Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2015

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Promoting the Importance of VRWA

Shaun Fielder, Executive Director

VRWA looks forward to taking part in the Rural Water Rally with all other rural water affiliates on February 8 to 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. A major goal of the rally is to advocate for the importance, value, and need for national program funding to support rural water conducted training, technical assistance, and source protection planning services offered by all associations including VRWA. For VRWA, we demonstrate our successes for the year in the form of an annual accomplishments report. It provides the details in regard to totals and it is always impressive to see how many hours of training, technical assistance, and source protection planning support VRWA is able to offer in a given year in all corners of Vermont. VRWA Directors serve in a lead role during the rally meetings with our congressional delegation, and during face-to-face meetings they present info on the accomplishments report. They frequently offer feedback on how the association has assisted their community on water and wastewater issues. During these discussions it always comes out how much this is appreciated by our elected officials and their office representatives. This year Ed Savage of Town of West Rutland and Margaret Dwyer our newest director representing Winhall/Stratton Fire District will join me for the rally visit. We all appreciate the time they are taking from their busy schedules to advocate for rural water program funding support and to showcase how productive VRWA is.

Another valuable part of the accomplishment report is to note the support items we have received for the year. It is always rewarding to mention these and it is a section of the report that our congressional representatives do look at and take note of. Any feedback from the grassroots level holds a lot of clout. If you are interested in providing a letter of support, these are always appreciated. You can send them directly to my attention.

One more year has passed and the active pace continues for all of us. A special thank you to all the systems, regulators, and industry contacts we have worked with this year, we are fortunate to have interacted with you. Our team members and directors are pleased to work hard on your behalf and will continue to do so. I wish you all the best for this holiday season and look forward to another productive year ahead.

Revised Total Coliform Rule

Matt Guerino, Training Specialist

As of April 1, 2016 the Total Coliform (TC) Rule that we have known and loved will end. The New Revised Total Coliform Rule starts on April 1, 2016. The new rule will involve more site investigations, potentially less TC samples, and no Non-Acute Boil Water Notices. What are the changes that are coming?

There are enough little changes that this article won't capture all of the little modifications to the rule. Here are some of the changes: Non-Acute Boil Water Notices will go away as of April 1, 2016. Increased monitoring due to a positive TC result will change. Increased monitoring will be modified based on your TC monitoring sample(s) (i.e.: monthly, quarterly). Two additional significant changes include Level 1 and Level 2 Site investigations and Bacteriological Sampling Plans will need to be updated by all water systems by April 1, 2016.

What is a Level 1 Site investigation? It is a site investigation completed by the operator of the water system or by an operator of an equal or greater certification level of the water system.

Level 1 Site Investigations requires a review of the entire water system and the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division (DWGWP) has created a template for the operator to follow and can be found on the DWGWP website:

Site investigations will be required due to positives from increased monitoring event. Level 2 Site investigations are more like a Sanitary Surveys and will be completed by the DWGWP or an approved professional in the field. This is an EPA requirement and will need to be completed in a timely manner.

The New Revised Total Coliform Rule also requires an updated Bacteriological Sampling Plan. Most systems will just need to modify their old Bacteriological Sampling Plan to the new form found on the DWGWP website. The biggest change is that water systems will need to move sample sites from the exact end of the distribution line. Increased sampling sites will also need to be identified for each monthly sampling site sampled. For systems taking 10 or more samples per month, this is going to be a bit time consuming.

The new Bacteriological Sampling Plan document can be found on the DWGWP website:

The Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division also recorded a video that will walk you through filling out a Bacteriological Sampling Plan, the link is:

Samples of the completed plan from the video can be viewed at:

The DWGWPD and VRWA have been holding courses since August 2015 on the Revised Total Coliform Rule. If you haven't attended a course yet please visit our website and sign up for a course now. No matter what the course is labeled for (NTNC/Community and or TNC water systems) anyone can attend the course as the courses are all the same. In 2016 there will be more courses specific to Sampling Plans and Level 1 Site Assessments. I strongly recommend you attend one of these courses before April 1, 2016. I look forward to seeing you all at one of these courses.

Yankee Ingenuity: Continuing Stories of System Innovations

By Wayne Graham, Wastewater Specialist

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

Wastewater facilities in Morrisville, Barton, Lyndon and St. Johnsbury (operated by Utility Partners LLC) had a need for a portable pump for a variety of uses. I found a used Penn Valley sludge pump that needed a home, and in a group effort, the contract operations company took over. Coupled to a gas engine and mounted to a trailer, this unit has become a very valuable tool for all of the Utility Partners facilities to use. It has been used to pump out scum pits, chlorine contact tanks and pump stations. It is self-priming and will pump against a high head.

For treatment facilities that use fire hoses for tank cleaning the pictured hose trailer may be of some interest. This trailer holds a few hundred feet of 1.5 inch fire hose, nozzles, hydrant wrenches and a backflow preventer. This makes for easy storage of hoses and is very mobile.

For treatment facilities that use fire hoses for tank cleaning the pictured hose trailer may be of some interest. This trailer holds a few hundred feet of 1.5 inch fire hose, nozzles, hydrant wrenches and a backflow preventer. This makes for easy storage of hoses and is very mobile. In a previous article I mentioned my experience with using agricultural calcium nitrate for hydrogen sulfide control in force mains. Several facilities are having great results using hydrogen peroxide, which they find to be economical and easier to handle than calcium nitrate. As usual, these operators are always striving for improvement. The very talented crew at the Ludlow WWTF made the time-consuming and difficult task of cleaning their chlorine contact tank more efficient by installing permanent piping and valves for cleaning the tank. No more dragging hoses around, not only making the job easier but also safer. 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, VT Watershed Mgmnt. and of course, VRWA!

Water Line Locating Conductors

By Brent Desranleau, Water Systems Specialist

As I travel around the state working with municipal water systems and conducting water main locating services, or I am on a construction site where new mains are being installed, I continue to see PVC c900 and other non-metallic pipe being installed without tracer wire, or ductile iron pipe being installed without wedges in the push-on-joint. Both of these practices insure a positive pipe location. I posted an article in the Fall 2014 issue of News Leaks regarding specifications for PVC pipe tracer wire and its installation.

When it comes to ductile iron pipe, two serrated brass wedges should be installed at every push-on-joint. This allows for continuity ie; electrical path of current to flow across the bell joint. Most modern pipe locators use a very low electrical induced signal to trace water and sewer mains, and without creating a path along the pipe line for current to flow, the water main can not be traced out and located. One valid argument out there regarding wedging pipe joints has been the issue of stray current having the ability to travel down the pipe line, and of course that is always a possibility. However it is not as common in rural areas compared to metropolitan areas. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Stories from WaterPro 2015

Paul Sestito, Water/Wastewater Systems Specialist

On September 28-30 I, along with several members of the VRWA team, were fortunate enough to attend the 2015 State and National Rural Water Association's WaterPro Conference in Oklahoma City, OK. The main goal of the conference is to bring together national and state rural water personnel, large and small water and wastewater utilities, vendors, and industry experts and professionals from across the nation. The conference provides the opportunity for all attendees to network with other professionals in the industry, attend training sessions, and to see the latest and greatest products to serve our industry.

This year, we flew out and arrived in Oklahoma City on September 27th, greeted by sun and temperatures in the 80's-not too shabby! After we arrived, I quickly rushed to attend a training session being held for all rural water affiliate water/wastewater specialists. It was a great chance for me to learn from and share experiences with other rural water employees from across the country. I came away from the session with a great deal of information and was able to meet some great people dedicated to assisting water and wastewater systems.

The conference officially kicked off on the morning of the 28th. The opening session was titled Quality On Tap! Our Commitment, Our Profession. After a brief opening ceremony, we listened to a speech from NRWA President, Charles Hilton. In his speech. Mr. Hilton gave several examples of how rural water affiliates have worked hand-in-hand with utilities across the nation in various capacities.

Following the opening session, we were led to the official opening of the trade show floor by members of a local Native American tribe, dressed in traditional clothing. The members of the group played drums and sang traditional songs as we made our way into the exhibition hall and continued on as the trade show kicked off. Between songs, translations and stories about the songs were given to the watching crowd. When the performance was over, we made our way around the trade show floor. There were over one hundred vendors at the trade show, companies I have heard of and done business with, and some I have never heard of before. I chatted with many of the vendors and, yes, grabbed my fair share of pens and other handouts. There were products and equipment displayed that we all use every day like lab equipment, pumps, and valves, and things that remain on our wish list (Hey, who doesn't want a zero-turn lawnmower?)

The conference offered several training sessions, panel discussions, and even a tour of a local water treatment facility-which I took full advantage of. The tour was, for me, the highlight of the conference, even though there were a lot of great moments. We went by bus to the historic Overholser water treatment facility (one of the three treatment plants that serve Oklahoma City), which was built in the 1920's. The 27 MGD facility has undergone few changes over the years and is still to this day manually operated. It was quite a sight.

After the conference wrapped up, we made our way back home to Vermont. On the return flight, I had the opportunity to sit next to a water circuit rider from Hawaii. We talked a lot about our jobs and the satisfaction we get from helping others (or at least trying our best in some cases). We also talked about the climate in our states, which included the "S" word. That's right, SNOW! He explained to me that they do sometimes get snow at the higher elevations in Hawaii, and that he had a friend that once went snowboarding and surfing on the same day.

As we touched down in Burlington, I thought about the conference and what a great learning experience it was, and the terrific rural water people I met and hope to see again. I also thought about how lucky I am to work with such a dedicated group of operators here in Vermont. My final thought, however, was, "Snowboarding and surfing in the same day... must be nice!"

News on Tap

VRWA Annual Conference and Trade Show 2016

Mark your calendars and be sure to save the date for our 2016 conference and trade show event. We are looking forward to returning to the Lake Morey Resort on May 4 & 5, 2016. More information on registration for our associate contacts as well as individuals will be released soon.

Funding Opportunity Options for Your Community/System

USDA Vermont has State Allocation Funds available... part of a local pool and a less competitive application process! Please note the new funding cycle deadlines below.
  • Community Facility Loans and Grants Applications due by: January 8, 2016
  • Water and Environmental Loans and Grants Applications due by: January 29, 2016
  • National Pool for WEP and CF Loans and Grants Last Call for applications: April 15, 2016
Apply now and increase your chances at receiving USDA funding for essential services in your community. More Information:

Happy Holidays

Thank you to all of our member systems for another year of support. Thanks also to the associate members listed below. They support us, so please support them!

Aldrich + Elliott, PC
Allen Engineering & Chemical
Atlantic Pump & Engineering
Chlorinators Inc.
Clean Waters, Inc.
Clear Water Filtration
Coyne Chemical Environmental
Culligan Water
DN Tanks Eastern Analytical, Inc.
E.J. Prescott, Inc.
Efficiency Vermont
Endyne, Inc.
Engineering Ventures, PC
Environmental Compliance Svcs
EOS Research, Ltd.
F.R. Mahony & Associates
Ferguson Waterworks
Forcier Consulting Engineers
Ford Meter Box Company, Inc.
Green Mountain Engineering
Green Mountain Pipeline
HD Supply
Infiltrator Systems
Lincoln Applied Geology, Inc.
M&K Commercial Diving
Marble Valley Engineering
Methuen Construction Co.
Mueller Company
Northeast Pump & Instrument
Otter Creek Engineering, Inc.
Phelps Engineering, Inc.
Pittsburg Tank & Tower Co.
PurposeEnergy, Inc.
Ruggles Engineering Services
Slack Chemical Co
Statewide Aquastore
Sullivan Associates
TPW Management
USA BlueBook
Utility Service Co., Inc.
Vellano Corporation
Vermont Campground Association
Vermont State Housing Authority
Water Specialties Co.
Weston & Sampson
Workplace Safety Solutions, Inc.


Sept 24 2015

This letter is being written to in appreciation for all the help North Country Engineering has received from Paul Sestito and Liz Royer of the VT Rural Water Association in becoming compiant and registerd as a Non-Transient, Non-Community Water System. North Country Engineering as identified as a NTNC water source in November of 2014 thru an inspection made by the VT Dept of Environmental Conservation.
The estimated cost to become compliant was between $45,000 and $70,000, most of this cose was for hiring a consultant to find a Licensed operator, identify, write, train and implement the necessary procedures.
With the help of Paul and Liz all of this was accomplished and translated into a $40, 000 Savings to North Country Engineering.
Paul and Liz continue to help out with support and guidance as we still have to design and install a back-up Chlorination treatment system.


Tom Bronson G/M
North Country Engineering Inc

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