Newsletter - Summer 2014

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Another Successful VRWA Conference and Trade Show

By Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

It was another successful conference and trade show for VRWA on May 7 & 8 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee. We kicked it off with a great weather day for our golf tournament on Wednesday afternoon. Congrats to the first place team of Beidman, Callo, Charbeannea, and Talbot. Harry Benner took closest to the pin and longest drive was hit by 15 year old Riley Fletcher.

On Thursday we conducted a number of training sessions and thanks to the following for their involvement leading sessions; Steven Bolles (Process Services, LLC), Jack Healey (EPA Region 1), Paul Olander (Utility Partners), Wayne Bennett (Northeast Pump and Instrument), and Jim Siriano (VT DEC DWGWPD). The trade show floor was very active and attendees had some great opportunities to interact with all our vendors taking part. To all those firms and partners on our trade floor, your involvement is appreciated.

During our business luncheon we honored an extensive list of long standing system and company members. In addition it was our honor to present The Tony Torchia Lifetime Achievement Award to Paul Olander. Paul's many years of service with VT DEC in the Wastewater Management Division are well known and he followed that up most recently as a wastewater operator for Utility Partners in the St. Johnsbury area. Paul is a nationally recognized wastewater expert and has been a guest trainer for VRWA for many years.

During the annual business meeting, Ed Savage (VRWA President) reported that Dick Desautels (Colchester Fire District #2) was elected to another three year term as VRWA Director, the association received a very favorable 2013 audit report, and that membership recently voted in favor of several bylaw changes.

Thanks to all our event sponsors: Platinum level, E.J. Prescott and Ferguson Waterworks. Gold Sponsors, DN Tanks and Ti-Sales. Silver sponsors, Associated Electro-Mechanics, Dubois & King, Eastern Analytical, Environmental Compliance Services, Ford Meter Box, Otter Creek Engineering, Phelps Engineering, Weston & Sampson.

To all who took part it was great interacting with you. We are in the process of determining our approach for our 2015 conference and trade show event and will keep everyone posted as details are determined.

Vermont Rural Water Partners with the Agricultural Community

Liz Royer, Water System Specialist

Since the initiation of the Source Water program with funding from the Farm Service Agency in 2004, Vermont Rural Water (VRWA) has been partnering with many entities in the agricultural community. Program funding in recent years was reduced, but now with every state again having a source protection position, Rural Water has been encouraging new and innovative partnerships. During Rural Water's In Service training in Mobile, Alabama last month, VRWA staff presented to source protection peers on ideas for partnerships based on conversations with a variety of government agencies and non-profit groups here in Vermont.

The Source Water Collaborative (SWC) was originally formed in 2006 with the goal of combining the strengths and tools of a diverse set of member organizations to protect drinking water sources. Twenty-five national organizations have united to protect the lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers we tap for drinking purposes. Comprised of partners including USDA, EPA, USGS and non-profit associations, the SWC has come together to further the goals of protecting sources of drinking water - recognizing that resources are extremely limited, authorities are split, and the actors who can actually protect source waters are diffuse. Rural Water is a partner in this national Collaborative and VRWA will be looking at hosting an annual workshop for a state-based collaborative group focused on implementation.

One of the main partners for improving water quality in Vermont is the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Since fall of 2013, VRWA has been serving on the NRCS State Technical Committee (STC). This group meets bimonthly to discuss conservation programs and funding priorities. The STC recommends criteria and guidelines for agricultural and nonindustrial private forestland producers regarding new and existing conservation initiatives. This summer, VRWA will be working with NRCS subcommittees on updating their ranking criteria for proposed projects located in source protection areas. In addition, VRWA will be presenting at an annual training for County Conservation Planners on what source water is and how to include drinking water protection in their programs.

The Vermont Association of Conservation Districts (VACD) is the statewide organization for the 14 Districts - local units of government that work for natural resource conservation. VACD was recently awarded a grant to help small farms install agricultural water quality best management practices that will protect the State's waters and support the working landscape. VRWA has been working with Agricultural Resource Specialist (ARS) staff for several years, but will continue to expand their joint farm visits in source protection areas. VRWA will also present additional information on working with water systems and drinking water protection during an upcoming quarterly meeting for District Managers.

Since 2004, VRWA has been working with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture through various trainings including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and groundwater monitoring projects. Upcoming initiatives will include working with the Agency to include public drinking water sources in the update of the Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAPs) and outreach during nutrient management planning efforts.

VRWA invites drinking water system personnel to contact us if you are interested in partnering with agricultural entities or producers in your community.

Yankee Ingenuity

Continuing Stories of System Innovations

Wayne Graham, Wastewater Specialist

This column details unique solutions, to difficult problems, that operators come up with everyday. Below are several cases of operators solving large problems, saving money and making life at their second homes (treatment plants) a little easier.

  • Tim Mills of the Bethel WWTF was able to avoid an expensive gear reducer (that was also very problematic) replacement by swapping to sprockets and chain on his oxidation ditch rotor, saving Bethel thousands of dollars. At the same time, Tim also installed a variable frequency drive on the rotor motor, providing lots of flexibility in operations, not to mention electrical savings. I'm sure the Town of Bethel appreciates Tim's mechanical abilities!
  • After doing hundreds of manhole inspections, years of dye testing to determine location of service connections and upsetting homeowners by turning their toilets green with dye, I had the opportunity to watch Harry Hinrichsen of Barre Town at work. We were verifying flow from one structure to another when Harry pulled a box of fruit loops out of his truck's tool box, threw a handful of the colorful cereal in to the flow and observed the results. Harry's words... "cheaper than dye, readily available and a good solution to stale cereal".
  • Anyone who has operated a combination jet/vac truck knows that when in the process of cleaning sewer lines a debris tank full of water means shutting down and draining water prior to continuing. Operators Chris Huestis and Steve Williams from the Shelburne facilities added a four inch valve to the vac truck tank, allowing their tanker truck to remove water from the debris tank, letting the vac truck stay on task. The busy crew has seen increased efficiency and get more actual working hours from their equipment.
  • Due to employee safety concerns with operating a troublesome odor control system using acid, caustic and chlorine, Utility Partners LLC staff at the Lyndon WWTF researched and found a woodchip biofilter design that would take care of their sludge processing odors. The staff, working with the biofilter company, built a pilot biofilter to test on site. The pilot was successful and the full scale filter is now in design stages. This will save Lyndon approximately $25,000 per year in chemical costs, while making the facility safer for employees.
  • If you have interesting ideas that you want to share, send them to me; we will include them in News Leaks in the future. I also encourage you to tour other facilities and share ideas; you will find that networking with other operators can be very beneficial. Several organizations can also help; VTWARN, GMWEA, VLTC, VT WW Mgmnt. and of course, VRWA!

New Program And Team Member For VRWA

By Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

VRWA is pleased to announce effective June 2 we have added a full-time program supported by an EPA national contract with National Rural Water Association. This is effectively a reinstatement of a program that closed out last fall. The primary focus will be on offering onsite assistance to public water systems of all types. Given we have several team members targeting community and fire districts now, this new program will hone in on privately managed community, NTNC, and TNC systems. Some examples include mobile home parks, schools, private businesses and other types of systems. Another component of this program will be conducting sustainability training for wastewater systems. These classroom trainings will be conducted later this year and into 2015. These additional efforts will be a great complement to our existing onsite and training offerings. Please be aware certain services VRWA currently offers on a fee basis will remain unchanged; these include items such as operation and maintenance manuals and source protection plans depending on our scheduling and program workload.

For this new program, we are happy to announce Paul Sestito joined our team on June 2 on a full-time basis. Paul most recently assisted with operations of a surface water facility in Northeastern Vermont and also with wastewater operations at another facility in the kingdom. He holds a bachelor of science degree in marine engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, is a certified Class 4 Public Water System Operator and also holds a Vermont Class 3 Water Pollution Abatement Facility Operator Certification. Prior to entering the water sector industry Paul taught science at the high school level. He is looking forward to jumping right into action as a VRWA team member.

New on Tap

VRWA Awards At GMWEA Spring Meeting

Congrats to Wayne Graham for his "Outstanding Service Award" as presented by VT Department of Environmental Conservation at the GMWEA Spring Meeting held in Killington on May 22. Wayne received his award from Ernie Kelley along with all members of the Waterwater Operator Certification Advisory Board.

Wayne's award reads, "In recognition of your extraordinary dedication and service to the wastewater industry and specifically, as a member of the Wastewater Operator Certification Advisory Board." Wayne and other board members have offered many hours over the past two year period completing a revamp of wastewater certification guidance information for VT DEC. Nicely done Wayne, well deserved.

VRWA is honored to have received the "President's Award" at the spring meeting as well. Outgoing President Bob Fischer (City of Montpelier) presented the award to VRWA, "for efforts on behalf of GMWEA and its membership." Bob acknowledged ongoing involvement of VRWA team members on various GMWEA committees including the continuing education committee and government affairs committee. In addition Bob commented on the VRWA/GMWEA partnership approach on recent offerings of the multi-week Wastewater Certification trainings. VRWA looks forward to our ongoing collaborative work with GMWEA.


Attention: Vermont Rural Water Association

I am Donald Mangan a member of the Prudential Committee for the Fairfield Fire District #1 in East Fairfield, Vermont. I would like to thank your field agent, Brent Desranleau for helping us recently with a substantial water leak in our system. This leak had been haunting us for about a month and with Brent's help we found the problem in a matter of a few hours. Having the Rural Water Association and Brent to turn to when we have a problem is a very valuable asset to us.

Brent has been very helpful in the past resolving issues we have encountered. He is very knowledgable and professional and makes himself available to us when needed. I feel he is a great asset to the Vermont Rural Water Association. Thanks again and we look forward to working with you in the future.


Don Mangan

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