Newsletter - Summer 2013

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Another Successful Conference Event for Vermont Rural Water

Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

Our annual conference and trade show held on May 1 and 2 at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee was another successful event. Thanks again to all our sponsors including; Platinum Sponsors, E.J. Prescott, Ferguson Waterworks. Gold Sponsors, DN Tanks, Ti-SALES, Hoyle, Tanner & Associates. Silver Sponsors, Otter Creek, Aldrich + Elliot, Phelps Engineering, HP Fairfield, Ford Meter Box, Associated Electro-Mechanics.

We kicked off the festivities with our golf tournament on May 1 and lucky for us the weather cooperated. On the evening of May 1 a number of our partners and members joined us for dinner and what a location, overlooking Lake Morey, to enjoy a good meal with those we consider good friends.

On Thursday there was a full complement of training and the vendor display area was very active. With a good mix of training sessions and time to interact with the representatives from over 40 firms on the show floor, the energy was very positive.

Nearly 200 attendees were on hand during our business luncheon on Thursday. We recognized our long standing members including; 25 year members, Williston Water & Sewer. 20 year members, Danby Mt Tabor FD #1, Colchester Fire District #2, Worcester Fire District #1, The Pomfret School. 15 Year Members, Intervale at Stratton, Mountain Water Company /Mountain Wastewater Treatment (Sugarbush), Farm & Wilderness, The Grammar School, Lyn Haven Fire District 1, Ryegate Fire District #2, McIndoes Water System, North Village Water Company, Eden Central School, Town of Middlebury Water Department, Southern Vermont College, Grafton Town School District, North Thetford Union Water Company, The Grammar School, Ripton Elementary School. There were many 10 and 5 year members and we appreciate their continued membership status.

We also honored several VRWA board and team members for their years of services as follows; Tim Russo, Aaron Perez, Paul Carroccio received 5 year service pins. Dick Desautels received the 10 year service pin, and Shaun Fielder received the 15 year service pin.

We honored Don Phillips with the Tony Torchia Award. The award is presented on an annual basis by VRWA to an individual for their outstanding service efforts over a career in the water industry. As a professional engineer Don served over forty years assisting many Vermont communities with planning, design, construction and upgrades to their water and wastewater infrastructure. He recently retired from Aldrich + Elliot, based in Essex Junction, and is now enjoying some well deserved travel time with his wife.

Don did address the audience during the award presentation and noted,"...I really didn't think I did anything special over my career. What I did focus on was insuring I always acted in a manner that built trust and respect at a very personal level. It was very rewarding for me to have built some very close relationships over the years with many different folks including system personnel, regulators, other engineers, as well as many local and state officials." Well said Don, very well said.

The business luncheon wrapped up with Willem Lange offering some joy hearted commentary that all appreciated. We hope to have Willem back again next year.

We wrapped up the event with the hand out of vendor door prizes as well as the drawing for the VRWA raffle prizes. A special thank you to Ashley Lucht (VT DWW & VT DWGWPD) aka The Water Drop, our special guest raffle prize picker.

We did ask attendees to bring along a food donation to be distributed to the Vermont Foodbank. Unfortunately we received just a handful of food items and therefore made a decision to offer a $100 donation to Vermont Foodbank. This donation was delivered to their headquarters in the weeks following our event. It was very rewarding to learn that with some previously established corporate partner support, the $100 donation VRWA provided will allow the Vermont Foodbank to provide 600 meals to those in need.

For all of you that attended thanks and for those that didn't please plan to come next year. We are in the process of finalizing our dates in early May 2014 and will get the word out to everyone as soon as set. We look forward to holding the event back at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee.

Leak Detection

Aaron Perez, System Specialist

Recently I was contacted by a water operator from southern Vermont about locating a leak underneath a slab foundation of an elementary school. I was a little concerned that with my listening equipment it was going to be difficult to pinpoint a relatively small leak under several inches of concrete. However, I was prepared with my correlation equipment, seismograph stick, and pressure gauges to do my best to track it down.

I never got the chance. The operator contacted me again the day before our scheduled meeting to inform me that he had located the leak. "Great," I said. "How'd you do it?" "The line that was leaking was a hot water return line, so I walked around with an infrared thermometer and found a 'hot spot'." Well, I was impressed. Here was another technique for leak detection that I had never heard about.

Although I have worked in leak detection for the last 5 years and in this industry for many more, I am always impressed by the Yankee Ingenuity of the men and women who operate water and wastewater systems. Because there are so many variables to your jobs, finding the creative ways that you solve problems and sharing it with our colleagues is part of what makes my job fun and interesting.

Mike Harrington, USA Bluebook, is coming back to Vermont in September

Phil Acebo, Training Specialist

My first experience with water training took place in December, 2006 in Enosburgh when I first met Mike Harrington of USA Bluebook. Thus began a relationship that has grown over the years between me and Mike. But that's only me. Mike has had a longstanding successful relationship with VRWA and the greater water and wastewater industry in our state many years.

Mike has certifications in water, wastewater, and industrial wastewater treatment and is a Certified Environmental Instructor (CET). He also has years of experience in municipal and industrial operations. So every year, we invite Mike to drive to Vermont from Maryland and give presentations over a 3-day period, the Civil War tour, north to south, and sometimes the sky is blue and grey. Two years ago, due to Tropical Storm Irene, we had to cancel his presentations, but last year he was able to return.

This September Mike will be returning to present on the 3rd (Enosburgh), 4th (Waterbury), and 5th (Brattleboro). In Enosburgh and Brattleboro Mike will present 5 Sure Ways to a Coliform "Hit" in Your Water System, OR WORSE and in Waterbury Mike's presentation will be 21st Century Membrane Application in Water/Wastewater Processes.

If you haven't been in one of Mike's trainings you're in for a treat. Mike's knowledge base is vast, experience far ranging, and coupled with his engaging style and copious amounts of Tootsie Rolls Pops, a good time to learn and pick the brain of a guy who's been in the industry for 40 years.

Obviously one reasons I wrote this article is to inform you of some good training opportunities with VRWA. But also in our desire to bring in individuals with expertise in various aspects of the profession we must reach outside Vermont to make this happen. In doing this, preparation must happen months in advance and since they are travelling distances, they will need accommodations and meals while in Vermont. Just recently I had to cancel what I thought would be an opportunity with a pump company on repair and packing pumps. The presenter was coming from Florida, and for 8 people in two classes it was economically undoable. In the future our training calendar will reflect where presenters are coming from. In that way you'll know that they may not be in Vermont again for a year or more. When you do see that class that may interest you, jump in there and attend, that way VRWA can continue to bring in the experts that can help make you and your profession stronger.

State, Environmental Organizations Agree to Significant Measures to Clean Vermont's Water

DEC Press Release - July 19, 2013

On Thursday July 18, 2013, after reaching an agreement with the state, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a corrective action plan requiring the state to update and improve its clean water program. After considering a petition filed by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) in 2008, EPA found that the State of Vermont's clean water program needed to be improved in several ways including program requirements relating to public transparency, documentation of permitting decisions, enforcement penalty policy, regulation of animal feedlots, and nutrient pollution from municipal sewage treatment plants.

Following efforts by Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources to address these concerns, EPA has now found that the State of Vermont's program, once the plan has been implemented, will substantially comply with the requirements of federal water quality law. EPA did determine that a change is needed to a state law associated with funding of phosphorus removal from wastewater treatment plant effluent but also found that the state can issue permits consistent with the federal Clean Water Act in the interim until that law is revised.

"We are pleased with this outcome," stated Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Secretary Deb Markowitz. "The EPA's plan reflects the fact that the State of Vermont has made significant efforts to ensure that our implementation of the Clean Water Act meets the letter and purpose of the law. Our state and federal governments share the goal of ensuring that Vermont's waters are protected and restored. Vermont's lakes, ponds, rivers and streams are fundamental to our quality of life and future prosperity."

Most of the requirements of the plan have already been implemented by the Agency of Natural Resources including the following:

  • Providing an opportunity for the public to review and comment on enforcement actions related to violations of water quality law; Conforming the state's policy relating to the use of penalty payments to EPA's requirements;
  • Updating the state's system for reporting violations of federal water quality law;
  • Ensuring that animal feedlot operations are permitted in a manner that accords with the federal Clean Water Act and that water pollution from those feedlots is stopped and prevented;
  • Implementing a requirement of the Clean Water Act to prevent the degradation of existing high quality waters;
  • Documenting the analyses used by the Agency to develop permit limits for the discharge of pollutants into Vermont's waters; and
  • Limiting the amount of nutrients discharged by municipal wastewater treatment plants in a manner that conforms to the federal Clean Water Act.

"We appreciate the hard work and good faith demonstrated by EPA and CLF in the resolution of this matter without the need to go to court," commented Justin Johnson, ANR Deputy Secretary. "As a result of the work of these parties, we were able to achieve a balanced result that will allow the state to continue to implement the Clean Water Act in a man- ner that protects state waters and is transparent to the public without increasing the burden of the regulatory process on our farms, businesses, towns and cities."

Source: Agency of Natural Resources

News On Tap

Brandon Fire District #1 Receives National Source Protection Award

Congratulations to Ray Counter and Brandon Fire District #1 on their recent national source protection award! The American Water Works Association (AWWA) presented Counter with the Exemplary Source Water Protection Award for medium-sized systems during last month's Annual Conference & Exposition in Denver, Colorado. This award recognizes organizations in North America who have developed and are implementing exemplary source water protection programs. Brandon FD#1 was nominated by Rodney Pingree of the Vermont DEC Drinking Water Program and Kira Jacobs from US EPA Region 1.

In December 2011, Brandon FD#1 was the first public water system in the state to receive a Class II Groundwater Reclassification from the Agency of Natural Resources. Class II groundwater is suitable for public water supply use, has uniformly excellent character, is in use as a public water supply source or has a high probability for such use, and is exposed to activities which may pose a risk to its current or potential use as a public water supply source.

In addition, Counter continues to pursue the US EPA Region 1 Sole Source Aquifer Designation. This would designate the aquifer in which the three gravel well sources serving the Brandon Fire District #1 as the sole or the principal drinking water source for the area. VRWA has assisted in both of these petition processes.

Counter previously won the Tony Torchia Award from VRWA, honoring a person affiliated with the water and/or wastewater industry for extraordinary effort and accomplishment over the course of a career.

Safety Alert

Andy Johnson of the South Burlington Fire District #1 water system, has brought up a very important safety issue. His pump house has an exhaust fan equipped chlorine room. When the exhaust fan is operating at the same time as the pump house furnace he discovered a reduction in air pressure that could cause dangerous carbon monoxide gas to be drawn back into the building. To solve this problem Andy had the exhaust fan wired to interrupt the furnace operation, so they cannot run at the same time. If you have a pump station or pump house that has this exhaust fan/furnace combination you should have it inspected by a qualified technician to make sure its safe.


Thank you for your letter on our 5yr Award for our association with VRWA. Unfortunately we will not be able to attend the show, just too busy. I have been extremely happy with our relationship with VRWA and very grateful for all the training over the years. You have a very talented and knowledgeable staff.

Kind regards,

Stephen W. Gutowski
Yard Manager, Point Bay Marina

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