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ASDWA Posts Latest NCWS Webinar Recording

If you were not able to participate in the December 2nd EPA webinar entitled, “New Technology to Reach and Regulate Non-community Water Systems”, ASDWA has just posted the recording of that event.  You can access a video recording and download the slide deck from the webinar at www.asdwa.org/noncommunitysystems.

The webinar featured four presenters – Curtis Stoehr (ID), Colt Smith (UT), Steve Wilson (University of Illinois), and Vern Steel (Rural Water Association of Utah) who all spoke about different tools that can help manage data and information related to NCWS as well as other small systems.  This is the third in EPA’s NCWS webinar series.

Idaho:  Curtis Stoehr showcased his state’s AutoDialer and PWS Switchboard tool.  In an effort to improve system performance in the “failure to monitor” arena, staff in one of the state’s regions had been calling each system to remind them of their various monitoring schedules (ranging from monthly to once every 9 years).  While this appeared to be resource intensive “up front,” it actually was more cost and time effective than taking the traditional reactive approach to a violation that could become very time consuming and expensive.  Building on the basic concept, the state drinking water program was able to purchase an autodialer system for around $3,000 and worked with the state’s IT department to devise an approach that would capture the monitoring schedule for every system in the state and deliver reminders both by phone and email.  Initially, the program (begun in 2010) focused on chemical monitoring but has been expanded to include other significant deficiencies and, just this week, public notification.  Since 2010, the state has seen a 47% reduction in failure to monitor violations.

Utah:  Colt Smith spoke on effective use of Google Forms. The drinking water program, which switched to a Google platform several years ago, is working on using a Google-based template for Level 1 RTCR assessments that mirrors the guidance examples from EPA.  Utilities can directly submit the data via Google which then creates spreadsheets that can be downloaded in various formats like Excel and CSV.  Using Google Forms works well for SDWIS as long as essential data is entered precisely the same way each time.  As a next step, Utah is expecting to use Google Forms for Lead & Copper and seasonal startup system data.  They also want to have operators review the process to ensure that it is “operator friendly” for small system users.

Private Well Class:  Steve Wilson explained the approach to provide 10 self-paced lessons on private well management starting with the hydrologic cycle and groundwater flow and running through to well construction and locating a well. With more than 13 million private wells in the U.S., this online training is much needed.  Users work through one online lesson per week on topics like why well maintenance is important, how wells work, and how to use the offered information to protect the owner from risk.  Proposed next steps for this effort include developing video and audio lessons; hosting 5 or 6 Q&A webinars (one to be in Spanish); develop a contact list for states and tribes; and creating a separate web page and hotline.

Rural Water Association of Utah:  Vern Steel spoke about a web app (Canvas Mobile App) that his organization uses to collect data in the field that responds to deficiency corrections as part of the sanitary survey process.  They have synced up with UT DEQ to make sure that they share the same info in the same format.  The Canvas app captures pictures, provides GPS locations, and includes fillable forms.  The app is designed to use all the same required fields as UT DEQ.  At present, it is only in use in Utah.  Other Rural Water affiliates are aware of it but have not chosen to use it in their states.