    Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications

    Dan Haley
    Director, Corporate Communications

    Sherry Johnson
    Corporate Communications Manager

  • Announcing a Series of Public Discussions in December, 2013 about the Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, is holding a series of six public meetings in December, 2013, to discuss the new phosphorus plan that is under development by the EPA for the Lake Champlain Basin, referred to as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

    The meetings will be moderated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program staff and held around the Lake Champlain Basin. There will be morning, afternoon, and evening sessions in an attempt to accommodate and encourage all interested persons to participate. No pre-registration is required. Please refer to the table below for the meeting schedule.

    Phosphorus runoff and discharges from numerous sources within the Lake Champlain Basin are causing excessive growth of algae in the form of "blooms" in some areas of the lake that turn water murky shades of green, brown, or blue. Some of these algae blooms can be toxic to pets and people. Excessive phosphorus loading also increases the costs of drinking water and wastewater treatment, affects businesses that depend on clean water such as tourism and recreation, and depresses property values. Excessive phosphorus loading can also degrade the water quality of local streams and rivers that feed into Lake Champlain.

    The TMDL will place a cap on the maximum amount of phosphorus that can be allowed to enter Lake Champlain and still meet Vermont's water quality standards. It will allocate that maximum amount to each river basin draining to Lake Champlain and among the various phosphorus sources. Phosphorus sources include discharges from wastewater treatment facilities, runoff from developed lands, runoff from state and municipal road networks, runoff from agricultural lands and timber lands, and streambank erosion stemming from channel instability.

    For more information, please contact Kari Dolan, kari.dolan@state.vt.us

    Lake Champlain Basin Phosphorus Clean Water Act TMDL Public Meetings, December, 2013

    December 2, 20132:00pm - 4:00pmBliss Room, St Albans Historical Society 9 Church Street, St. Albans
    December 2, 20137:00pm - 9:00pmSwanton Municipal Building 120 First Street, Swanton
    December 3, 20139:30am - 11:30amAuditorium at the Pavilion Building 109 State Street, Montpelier
    December 10, 20132:00pm - 4:00pmECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center 1 College Street, Burlington
    December 10, 20137:00pm - 9:00pmFounders Room, Middlebury Inn 14 Court Square, Middlebury
    December 11, 201310:30am - 12:30pmFox Room, Rutland Free Library 10 Court Street, Rutland
  • Program Update from Vermont Rural Water Association - September 2013

    Our EPA technical assistance and training program as managed by Liz Royer ended on August 31. Liz was the lead on this in recent months assisting various public water systems with training to supplement what is offered by Phil Acebo and Wayne Graham. In addition the program allowed VRWA to provide technical assistance to those public water systems that are considered private (those community and non transient non community systems not eligible for USDA rural development funding). Fortunately I can report we gained another program on September 1st and Liz has shifted to it. This program is focused on source protection planning and is funded at the national level via a Farm Service Agency contract secured by National Rural Water Association (NRWA). This timing is of course very good and we are pleased to keep our team member levels sustained. This source protection planning program is the same Liz previously worked on and she is looking forward to assisting systems with given source protection planning support. In the event there is a backlog of requests we will offer additional support on a fee basis as led by Shaun Fielder and Tim Russo.

    Please note with the loss of our EPA program this creates a situation where we are not able to provide field assistance to certain public water systems at no direct cost to the system. The systems this impacts are those considered private. As referenced above this would be those community and non transient non community systems not eligible for USDA rural development funding. We are informing these systems at the time of an assistance request of this situation, detailing anticipated costs, and getting the system approval prior to the given assistance. The fees offered at this time are $56/hr for member systems & $70/hr for non-members plus associated travel costs. Those systems eligible for USDA rural development funding will continue to receive support at no direct cost from our water system specialists Brent Desranleau and Aaron Perez and wastewater specialist Wayne Graham.

    The loss of the EPA program is hopefully short lived and at this time in a "lag period." The next program funding round is up for bid the middle of this month. NRWA in cooperation with all state affiliates is submitting bids for consideration. We are optimistic we will secure additional program support later this fall to benefit VRWA and all the systems we serve.

    All of us are aware the funding challenges of recent years have been tough to deal with but VRWA has been able to adjust accordingly and we continue to meet our mission to promote public health and a clean environment by providing support to water and wastewater systems. Remember you can always support VRWA further by becoming a member, renewing a membership, or providing a donation. In addition any letter of support illustrating how VRWA was important to your system or you are always appreciated and needed on an ongoing basis, you can direct those to my attention.

    Thanks for your ongoing support and for allowing VRWA the opportunity to continue to partner with you. A reminder our team member contact information can be found at the following link; http://vtruralwater.org/about/contact.php If you have questions or comments please contact me directly at 802-660-4988 ext. 315 or via email.

    Shaun Fielder
    Executive Director

    Vermont Rural Water Association
    20 Susie Wilson Road, Suite B
    Essex Junction, Vermont 05452-2827

    Phone: 802-660-4988 ext. 315
    Fax: 866-378-7213


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