Newsletter #157 for February 3, 2016
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What We Can Learn from Flint

It’s not often that drinking water gets in-depth news coverage and front page headlines, and many of us are sad that it happened this way. The story of Flint, Michigan’s drinking water crisis has unfolded over nearly two years, but the national media attention escalated rapidly in the past month.

There’s no role for blame because we’ve all lost on this one. And when you go beyond the issues of oversight, social justice, and politics, there’s a story about the challenging decisions that operators, utility managers, and local government officials make day-to-day. These jobs have always been hard, but we now have an opportunity to grow, change, and do better. 

This could have happened anywhere, but it doesn’t have to happen in your community. Click here for information on what operators and others in the industry can learn from Flint. 

Still Time to Share Your Thoughts

Take our short survey to tell us help us deliver useful information and resources in 2016. The survey is anonymous and will only take a few minutes. 

Click here to take the survey.  

EPA Awards Training and Technical Assistance Grants

U.S. EPA has awarded $12.7 million in funds available through Congressional appropriations for projects related to technical capacity, financial and managerial training and assistance, wastewater training and assistance, and private well owners education and outreach.

Through our collaboration with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), these awards will allow us to continue and expand resources in the years to come. In addition to keeping our documents database and events calendar up-to-date and providing regular newsletters and blog posts, we will be interviewing technical experts, making existing RCAP videos accessible to native Spanish speakers, and more. Watch for updates here and on our blog

Click here for a complete list of awardees

2016 Brings a Big CUPSS Update

U.S. EPA rang in 2016 with several updates and new events for the Check Up Program for Small Systems (CUPSS). A new website provides background information, training resources, and answers to frequently asked questions. And the software itself has been updated to include an Asset Plus Costs report that allows users to view asset details and associated operations and maintenance costs. 

To help users get the most from CUPSS, EPA will host Train-the-Trainer webinars throughout the year. The 6-hour presentations—divided into three 2-hour sessions—will include an overview of each module and hands-on exercises. The webinar will be offered March 1, 8, and 15 and September 14, 21, and 28 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm Eastern. 

Click here for more information and to access the software.

Recently at 

Operator Math Part 1: Practical Guidelines
Follow these underlying guidelines to help ensure your answer is correct regardless of the calculation you’re working on.

Operator Math Part 2: Online Tools and Apps
These free tools and apps geared toward water and wastewater professionals put math solutions literally at your fingertips. 

Welcome to
Read a message from program manager Steve Wilson about why has become

Free Webinar

Introduction to Sustainable Utility Management for Small and Rural Water and Wastewater Systems 
Thursday, February 18 at 2:00 pm Central
Hosted by the National Rural Water Association  

This webinar will provide an introduction to Sustainable Utility Management and provide information on the 10 key management areas. The presentation will also include information to help address small water and wastewater system management concerns and improve system operations.

Click here for more information.
Want to find additional training opportunities for operators,
including events in your area?
Search the Training Calendar

Free Resource

Communicating the Value of Water
Groundwater Foundation

This 1-hour webinar will provide an overview of a project that developed guidance and tools to help effectively communicate the value of water. The project defined the interests of utility leaders, customers, special interest groups, elected and appointed officials, and other stakeholders and placed those interests in the context of a utility-specific Communications Plan and a model for creating such a plan. 

Click here to download.
Have a different question?
You can find thousands of helpful resources in our database.
Search the Document Database

Featured Video: Concord Water Treatment Process

This short video, produced by the City of Concord, New Hampshire's General Services Department, is a great example of how utilities can educate the public about their water treatment process without breaking the bank. Even simple videos can foster greater trust in your system and staff and help the public and media put future bad news—line breaks, sewer spills, etc—in context. 

Click here to watch the video
Have a great video? We're dedicated to bringing you helpful, entertaining, or inspiring videos to you. If your organization has a relevant video to share, let us know!

Share This

Warm tap water can contain higher lead levels. When lead is a concern, drink & cook w/ cold. More lead safety tips:


Share This offers useful or interesting information that can be shared with the public and other stakeholders.

Reading Selections

Heroic Wastewater Workers to the Rescue During Flood
With nearly three feet of water blocking the road to Murphysboro, Illinois' sewage treatment plant, four employees boated in and out of work to ensure the plant remained functional. 

GAO Looks at Asset Management
The Government Accountability Office has published a report that looks at water utilities' use of asset management with a special focus on smaller systems. 

Johnston, Iowa to Receive WaterCARE Assistance from EPA to Invest in Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure Planning
U.S. EPA has awarded a total of $500,000 to support efforts to develop resilient water infrastructure finance strategies in 10 communities across the country. 

Peel Region Expected to Vote on Removing Fluoride from Drinking Water
Officials in Peel, Ontario are asking why the responsibility for fluoridation is being left to municipalities. 

City Council to Consider Nearly $4 Million for Drinking Water Projects
Ellsworth, Maine officials are considering a bond to pay for improvements to the city's drinking water infrastructure, most of which would go to repaying a State Revolving Fund loan. 
Did you miss our last newsletter? Click here to view the archive.

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