Newsletter #19 for January/February 2015
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Free, Web-Based O&M Training

To serve as a resource for small rural systems including tribes, Alaska Native Villages, and territories, EPA has developed a series of Web-based training modules on maintaining and operating small wastewater and drinking water treatment systems. This information is geared toward system operators and managers in Indian country, and could be of benefit to anyone operating and maintaining a small water or wastewater system. Here's a full catalog of the available on-demand training modules: 

Sewer System Overview - This module provides an overview of the basic wastewater treatment process, from primary treatment to disinfection and sludge removal. The second half of the module focuses on maintenance of collection systems.

Mathematics Overview - This module provides an overview basic mathematics for water and wastewater operators preparing for a level one and level two operator certification exam, or as a general review of practical math applications.

Lift Station Overview - This module focuses on all aspects of lift stations from pumps, to operation and maintenance, to emergency planning and troubleshooting.

Overview of Lagoon System Management - This module focuses on wastewater lagoon functions (both aerobic and anaerobic), lagoon performance, sampling and analysis of lagoons, and operation and maintenance of lagoons.

Decentralized Wastewater Systems - This module includes such topics as system inspection, system maintenance, and "things to avoid" for septic tanks. The module provides an overview of decentralized wastewater treatment and processes and includes a special look at innovative decentralized technologies and "best practices" for managing onsite systems.

Providing and Protecting Potable Water - This module provides an overview of surface water systems, groundwater systems, and source water protection concepts.  Additional topics include: wellhead protection, sources and types of water contamination, and water treatment options.

Drinking Water Distribution System Management - This module provides an overview of hydrant, pipe, and valve maintenance, and concludes with a special focus on corrosion and chlorine residual.

Storage Tank Management - This module covers storage tank inspections and maintenance and provides safety information for both tasks.

Asset Management Overview - How do you inventory and manage your water system or wastewater system assets?  This module covers asset management for long-term infrastructure stability and financial sustainability.

Techniques for Developing a Rate Structure - This module covers the "how" and the "why" of developing rate structures that will fully support long-term utility operations.

Water and Wastewater Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Case Studies - This module highlights lessons learned from: 1) accidental contamination of a water system, 2) chemical contamination at a water treatment plant, 3) sewerage collection overflow, and 4) operation of an "alternative" onsite wastewater system.
Access the O&M Training Modules

Upcoming NAWMA Meetings

The Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), and the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) are working together to provide training and technical assistance through existing and newly-formed Native American Water Masters Associations (NAWMAs).

The purpose of NAWMA meetings is to provide a forum for training and discussion on regulations, technologies, and issues facing tribal water utilities. There is no cost for membership to this professional organization, which is open to all individuals working with tribally-owned and operated water utilities meeting US EPA program guidelines.

February 25, 2015 - Tish Non Community Center, Loleta, CA
March 4, 2015 - Sac & Fox Learning Center, Stroud, OK
March 10-11, 2015 - TBD, Yankton, SD
March 18, 2015 - Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino, Lemoore, CA

March 25, 2015 - North Phoenix Valley Campus of NAU, Phoenix, AZ 
March 31, 2015 - Blue Water Casino & Resort, Parker, AZ
April 22, 2015 - Sandia Pueblo Tribal Police Training Room, Sandia Pueblo, NM
April 23, 2015 - TBD, Breezy Point, MN
May 12, 2015 - TBD, Bemidji, MN
May 20, 2015 - TBD, Leech Lake Tribe, MN
June 16, 2015 - TBD, Shakopee, MN
July 22-23, 2015 - TBD, Black Hills Area, SD
August 4, 2015 - TBD, White Earth, MN 
See NAWMA Meeting Details

Additional Events for Tribal Water Systems

Southwest Regional Native American Leadership Forum
March 2-3, 2015 (Phoenix, AZ)
Hosted by Native Nation Events

At the Tribal Leadership Solution Summit you will gain insight, practical skills and learn best practice solutions on meeting your tribal leader challenges head on. Includes live demonstrations, activities, and presentations. See page linked above for agenda. | Click here for more information.

Environmental Management & Planning for Tribal Professionals
March 30 - April 12, 2015 (online)
Hosted by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

Provides environmental professionals with tools and resources to develop tribally specific, cohesive environmental plans for effective implementation. The courses and modules will be delivered through NAU’s online learning system. | Click here for more information.
Want to find additional training opportunities for operators,
including events in your area?
Search the Training Calendar

Featured Resource

Business Planning for Rural Utilities
Alaska Department of Community & Economic Development

The goal of this template and guidebook is to allow a community to develop its own business plan in an easy to follow and logical format that will also satisfy each funding agency’s requirements for a project business plan. 

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

In the News

Small Tribe, Big River: Isleta Eyes Pollution In The Rio Grande
The Pueblo of Isleta is bordered on one side by Kirtland Air Force Base and on another by Albuquerque. Residents say pollution from their neighbors has contaminated the river they consider to be sacred.

EPA protects central Arizona tribal lands by requiring safe handling of hazardous waste and pesticides
The U.S. EPA recently fined Triax Turbine Components for violations of the hazardous waste law and, in a separate action, Hill Brothers Chemical Company for violations of pesticides law. 

EPA Decision: Maine Water Quality Standards Inadequate for Tribal Waters
In a decision that is being welcomed as "historic" by Maine Indian tribes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has asked the state of Maine to revise some water quality standards for tribal waters.

Related:  EPA ruling on water quality standards could cost towns millions
New mandate could result in towns and others with discharge permits each having to spend millions of dollars on upgrades within the next five years

One Woman’s Mission to Uplift the Impoverished Pine Ridge Reservation
The average household income is $3,500 a year. About 60 percent of the homes have no water or electricity. Babies are dying at a rate higher than anywhere else in the world.

Native American tribes unite to fight the Keystone pipeline and government 'disrespect'
The Keystone XL pipeline may have divided advocates and lawmakers in Washington, but the controversial project has also united a wide group of Native American tribes whose lands the pipes would cross.

Who Can Save the Grand Canyon?
A holy war is being fought over a proposal to build a $500 million commercial development, on the rim of America's natural treasure. is a free service, grant-funded to support small community water and wastewater operators with comprehensive resources and information in one easy-to-use place. We also serve the 800+ training, primacy, and technical service organizations, by helping operators get to their information. We aren't buying, selling, or advertising anything. You can call us at 1-866-522-2681 if you need assistance.

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Collaboration Toolkit: Protecting Drinking Water Sources through Agricultural Conservation Practices
New source water protection toolkit aids collaboration between water systems and landowners.

Start Planning Your Water Conservation Program With This Toolbox
This free toolbox helps utilities get started on their water conservation planning.

Free Videos Offered by WEF
Video resources offer operators a chance to catch presentations at a convenient time.

Gimmicks and Gadgets Give Operations a Boost
Gimmicks and Gadgets competitions give us a glimpse of clever solutions to everyday O&M problems.

Helping Out At Home
Don't overlook opportunities right in front of you to share your passion for water.
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