Features. In Every Issue. Tear-Out Insert. 16 Acing the Test: How to Prepare for. 21 Rehabilitation of Colonias Continues

Drinking Water News & Information for America’s Small Communities 21 16 21 25 28 16 Features Acing the Test: How to Prepare for an Operator Cer...
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Drinking Water News & Information for America’s Small Communities

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Features Acing the Test: How to Prepare for an Operator Certification Exam

by Kathy Jesperson

Wi n t e r 2 0 0 8 , Vo l . 7 , I s s u e 4

In Every Issue 6 7 12 14

Rehabilitation of Colonias Continues by Caigan M. McKenzie

33 37 38

25 28

10 Steps to Great Training by Frederick J. Cowie, Ph.D.

Drought: What’s a Private Well Owner to Do? by Cliff Treyens

Calendar of Events News and Notes On the Web Ask the Experts Products List Fun Time Until Next Time

Tear-Out Insert Tech Brief

Basic Water and Wastewater Formulas Operators obtaining or maintaining their certification must be able to calculate complex formulas and conversion factors. This Tech Brief presents some basic examples of some of these formulas and conversion factors.

by Kathy Jesperson

www.nesc.wvu.edu 3

Drinking Water News and Information for America’s Small Communities

Winter 2008 • Volume 7 • Issue 4 Sponsored by USDA Rural Development James Andrew, Administrator Lorrie Davis, RUS Loan Specialist Rural Development USDA’s Rural Development Utilities Service strives to serve a leading role in improving the quality of life in rural America by administering its electric, telecommunications, and water and waste programs in a service-oriented, forward-looking, and financially responsible manner. Founded in 1947 as the Farmer’s Home Administration, Rural Development has provided more than $35 billion for water and wastewater projects. For more information, visit their Web site at www.usda.gov/rus/. The National Environmental Services Center The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) is a nonprofit organization providing technical assistance and information about drinking water, wastewater, infrastructure security, utility system management, solid waste, and environmental training to communities serving fewer than 10,000 people. To achieve this mission, NESC offers a toll-free technical assistance hotline, hundreds of low-cost or free products, magazines and newsletters, and several searchable databases. We also sponsor conferences, workshops, and seminars. Visit the NESC Web site at www.nesc.wvu.edu or call toll-free (800) 6248301and request an information packet. NESC is located at West Virginia University, one of the nation’s major doctoral-granting, research institutions. ISSN 1061-9291 Printed on Recycled Paper

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution

Some images in this issue © 2003-07, www.ClipArt.com and www.photos.com.

Reprint Policy Permission to quote from or reproduce content in this publication is granted when due acknowledgement is given. Please contact the editor (see page 5) and report where and when the article was used. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Rural Development Utilities Service nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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On Tap Winter 2008

Have you ever had a dream where you’re about to take a test and when the instructor hands it to you it’s in a language you can’t read? According to the Web site Dream Moods, exam dreams are very common and, not surprisingly, indicate feelings of anxiety and the stress of being scrutinized. If you’re having these dreams lately, perhaps it’s because you’re getting ready to take an operator certification test. If so, this issue of On Tap may be just what you need. In the cover story,“Acing the Test: How to Prepare for an Operator Certification Exam,” Associate Editor Kathy Jesperson provides some excellent suggestions about how to prepare for these kinds of tests. In the Tech Brief this time, Zane Satterfield reviews formulas and calculations that water operators frequently use and that also appear on certification exams. Familiarity is usually a good antidote to stress. Elsewhere, Caigan McKenzie takes a look at the situation in small communities along the U.S.–Mexico border and, in particular, what Texas has done to improve conditions there. If you are involved in environmental training, Fred Cowie’s article “10 Steps to Great Training” distills 30 years of instructional experience down to one short article.

Who We Are A number of people are responsible for putting On Tap magazine together each quarter.We encourage our readers to contact us with ideas and suggestions. An e-mail address is provided for each staff member below, as well as their phone extension. Call our main number toll free at (800) 624-8301 and enter the appropriate extension at the prompt.

On Tap Staff Dr. Richard Bajura [email protected] Clement Solomon [email protected]

Program Director Phone extension: 5566

Mary Stewart [email protected]

Senior Program Administrator Phone extension: 5511

Mark Kemp-Rye [email protected]

We’re pleased to have another article from Cliff Treyens, public awareness director with the National Ground Water Association. His article last year about maintaining private wells was very popular with On Tap readers and the latest installment,“Drought: What’s a Private Well Owner to Do?” promises to be just as well received. I owe Cliff an apology: In the previous article we referred to his organization as a foundation and not an association. Fortunately, he has forgiven me for this error. On a more positive note, we are the very pleased recipients of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The money will fund SMART About Water, a source water and wellhead protection project lead by NESC in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). The project will provide training and technical assistance about source water and wellhead protection to small and rural communities over the next 18 months and will focus on untreated wastewater from failing septic and sewer systems, the largest contributor to water quality degradation. Look for more information about SMART About Water in On Tap and on the NESC Web site (www.nesc.wvu.edu).

Interim Executive Director Phone extension: 5514

Kathy Jesperson [email protected] John Fekete [email protected]

Editor and Interim Communications Director Phone extension: 5523 Associate Editor Phone extension: 5533 Senior Project Coordinator, Graphics Phone extension: 5505

Jamie Bouquot [email protected]

Graphic Designer Phone extension: 5397

Julie Black [email protected]

Web Developer Phone extension: 5503

Zane Satterfield [email protected]

Engineering Scientist Phone extension: 5393

Sheila Anderson [email protected]

Administrative Associate Phone extension: 5517

Caigan McKenzie [email protected]

Writer and Proofreader Phone extension: 5525

Marilyn Noah [email protected]

Writer and Copy Editor Phone extension: 5586

Regards, Mark Kemp-Rye Editor www.nesc.wvu.edu 5

MAY American Backflow Prevention Association International Conference and Trade Show May 19–21, 2008 Sheraton Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN Phone: (979) 846-7606 Fax: (979) 846-7607 E-mail: [email protected] www.abpa.org

JULY National Association of Counties Annual Conference and Exhibition July 11–15, 2008 Kansas City, MO Phone: (202) 393-6226 Fax: (202) 393-2630 www.naco.org Photo courtesy of www-cgsc.army.mil

JUNE National Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition June 22–24, 2008 Tuscon, AZ Phone: (303) 756-9090 Fax: (303) 691-9490 www.neha.org American Water Works Association Annual Conference and Exposition June 8–12, 2008 Georgia World Congress Center Atlanta, GA Phone: (800) 926-7337 or (303) 794-7711 Fax: (303) 347-0804 www.awwa.org/ace08/

AUGUST American Public Works Association Annual Conference August 17–20, 2008 Ernest N. Morial Convention Center New Orleans, LA Phone: (800) 848-2792 or (816) 595-5241 Fax: (816) 472-1610 E-mail: [email protected] www.apwa.net

OCTOBER Annual National Rural Water Association Convention October 5–8, 2008 Reno, NV Contact: Dawn Meyers Phone: (580) 252-0629 Fax: (580) 255-4476 www.nrwa.org

Sponsoring an event? If you are sponsoring a water-related event and want to have it listed in this calendar, please send information to Mark Kemp-Rye, National Environmental Services Center, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 6064, Morgantown, WV 26506-6064.You also may call Mark at (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191 ext. 5523 or e-mail him at [email protected]

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Association of State Drinking Water Administrators Annual Conference and Exposition October 19–23, 2008 Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs, CO Contact: Tom Maves Phone: (202) 293-7655 Fax: (202) 293-7656 www.asdwa.org

America’s infrastructure is failing. When a bridge collapses—such as the tragic example in Minnesota last year—it makes the national news. But the country’s crumbling infrastructure is also happening out of sight with our drinking water and wastewater systems. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers has given these systems a grade of “D–” in their latest Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. How can we, as a society, make the massive investment needed to upgrade our aging and overused water infrastructure? One of the first steps is to educate people about the value of water and wastewater systems. Staff members from NESC’s communications and technical assistance units have been working with Penn State Public Broadcasting on Liquid Assets, a public awareness initiative about the condition of the nation’s water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. Liquid Assets includes a 90-minute documentary for national public television, combined with outreach materials designed to inspire community engagement. Exploring the history, engineering challenges, and political and economic realities, the documentary—slated for broadcast in Fall 2008—provides an understanding of the hidden assets that support our way of life. Visit the Liquid Assets Web site at www.liquidassets.psu.edu to learn more about this project.

Just as periodic checks of furnaces and smoke detectors are recommended, so is an annual water well checkup. Spring is a good time to have this done before the peak water-use season begins. As part of its annual Ground Water Awareness Week promotion, the National Ground Water Association stresses the importance of yearly water testing and well maintenance. For more information, visit the NGWA Web site at www.ngwa.org.

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Talking to Your Customers To help community water systems better communicate with the public, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has produced a fact sheet titled, “Talking to Your Customers about Chronic Contaminants,” described as a best practices guide. Chronic contaminants are those that can cause health effects after continuous long-term exposure. This fact sheet discusses the importance of communicating with the public about these contaminants, both regulated and unregulated. Also described are the most effective strategies for getting the message out. The fact sheet is available as a pdf file at www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/pdfs/fs_contaiminants_chronic_talkingtocustomers.pdf (use web address as shown) or by writing to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resource Center (RC-4100), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20460.

Cities Suspend Fluoridation due to Shortage Fluoride, the chemical that is added to drinking water to prevent tooth decay, has recently become scarce and expensive. In response, some major cities have stopped using the additive. The shortage is being blamed on damage from Hurricane Katrina to processing plants, a downturn in the phosphate mining industry, and shutdowns of some U.S. suppliers. According to the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association Bulletin, cities such as New Orleans, Louisiana; Portland, Maine; and Greensboro, North Carolina have reported shortages or have had to temporarily suspend water fluoridation.

Florida Urges People to ‘Give up the Bottle’ With 85 percent of plastic water bottles ending up as garbage or litter, and local water being cheaper and better for the earth, municipal leaders, public health officials, and environmentalists in the Sunshine State are trying to persuade the public to drink tap water instead of the fancy bottled stuff. According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, Florida buys more bottled water than any state except Texas and California. Ever since the Earth Policy Institute drew attention to the 1.5 million barrels of oil a year it takes to satisfy U.S. demand for bottled water, pressure from environmental agencies has been huge to reduce this demand. Florida cities are trying to discourage people from buying all those plastic bottles and instead, to turn to their local tap for that refreshing drink of water. To learn more about bottled water compared to tap water, visit the Earth Policy Institute Web site at www.earth-policy.org.

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On Tap Winter 2008

Removing Endocrine Disruptors from Drinking Water The American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) has published a report on special treatment methods that have the potential for removing endocrine disrupting compounds from drinking water. These contaminants have been detected at low concentrations in water bodies around the world and are implicated in hormone imbalances and reproductive issues in wildlife who come in contact with them. This new report indicates that ultraviolet technology, in combination with low levels of hydrogen peroxide to create advanced oxidation conditions, can be an effective treatment to break down several EDCs. The report, Tools to Detect Estrogenicity in Environmental Waters is available on the AWWARF Web site at www.awwarf.org.

High-efficiency Faucets Under Development The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the development of a draft specification for high-efficiency bathroom sink faucets and faucet accessories (such as aerators and laminar flow devices) to receive the WaterSense label. The WaterSense label indicates products that are at least 20 percent more efficient than conventional models. The proposed flow rate for these new faucets is set at 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm), a 32 percent reduction from the standard bathroom sink faucet flow rate of 2.2 gpm. Learn more about the WaterSense program on EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/watersense/.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Benjamin Franklin famously stated more than 250 years ago. This simple philosophy informs a new environmental project—SMART About Water—designed to protect drinking water quality. Funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, SMART About Water is being orchestrated by West Virginia University’s National Environmental Services Center (NESC) in partnership with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). The project will provide training and technical assistance about source water and wellhead protection to small and rural communities over the next 18 months and will focus on untreated wastewater from failing septic and sewer systems, the largest contributor to water quality degradation. Although water quality has improved in the three decades since passage of the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts, pollution problems linger. Previous efforts concentrated on reducing pointsource pollution, such as from industrial sites. Water quality issues now are related to the cumulative effect of nonpoint source pollution—untreated wastewater, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and roadway pollutants—that impact the physical, chemical, and biological health of nearby waters.

www.nesc.wvu.edu 9

Managing the Mighty Mississippi A recent report from the National Research Council encourages the 10 states along the river corridor to work together to manage the Mississippi River’s water quality. Greater effort is needed to ensure that the river is being monitored and evaluated as a single system. Pollution from nonpoint sources, mainly nutrients and sediments that enter the river through runoff, are the major concerns. The report, sponsored by the McKnight Foundation of Minneapolis, encourages the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with states to develop a federal total maximum daily load for the nutrient pollutants in the river and the northern regions of the Gulf of Mexico. The report also recommends that EPA work more closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce harmful runoff from agriculture. Copies of Mississippi River Water Quality and the Clean Water Act: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities can be found online at www.nap.edu or by writing to the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street NW, Washington DC, 20001. Water levels in the Great Lakes are falling. Lake Ontario, for example, is approximately seven inches below where it was a year ago. And for every inch of water that the lakes lose, the ships that move bulk materials across them must lighten their loads by 270 tons—or risk running aground, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association, a trade group for United States-flag cargo companies. As a result, more ships are needed, adding millions of dollars to shipping companies’ operating costs. According to Richard Stewart, director of the Transportation and Logistics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin– Superior, when a ship leaves the dock not filled to capacity, it’s the same as a plane leaving an airport with empty seats. It cuts into their earning capacity. Because it is raw materials that are affected, the average consumer may see an increase in pennies for such items as new cars or a washing machine but the major manufacturers will see a significant increase in transportation costs. Most environmental researchers say that low precipitation, mild winters, and high evaporation (due largely to lack of heavy ice cover) are depleting the lakes. In the past two years, evaporation has been higher than average, and not enough rain and snow have fallen in the lakes to restore the system to its normal levels. An International Joint Commission, which advises the U.S. and Canada on water resources, is conducting a $17 million, five-year study to determine whether the shrinking of the Great Lakes is related to the seasonal rise-and-fall cycles or is result of climate change. A final report is expected in March 2012. Learn more about the Transportation and Logistics Research Center by visiting their Web site at www2.uwsuper.edu/ trans/index.htm. Learn more about the International Joint Commission on their Web site at www.ijc.org. 10

On Tap Winter 2008

China’s Growth Outstripping Water Supply China’s rampant economic expansion is pushing the country toward a water crisis. Water pollution is a problem nationwide while water scarcity has worsened—even as demand keeps rising. Surprisingly, this huge country only has about 7 percent of the world’s water, but roughly 20 percent of its population. While China is scouring the world for oil, natural gas, and minerals, these trade deals cannot solve its water problems. A recent article in the New York Times reports that China’s water usage has quintupled since 1969.While cities like Beijing and Tianjin have active water conservation policies, the overall national government’s policy emphasizes growth. And a typical industry in China uses three to 10 times more water than a similar industry in a developed nation. Water pollution is so widespread that a major incident occurs every day. Municipal and industrial dumping has left sections of many rivers almost toxic. Studies show that roughly three-quarters of the region’s entire aquifer system is now suffering some level of contamination. While a new water pollution law is under consideration and multinational wastewater treatment companies are being recruited to help deal with the wastewater problem, it appears that tough choices lie ahead for this world power.

The Rural Development Utilities Service (RDUS) recently announced interest rates for water and wastewater loans. RDUS interest rates are issued quarterly at three different levels: the poverty line rate, the intermediate rate, and the market rate. Each has specific qualification criteria. The rates, which apply to all loans issued from January 1 through March 31, 2008, are: poverty line: 4.5 percent (unchanged from the previous quarter);

intermediate: 4.375 percent (down 0.125 from the previous quarter); and

market: 4.375 percent (down 0.25 from the previous quarter). RDUS loans are administered through state Rural Development offices, which can provide specific information concerning RDUS loan requirements and applications procedures. For the phone number of your state Rural Development office, contact the National Environmental Services Center at (800) 624-8301 or (304) 293-4191. The list is also available on the Rural Development Web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.

Ground Water Report to the Nation “Water demand, quality, and quantity are matters of national urgency. If we don’t act now, we risk degrading and jeopardizing the future health and well-being of our citizens, our economy, and our ecological systems,” states the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) in the Ground Water Report to the Nation: A Call to Action. The report is divided into nine different topics: use and availability, monitoring, source water, land use, stormwater, underground storage tanks, onsite wastewater, underground injection control, and abandoned mines. Each section presents a key message about the specific topic, how the topic matters to ground water. Case studies of efforts to mediate the problem, associated federal and local activities and regulations are described. Separate summary sheets are included for each topic as well as an illustrated, full-color poster depicting detailed groundwater interactions. The report may be downloaded from the GWPC Web site at www.gwpc.org/calltoaction/.

Trading Water as a Commodity? Recently an executive of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that water could become a commodity as droughts and demand increase pressure on river systems and water tables. Trading water as a commodity would put financial pressure on users to keep consumption down in the same way that carbon emission trading penalizes the biggest polluters. A water future would be an agreement to buy or sell a certain number of gallons of water at a pre-agreed price on a future date and would be used to hedge against risk. If a farmer wanted to protect himself against rising water prices, he would buy futures to cover the amount of water he thinks he will need. Climate change is one of the factors contributing to the uncertainties surrounding water supplies. Worldwide, the rising demand for food production is also causing increased water consumption. For more information about water as a commodity, visit the International Water Management Institute’s Web site at www.iwmi.cgiar.org.

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The Groundwater Foundation www.groundwater.org The Groundwater Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing the public about one of our greatest hidden resources, groundwater. Since 1985, the foundation’s programs and publications present the benefits everyone receives from groundwater and the risks that threaten groundwater quality. The foundation makes learning about groundwater fun and understandable for kids and adults alike. For more information about the Groundwater Foundation, write to them at The Groundwater Foundation, P.O. Box 22558, Lincoln, NE 68542-2558. You may also call them at (800) 8584844 or e-mail them at [email protected]

www.nesc.wvu.edu A new year often prompts people to make changes. At the National Environmental Services Center, we greeted 2008 by launching a new and improved Web site. In development for more than a year, the new site features better access to NESC information and new features to help our Web visitors get the water, wastewater, and environmental training information they need. “We wanted to rearrange the information we’ve been amassing since the early 1990s in a way that would make sense to our customers,” says Julie Black, NESC web designer. “At the same time, we still wanted to retain the valuable services provided by our key programs, the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse, the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, and the National Environmental Training Center for Small Communities. We believe that the new site not only looks better but that users will be able to find what they need more easily.” The new NESC site features access to our various publications, free and low-cost products, databases, and information about different water and wastewater topics. 12

On Tap Winter 2008

EPA’s U.S.–Mexico Borders Program www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/ The U.S.–Mexico Environmental Program is a collaboration between the United States and Mexico to improve the environment and protect the health of the nearly 12 million people living along the border. The bi-national program focuses on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and ensuring emergency preparedness along the U.S.–Mexico border. The site has information about various workgroups, projects, meetings, and policies. Included are a bi-national directory and a discussion about how the program tracks and measures progress.

National Ground Water Association www.ngwa.org The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) employs groundwater experts from a variety of fields, such as geologists and hydrologists, engineers, groundwater contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers of groundwater-related products and services. The organization’s purpose is to provide guidance to members, government representatives, and the public for sound scientific, economic, and beneficial development, protection, and management of the world’s groundwater resources. NGWA hosts educational courses and conferences on cutting-edge technology throughout the U.S. They publish three national publications, Water Well Journal, Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation, and Ground Water. NGWA also maintains Ground Water OnLine, a database containing more than 87,000 groundwater literature citations. For more information, write to NGWA, 601 Dempsey Road, Westerville, Ohio, 43081 or call (800) 551-7379.

Tips for Taking Tests www.cv.cc.va.us/Student%20Services/Tools%20For%20Success/Tests.asp If you’re getting ready to sit for your operator certification exam, you may want to check out Central Virginia Community College’s Web pages devoted to successfully taking tests. The site covers a number of topics, including suggestions for getting ready for tests, what to do during tests, and advice about different kinds of tests. Also included are tips for other concerns such as stress management, diet, and exercise.

Ground Water Protection Council www.gwpc.org The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) is a national association of state groundwater and underground injection control agencies whose mission is to promote groundwater protection and conservation. Further, the council recognizes groundwater as a critical component of the ecosystem. GWPC provides a forum for stakeholder communication and research to improve governments’ role in groundwater protection and conservation. For more information, write to the Ground Water Protection Council, 13308 N. MacArthur, Oklahoma City, OK 73142. You may also call them at (405) 516-4972 or e-mail them at [email protected]

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Each issue, we ask members of the On Tap Editorial Advisory Board to answer a drinking water-related question.We then print as many responses as space permits. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of NESC.

Lisa Raysby Hardcastle, P.E. Contractor,VERSAR, Inc Fort Lewis Public Works

Editorial Advisory Board Jerry Biberstine Senior Environmental Engineer National Rural Water Association Jenny Bielanski Drinking Water Utilities Team Leader EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water Rodney Coker Tribal Utility Consultant (Retired) Indian Health Service Mark Coyne Associate Professor University of Kentucky Frank DeOrio Director of Municipal Utilities Auburn, NY Kevin Kundert President and Chief Instructional Systems Mechanic eTRAIN ONLINE, Inc. Z. Michael Lahlou, Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineer Huntington Beach, CA Lori B. Libby Senior Project Manager Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs Miami University of Ohio Babu Madabhushi, Ph.D. Project Engineer URS Corporation Miami Springs, FL Dale Ralston President Ralston Hydrologic Services Moscow, ID Lisa Raysby Hardcastle, P.E. Contractor, VERSAR, Inc Fort Lewis Public Works Fort Lewis, Washington Jay Rutherford, P.E. Water Supply Division Director Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Q:

If you knew someone who was preparing to take his or her first operator certification exam, what advice would you offer?

Study, Study, Study Each state certification office has a list of references that they suggest be studied for each exam and will usually provide a list of sample questions so that the student can get a feel for what the test will be like. The applicant should know what discipline he will be seeking certification in: water or wastewater, collection or distribution, industrial, and possibly even what size system he wants to work in. It is important to contact the state in which you are going to take the test. Each state has its own criteria, its own test questions, and its own area of expertise for a given level of test. It is also important for the applicant to have a good summary of his work experience and training pertaining to the type of certification that he wishes to take. Application requirements differ from state to state, and what will work in one state may not be adequate to take a test in another state. This means that the applicant may have to take additional classes, or get a given amount of experience before he can even be approved to take a test. Many states offer certification preparation classes. These are not designed to give answers to tests, but to go over the various areas of knowledge and provide special practice in such areas as math and chemistry. Information on these courses can usually be found from the state certification office or often from the state rural water association.

Jerry Biberstine Senior Environmental Engineer National Rural Water Association

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Be Prepared

Check With the State

When I hear that someone is going to take a certification exam, I’m torn between offering sympathy or advice. Having taken many, many tests (the most recent being a professinal engineering exam) and having done regulatory and math training for operators studying to take certification exams, I believe I am qualified to extend condolences as well as offer suggestions. First, be prepared. Learn the subject matter thoroughly and organize what materials you will need for the test. Some specific techniques are:

To prepare for your first operator certification exam, start by contactKevin Kundert ing the operator certification officer President and Chief in your state. They can be very Instructional Systems Mechanic helpful as they have answered this eTRAIN ONLINE, Inc. question for others before you and know what resources are freely available to you. Many states have created state-specific study guides and training tools that help you channel your studies in the right direction. Next, look at the big picture. How many questions are on the exam and in what topic areas are they? Are some areas of the test weighted more heavily than others? If so, then focus your studies proportionately. Study early, study frequently, and avoid lastminute cramming. You’ll have a lot less stress and retain information much better if you do your studies over a longer period of time and have some time to digest and apply the information you are learning. Depending on your previous experience in water operations, the period of time needed for study can range from a week or two to several months. There is a lot to know and it will take some time to put all the pieces together if you expect to perform well on the exam (and be a good operator).

• Use a checklist, summary sheet, or flash cards to review the material; • Take practice tests; • Avoid cramming prior to the exam; • Get a good night's sleep the night before; • Strive for a relaxed state of concentration; and • Remember to breathe. To be better prepared, operators need to know which learning style or combinations of styles (reading, listening, writing, observation or doing) works best for them. The more learning styles you can combine, the better. For instance, an operator taking an exam for Backflow Assembly Tester should have a higher success rate of passing exams by reading the material, listening to an instructor or someone else knowledgeable on the subject, taking notes, observing the procedure, and performing the procedure. For math problems, the best way to figure out which equation to use and how to solve the problem is to determine what unit of measure you are solving for and list the data you have to work with in units of measure. Double check your answers. When all else fails and you face multiple-choice answers, eliminate the obviously wrong answer(s) and reverse calculate if you can. Comprehensive operator study materials are available from California State University Sacramento Office of Water Programs (www.owp.csus.edu) and the American Water Works Association (www.awwa.org). For additional training, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water Academy (www.epa.gov/safewater/dwa.html). The Association of Boards of Certification has a Web-based, very small, water system operator certification practice exam, however they charges $20 (www.abccert.org). Practice operator exams are available from the Evergreen Rural Water of Washington (www.erwow.org/practicetest.htm). Finally, remember that the person who seeks out answers to questions they do not know and knows where to go for the answers will be diligent and successful.

An Essential Profession My colleagues have offered great suggestions about taking tests and the Rod Coker resources available to help you in this Tribal Utility endeavor. I don’t think I can expand Consultant (Retired) Indian Health Service on their advice. Instead, I offer my congratulations. You have decided to join ranks with some of the very best people in any profession and will be providing a product that is essential to life itself. When you get right down to it, drinking water is the only thing in our environment that we produce that we absolutely have to have and for which there is no substitute. There are no other goods and services, products or commodities that we couldn’t do without for a while. Without water, though, we would perish in a matter of days. Don’t forget that taking a certification exam will not make you a better operator. That’s right, passing a test—in and of itself—will not make you a better water system operator. What it does is demonstrate that you have achieved a certain level of knowledge. It is how you use that knowledge and how you apply the things you have learned to pass that exam that will make you a better operator. Good luck and best wishes.

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erson, By Kathy Jesp te Editor OnTap Associa

The 1996 reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act made certification exams a fact of life for drinking water system operators. To be certified operators, and perhaps to keep their jobs, drinking water system operators would now need to study for and pass a test. And for many operators, passing the test is the most difficult part of becoming certified. Taking a test can be intimidating and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be a trial by fire. Being prepared makes the experience much less painful—and much less of a trial. On the other hand, waiting until the last minute to study generates stress and really won’t do you much good.

Know What to Expect Anyone who has ever faced taking an exam knows that being prepared is the largest part of the battle. So how do you get ready? First of all, you need to study. Next, you should have a few test-taking strategies in mind well before the day of the test. Finally, familiarize yourself with what to expect once you get to the testing site. Before you arrive for the test, get to know some basics. For example, how much time will you need to devote to the test? “Operators are given three hours to take their level of exam,” says Dana McCants Derisier, M.S., principal community training specialist for Rhode Island’s Department of Health. “Depending on their level of understanding of the material, test-taking skills, and other factors, an operator may complete the exam in an hour or may take the whole three hours.”

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Count on being in the testing center for approximately three hours—while you may complete the exam in less time, try not to rush. Use any extra time to check your answers—especially math problems. And don’t worry if someone else finishes the test before you do. It’s not a race. Most exams will have approximately 100 questions—again the exact number depends upon the level of certification you are seeking. All exams are standardized and closed book. No reference material is allowed in the examination site. No electronic devices for the storage, display, or transmission of data, such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), programmable calculators, computers, or cameras are allowed in the room. You should only bring some sort of photo identification; a non-programmable, non-graphical calculator that has no text-storage capability; two sharpened soft-lead (#2 or HB) pencils; and an eraser to the examination site. Any other material must be left outside. Those are the basics. Here’s some information more specific to the exam’s actual content.

What will be on the test? In 1997, the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) analyzed the jobs of drinking water treatment operators. This analysis included a task survey in which operators were asked to rate their duties according to how often they performed a task as well as whether a lack of skills could seriously affect the health of the system’s customers, the safety of those performing the task, or the treatment plant in general. Once ABC put this information together, the board was able to develop a list of core competencies—which are called the Need-to-Know-Criteria. These criteria can be further broken down to develop an operator certification exam. The Need-to-Know-Criteria are: 1. Monitor, evaluate, and adjust treatment processes; 2. Collect samples and interpret analysis, 3. Perform plant process control laboratory analysis, 4. Evaluate characteristics of source water, 5. Comply with drinking water regulations, 6. Operate equipment, 7. Evaluate and maintain equipment, and 8. Perform security, safety, and administrative procedures.

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Repetition is important in math. You learn how to solve problems by doing them. So practice the problems again and again—but don't do them blindly. Make sure you learn how to recognize when and why you should use a specific method to solve a problem.



Work on practice problems for each topic ranging in levels of difficulty.



When practicing, try to solve the problem on your own first then, look at the answer or seek help if you are having trouble.



Mix up the order of the questions from various topics when you are reviewing so you'll learn when to use a specific method/formula.



Make up a sheet with all the formulas you need to know and memorize all the formulas on the sheet.



When you get your exam, write down all the key formulas on the margin of your paper so if you forget them when you're in the middle of the test you can look back at the formulas.



Remember, it is not possible to study too much for a math test or that over studying can lower your grade. Doing more work can only help you to gain greater mastery of the material.



Check over your test after you are done with it. If you have time, redo the problems on a separate piece of paper to see if you come up with the same answer the second time around. Look for careless mistakes, such as making sure the decimal is in the right place, that you read the directions correctly, that you copied the numbers correctly, that your arithmetic is correct and so on. Adopted from the University of Minnesota’s Student Handbook, TestTakingTips.com, and StudyUSA.com.

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The main topics are further broken down into more specific subjects, such as particular chemical treatment processes like fluoridation, chlorine disinfectant, pH adjustment, or corrosion control. Because all of the questions on a certification exam will come from these criteria, be prepared to answer questions about topics that range from general knowledge to those that require more specific. The complexity of the questions depends upon the level of certification an applicant is seeking. “Higher-level exams typically include more problem-solving and analysis questions,” says Suzanne De la Cruz, manager of testing for ABC. For example, certification exams for small groundwater systems aren’t going to ask questions about how to treat for contaminants found in large community surface water systems. So unless you plan to seek certification for those types of systems, you won’t have to worry about those kinds of questions. But don’t limit yourself. “The applicant may only want to take exams at the classification and grade they need to operate a water system,” says William P. Reed, operator certification program coordinator for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). “But many will test out to the highest class and grade possible so they can apply for different job opportunities in the industry.”

• If you choose to study in a group, only study with others who are serious about the test. • Don't study later than the time you usually go to sleep. You may fall asleep or be tempted to go to sleep. Instead, try studying in the afternoon or early evening. If you are a morning person, try studying in the morning. You also may want to attend workshops designed to help operators prepare for certification exams. Most states offer these workshops through their state health department or environmental protection agency. (For a list of state agencies, go to ABC’s Web site at www.abccert.org/-certcontacts.html.)

Study, Study, Study The more time you give yourself to learn the material, the more likely you are to retain it. But that means you are going need to study— sorry, there’s no way around that fact. The best time to start studying is now. Don’t wait until the night before to try to cram everything you need to know into your head and wind up pulling an all nighter. If you do, you are setting yourself up for failure and will likely have to take the test again. People who develop better study methods and strategies score higher on their exams and typically pass the first time they take a test. Some good advice is to space out your studying and review materials several times a week, focusing on one topic at a time. Remember that everyone is different, so different methods work for different people. The following are only suggestions for improving your studying skills. • Study every day. The material will stay in your long-term memory. But if you try to study at the last moment, the material will only reside in your short-term memory and you'll easily forget it.

If you take a workshop, make sure you ask questions to clarify any information that is not clear to you. The best time to review material from the workshop is right after you leave when the information is still fresh in your memory. Reed notes that applicants in Arizona have many options to prepare for the test, such as workshops and a study guide. Other states also offer preparation resources. “At times, our program has provided a limited amount of reference materials to be used as study guides,” says McCants Derisier, “but

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the majority of help comes from study guides that the operators can purchase from some companies that specialize in education materials for drinking water operators. Ultimately, taking a course along with the study guides is an effective way to prepare for the exam.” Ultimately, how you prepare is up to you. The only sure thing is that you need to study to do well. Participating in workshops and studying in groups or on your own will all help you become prepared. Then, once you’re taking the test, you will be more relaxed.

Tips for Taking a Multiple Choice Test Operator certification exams are multiple-choice tests. Unless you are psychic, multiple-choice test questions will require that you recognize, recall, or reason what the correct answer is, according to Anita Delmar, a math and science teacher and author of The 3Rs to Success on Multiple Choice Tests. Recognizing the answer means that the answer is clear to you as soon as you look at it. Recalling it means that with a little thought, you can recall the answer. And if you need to reason out what the answer is means you have the ability to eliminate choices that make no sense or don’t add up, leading you to the right answer. Here are some tips for taking a multiple-choice exam: • Bring a watch to the test with you so that you can better pace yourself. • When you first receive your test, do a quick survey of the entire test so that you know how to efficiently budget your time. • Read all the choices before choosing your answer. Do the easiest problems first; don’t stay on a problem that you are stuck on, especially when time is a factor. Don't rush but pace yourself. Read the entire question and look for keywords. • If you don't know an answer skip it. Go on with the rest of the test and come back to difficult questions later. Maybe on another part of the test there'll be something that will help you out with that question. • Don’t worry if others finish before you; focus on the test in front of you. • Double check to make sure that you write your first and last name, the system information, and any other pertinent data on the test. • Read the question before you look at the answer. Eliminate answers you know aren’t right.

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• Don’t keep changing your answer; usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question. • Usually the correct answer is the choice with the most information.

Where can I find help? ABC, the American Water Works Association, the National Rural Water Association, the National Environmental Services Center, and others supply study materials for purchase. Contact NESC at (800) 624-8301 and select option “3” to speak with a certified water operator. You may find ABC’s Need-to-Know Criteria and other exam resources, such as a formula/conversion table, on ABC’s Web site at www.abccert.org. The Need-to-Know Criteria lists the topics that are covered on each level of certification exam as well as suggested reference material. ABC's Web site also lists contact information for each water and wastewater certification program in the U.S. and provides links to state approved training courses or providers. Finally, ABC works with the American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation to develop guides to help operators prepare for the exam. You also may find information about ordering these study guides on ABC's Web site. NESC offers a pocket-sized Basic Water and Wastewater Formula card that offers formulas and conversions that operators will use virtually everyday. To order this card, call (800) 624-8301 and ask for product #DWPCOM84. NESC also distributes Operator Basics, a CD produced by the Montana Water Center that has activities related to running a small treatment system. Order this training CD at the above number and ask for product #DWCDTR18. S On Tap Associate Editor Kathy Jesperson is very interested in public health and is pursuing a master of public health degree at West Virginia University.

Photo courtesy of www.texasfreeway.com

by Caigan McKenzie NESC Staff Writer

On March 16, 2000, 15-year old Patricia Garza appeared before Congress to tell her story, a story shared by hundreds of thousands of others who live along the U.S.–Mexican border in communities called colonias. “Take a minute to imagine something that a young student sees everyday,” Garza testified. “Imagine traveling down a busy street in a city, then suddenly taking a turn down a dusty, bumpy road into one of the poorest colonias around. All around you are crudely constructed shacks that are little more than patchworks of old boards and cardboard. You come to a stop at one of these humble dwellings, a two-room shack with a dirt floor that floods when it rains. The family outhouse sits on one side, practically joined to the home, its roof a dingy, wrinkled piece of canvas securely tied with a rope; its side door a ragged

sheet blowing with the wind. Many children do not have to envision such a scenario. They live in these conditions everyday of most of their young life. This is reality.” Nine students who accompanied Garza on her trip to ask Congress for help in bettering their lives gave similar grim descriptions of life in Monte Alto, Texas, where they live.

What are colonias? The word colonias is Spanish for neighborhoods. The definition is not as clear in the U.S., though. Each federal agency defines colonias based on its funding requirements, but all of them agree that colonias are residential areas along the U.S.–Mexican border composed of substandard housing, lacking basic services such as potable water, adequate sewage systems, storm drainage,

paved streets, and electricity. Residents are mostly low-income Hispanics who live in used, battered trailers or in ramshackle houses constructed with scrap materials, such as cardboard, tarpaper, tin roofing, and cinder blocks. Because these communities are practically invisible to most Americans, their residents have been described in a PBS documentary as the “forgotten Americans.”

Reasons for Colonias The promise of jobs along the international border, the growing need for affordable housing for low-income people, and loosely defined or nonexistent laws for www.nesc.wvu.edu

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subdividing land all contributed to the development of colonias. Frequently, colonias are found in unincorporated areas of counties, but some can also be found within city limits. Colonias were usually built on worthless land—often floodplains—that did not include a physical infrastructure. Developers sold the subdivided lots through contracts for deed. This financing method was attractive to buyers because they could purchase lots for a small down payment and low monthly payments. Because most buyers didn’t have a credit history or sufficient income, they couldn’t qualify for traditional bank loans, making this alternative financing method attractive. Buyers would receive title to the property only after making the final payment. Most didn’t make it to that point. Low wages, unexpected expenses, high penalties for late payments, and excessively high interest rates made it difficult for buyers to always make on-time payments. Because there wasn’t a foreclosure period, developers could repossess the land, and any improvements made to it, in as few as 45 days after a single default.

Where are colonias found? Colonias began to form in the 1950s, although some believe they developed before then, particularly in California where ranchers needed farmhands. The exact number of colonias is unknown, but a 2003 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimate indicates that there are more than 1,300 colonias in Texas and New Mexico with more than 300,000 residents. “A few colonias may exist in Arizona and some possibly in California,” according to Colonias Facts, a 2003 EPA report. “However, most colonias are concentrated in the Las Cruces, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas, and the lower Rio Grande Valley area, and west surrounding Brownsville, Texas.” 22

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Map courtesy of www.dshs.state.tx.us

Colonias Population Grows Some states have passed laws to prevent the number of colonias from growing, but despite these laws, they continue to flourish. “The intent of the law was to get a grasp of how many colonias there are,” says Gus Garcia, disaster recovery and program development specialist, with the Texas Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA). “Colonias number in the hundreds, but it’s hard to tell how many people live in them because children grow up, form their own families, and live on the same lot as their parents. Before you know it, the colonia has grown. So, even though the number of colonias doesn’t grow, the population of a colonia does.” This growth further complicates creating an infrastructure for the colonias. “You can only provide a sewer or water to the main house, so if you have five or six trailers on the property, you find multiple lines going from one trailer to the other and then connecting to the main house’s water, sewer, and electric,” Garcia

says. “This creates major health problems, because the lots are small, causing the water line and the septic to be too close together.”

Environmental Health Problems Soar The health problems Garcia refers to include cholera, hepatitis A, and giardiasis; and while these health problems are found throughout the country, they occur more frequently in the colonias. According to The Forgotten Americans, the rates per 100,000 population for Hepatitis A, for example, are 12.2 in the U.S., 18.2 in Texas, and 50.3 in the colonias. EPA’s Environmental Health Work Group has worked to reduce health problems in the colonias recently by educating families and health professionals about safe drinking water and by assessing the correlation between its health education and intervention program and changed behavior. In addition, the group monitors infectious diseases in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Texas Passes Colonia Legislation At the time colonias were forming in Texas, state law only required road access and drainage to be part of development. This changed in November 1989 when state law gave the Texas Water Development Board (TDWB) the authority to require developers to provide water and wastewater infrastructure. Under this law, the State Legislature created the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP) to assist Texas colonias in installing or upgrading water and wastewater services. Since EDAP was created, the TWDB has awarded more than $4.7 million in planning grants and more than $517 million for water and wastewater construction projects in 617 colonias in 22 Texas border and non-border counties. Ninety percent of the awarded money is grants while 10 percent is loans. Cities that receive EDAP funding must comply with the TWDB’s Model Subdivision Rules requiring developers to pay for wells, water lines in the streets, water meters, water rights acquisition fees, membership fees, and all other related charges for initiating water service. Developers are also responsible for wastewater infrastructure. They must either install septic systems before submitting plats for approval or sign an agreement with the city or county that specifies a date the system will be installed. The agreement is guaranteed with a bond or letter of credit. County governments that do not enforce Model Subdivision Rules lose state funding for water and wastewater improvements for existing colonias. Garcia points out that the rules have significantly reduced the number of new developments. “Developers can’t just let homeowners fend for themselves anymore,” he says.

Photos by Jean W. Parcher, courtesy of http://erg.usgs.gov

Surveys during the 1990s in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and in El Paso County, Texas, revealed the following data: • Unemployment in the colonias exceeds 40 percent. • One-fourth of the households are not connected to treated water. • Nearly half have outhouses or cesspools. • Half report that flooding is a problem. • More than two-thirds of colonias residents were born in the U.S. (i.e., they are U.S. citizens). If you add in those who have green cards, more than 98 percent of colonias residents are in the U.S. legally. Source: Texas Department of Human Services.

To further curtail the development of new colonias, the Texas state attorney general established the Colonias Strike Force in 1993. It prosecuted developers under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and under Health and Safety Codes and stripped from developers existing colonias that did not meet code. Although penalties against developers over a 10-year period were $11.5 million in damages and $14.7 million in civil penalties, the amount collected was only $50,000 because developers didn’t have any assets. Comprehensive land-use practices passed by the State Legislature in 1995 prohibited the sale of lots in existing colonias without first installing water and

wastewater services. Also in 1995, Texas passed the Colonias Fair Land Sales Act, which requires developers to record contracts for deed. When selling land, developers have to provide the buyer with a statement that lists available services, such as water and wastewater, and to disclose whether the property is located in a floodplain. Additionally, developers have to give buyers an annual statement detailing the amount paid and still owed, the number of remaining payments, and the amount of taxes paid on the buyer’s behalf.

Programs Assist Colonias There are a variety of programs that assist colonias, including federal, state, and community-based

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nonprofits who have partnered with the private and public sectors. The three major federal agencies that finance colonias sanitation infrastructure are the EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In 1990, EPA began to work with state partners to help colonias. Together with the TWDB and USDA’s Rural Development Administration, EPA has helped implement programs that provide basic indoor plumbing, safe drinking water and acceptable waste disposal. By 1994, EPA had committed $123 million dollars to begin construction on 16 Texas water and wastewater projects. Another $160 million had been committed to support approximately 40 plans that had been developed for building wastewater facilities in colonia communities that didn’t have them, and an additional $200,000 was awarded to fund the Texas Colonias Strike Force. EPA’s Appropriation Acts for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 states that funding to governments will be withheld if those governments have not established an enforceable rule preventing the development of new colonias or the development of any structures within an existing colonia that does not include necessary infrastructure. In 2001, the Texas Legislature created the Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) to help communities primarily made up of residents with low to moderate incomes with water and wastewater projects, street paving, and drainage improvements. This help is given through its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). In addition to funding construction of infrastructure, ORCA also funds seven Colonia Self-Help Centers in five counties, which offers services such as tool libraries, training for rehabilitating houses, and contract for deed conversions. In March 2007, the Texas Senate Committee on International Relations and Trade passed legisla-

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tion (Senate Bill 99) that increases the number of Texas state agencies required to submit data about colonias projects. “Legislators need a comprehensive road map of how all state monies are spent on colonias projects, including the dollar amount spent on each colonia to best serve residents and improve upon their quality of life,” reported Senator Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, Texas.

Progress Made In March 2007, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund was reauthorized for $14 billion over the next four years. For the past 10 years, this funding has supported state and local efforts for clean water infrastructure by providing low-interest loans to local communities to construct wastewater treatment facilities and other water pollution abatement projects. Because of the work of government organizations, nonprofits, and colonias’ residents, visible changes are being made in the colonias. Since 1997, for example, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona have set aside 10 percent of their CDBG funds for colonias. Most of these funds have been used for water, sewer, and housing assistance, and according to an August 27, 2007 article in the The New York Times, “After years of protests by residents, belated regulation by the state, and an influx of aid from government and private groups, more than two-thirds of the colonia dwellers in six [Texas] border counties finally have access to water lines, safe sewage disposal or both, compared with a small minority just 15 years ago.”

References Eckholm, Erik. 2007. “Inside a Jumble of Poverty, Texans Build a Future.” The New York Times. (August 27). Environmental Protection Agency. 2003. Colonias Facts. Office of Wastewater Management. Accessed at www.epa.gov/owm/mab/mexican/clnfcts.pdf.

Garcia, Gus. 2007. Interview with author. November 17. Garza, Patricia. 2000. Congressional Testimony. March 16. Kemp-Rye, Mark. 1998. “Groups Work to Improve Life in Colonias.” Water Sense. (Summer). Public Broadcasting System Online. 2000. The Forgotten Americans. Accessed at www.pbs.org/klru/forgottenamericans/colonias/routeA/A_A_1_a_1.htm. Tagliabue, Tom. 2007. Interview with author. October 28. Zaffirini, Judith Zaffirini and Ryan Guillen. 2006. Final Report in Response to Senate Bill 827.” (December 1). 79th regular session, Texas Legislature. Accessed at www.sos.state.tx.us/border/forms/sb827_111706.pdf.

For More Information Learn more about the current status of the Texas Economically Distressed Areas Program at www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/Colonias/status.pdf. For information about applying for USDA housing funds, go to http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov. For information about Community Development Block Grants, see www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/colonias/cdbgcolonias.cfm. For information about EPA border infrastructure projects, see www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/infrastructure/index.html. For a listing of EPA border state infrastructure partners, visit www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/partners.html. S A member of NESC for more than eight years, Caigan McKenzie, has had a number of her water and wastewater articles reprinted in a variety of publications.

10 Steps to Great Training © 2007 Frederick J. Cowie, Ph.D

by Frederick J. (Fred) Cowie, Ph.D, Environmental Trainer and Conference Speaker

Editor’s Note: For more than 30 years, Fred Cowie has provided training to small rural and tribal communities and their fire, law, EMS, public health and public works responders. In this article, he synthesizes his experiences and offers 10 ideas to improve training. ’m often asked, “how can I develop realistic, helpful, and enjoyable training for people in my community?” Here are 10 things I’ve learned over the last three decades that apply not only to training, but to working with groups of people in general. And even though I work primarily with first responders, these lessons are applicable in many settings.

1. The key to success is consensus. No one really cares what you think. And there is always one pushy person in the group. You have to decide early on to control those two people (you and the other pushy one) and that the consensus of the group is the most important product. Consensus is not “That’s the perfect training exercise,” but “It will be okay and I can live with it.”

2. Start in-house. Whether it’s water or wastewater utilities or fire departments and EMS providers, you can’t succeed without decent in-house responses or drills. It’s important not to expand from garbage, but to expand from quality. If the players don’t see excellence from the other players, they won’t play. It’s impossible to build trust and confidence among groups if all individual groups are not trustworthy and confident. I have heard “They scare me” and “They will get someone killed” said of certain response groups by others. If you hear these types of comments, you are a long way from a good exercise, probably years.

3. Start small. I have seen far too many people decide not to play because some idiot decided to depict a worst-case scenario exercise. You can have a complex, interactive exercise without making a federal case out of it. You don’t have to stay small, but you have to build from small successes and starting too big will create unnecessary and often irreparable damage. www.nesc.wvu.edu

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4. Whoever responds gets to decide. Ask the key players, then push the decision-making power down to the lowest effective level. This is not the state, tribal, or federal level, the elected official level or the upper management level—it is the field responder level. Ask the group what kind of incident they need to work on the most. Ask the EMTs what they really need to practice. Ask the trucker how accidents usually happen. Ask the distribution system personnel how they manage events and where their response equipment and supplies are located. Don’t make someone else’s decisions, it never works and makes people really, really mad. Trust me on this one.

5. Make sure everyone has some real work to do. If there is nothing for the public works or public health people to do, find something for them to do or they won’t ever come back. We once needed a county commissioner around just for his signatory power, so we asked him to keep track of some critical data, so he wasn’t just sitting with pen in hand, but was an active part of the exercise. People come to work. Find out what their skills are and honor this expertise.

6. This is not a test. Get rid of the military model. Get rid of the test model, the grading model, the evaluating model, the good/bad, right/wrong, the pass/fail model. An exercise should be practice (not a test), with coaches and mentors (not evaluators), with learning to do it right (not practice doing it wrong and getting a bad grade). If you use complex, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary exercises in rural areas as tests, simply put, you will fail those tests.

For more information about training for adult learners, see the article “Getting Operators Into the Classroom” on the NESC Web site at www.nesc.wvu.edu.

thought of asking if your team wants to be drilled or quizzed?) As for community exercises, everyone should know everything. The more people who know and the more they know, the better off your community, your agency and you will be. Why not put on a hazmat awareness course for citizens and explain the principles of response planning and exercising? Then, if you have volunteers, find real things for them to do. Remember, an exercise is learning, it is practice, it is a community event. It is not a test, and it is not a surprise quiz.

9. Build a plan. If you have no plan, build an exercise around a real community concern, then you will have at least one coordinated action plan for one incident. After two or three of these action plans, the generic pieces will actually grow into a plan, almost on their own. I think it is better to have five good action plans that have come from exercises than a make believe, fill-in-the-blank plan that sits on a shelf. I think training and exercises build good plans, not the other way around.

10. It takes five years, and it takes a village. To go from non-caring and non-response to quality takes three to five years, and it takes a village, minus the village idiot of course. All it takes is a million small steps, realistic scenarios designed by the players, honor and trust, respect and real work, open communication, a little food or other reward, and community consensus. If you quit, you lose; and if you don’t quit, you win.

For more information The National Environmental Services Center has several educational products related to training programs. The publications “Coping with Varied Entry-Level Skills: Tailoring for All Learners” (TRBLTR11), “Evaluating the Results of Environmental Training” (TRBLTR03), and “NETCSC Training Skills Handbook” (TRBKTR13) may be helpful when designing training exercises. Visit the training pages on the NESC Web site at www.nesc.wvu.edu or call (800) 624-8301 to learn more about NESC training materials. S

7. Give them food and they will come. Maybe we all have too many cheap coffee cups with logos, but a nice polo shirt and a good meal, that’s real incentive. Agencies have discretionary funds, corporations have advertising budgets, and concerned citizens will help. Make it so real players get rewarded and nonplayers don’t get rewarded. You get the behavior you reward. And if you are in doubt about what motivates your group, just ask them.

8. No surprises. This time we are talking surprise quizzes. This concept only works in-house for close-knit teams. (Have you ever 26

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Based in Helena, Montana, Fred Cowie provides training related to emergency management, terrorism preparedness, and Hazmat issues. Visit his Web site at www.fredcowie.com to learn more.

perating a water or wastewater utility has never been easy. And with new technologies and increasing regulations, the job just keeps getting more difficult. If you have questions about a particular technology or about other aspects of running your system, the National Environmental Services Center’s (NESC) technical staff may have the answers you need. Our engineers, certified operators, and support staff have decades of experience working with small water and wastewater systems. Call us at (800) 624-8301 and select option 3 to speak with one of our technical assistance specialists. Even though many of our customers find our experience and information invaluable, we don’t charge for the call or the advice. It’s free!

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By Cliff Treyens, Director of Public Awareness, National Ground Water Association

s portions of the U.S. grapple with drought conditions, public water systems are scrambling to ensure that customers have an adequate water supply. But what’s a private well owner to do? As their own water system managers, it’s up to private well owners to make sure their water keeps flowing. Yet, the average private well owner is not trained or equipped to diagnose drought-related issues, much less address them. There are important steps to take, and the place to begin is by

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arming yourself with some information. Here are some basic questions to ask: Are water wells running dry? Wells that are placed near the water table typically are the ones that you hear about “running dry” during droughts or when there is an increase in groundwater pumping. The reason is that the water table falls further below the surface when it is not replenished by rainfall or if more water is pumped out than is coming in. It’s like putting a straw into the top of a glass of water. If you drink and don’t lower the straw toward the

bottom of the glass, you will end up sucking air. There is still water in the glass but your straw is just sitting above it. How quickly will water levels in a well recover after a rain? Typically, water levels fluctuate on a seasonal basis, raising in the wet months and falling in the dry months. So, a well will not recover after just one rainfall event. It takes several slow, soaking rains for the water to filter through the ground. More shallow wells may see their water levels rise more quickly with a return of rain. Deeper wells are

likely to ride out a drought with no problems; but if they are affected, it will take more rainfall—maybe several months—to filter down to their depth. What should I do if my well is affected? The answer depends on your well. Is the drought worse than usual? Has this happened during previous droughts? Have your neighbors’ wells also been affected? Have you observed other changes in your well: taste or smells in the water? Answers to these questions will determine if the problem is with a falling water table or failing well.

Deepening a well so that it is far below the water table may help to ensure a more droughtresistant water supply, although deepening a well is not a guarantee that you will get more water. Rehabilitating an existing well may also make it more efficient. Well rehabilitation is the process of restoring a well to its most efficient condition using a combination of chemical and mechanical techniques. A professional water well system contractor can do tests to see if rehabilitating measures would be successful. The well will often

be shut off for 24 to 48 hours to see if the static level—the level of the water table in a well when the pump is not operating— returns to, or gets near, the original level. If so, rehabilitation will usually work. Before starting the project, contractors will often lower a video camera into the well to make sure no other problems will be encountered. Hydrofracturing, another well rehabilitation technique, uses highpressure water to open fractures in surrounding rock and, thereby, increase water flow. This may also improve your water supply. www.nesc.wvu.edu

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Understanding where you use water most can provide hints on where the most water can be conserved. Here are a few water conservation tips:

General • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering your indoor plants or garden. • Repair dripping faucets and toilets. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water a year. • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors. • Choose appliances that are water and energy-efficient. • Don’t run a faucet when you’re not using the water, such as while brushing your teeth.

Kitchen • Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded, and use the “light wash” feature, if available, to use less water. • Store drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap until the water is cool. • Avoid wasting water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering.

Laundry • Operate clothes washers only when they are fully loaded, or set the water level to match the size of your load. Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

How do I go about getting my drilled well deepened? Contact a reputable water well system contractor who is familiar with local groundwater conditions and state-of-the-art well construction methods. State and local governments may have contractor licensing and well construction laws. For additional information, you may wish to contact a local National Ground Water Association member in your area by visiting www.wellowner.org or contact your state groundwater or water well association. Will nearby, larger well systems impact home wells? The increased pumping of larger capacity well systems during a drought may cause the groundwater level to be drawn down. The declining groundwater level may then be below your pump’s intake. If that is the case, the answer is to drill deeper. Does the drought impact groundwater quality? In general, there is no adverse impact on overall groundwater quality from a drought. If a homeowner drills a deeper well in response to a drought, the well owner may end up with more mineralized water. This is because the water has been in the ground longer and may have taken on some of the characteristics of the surrounding rock formations. The homeowner may also gain water quality benefits from a deeper, properly constructed well. These deeper wells are better protected from surface human-induced contamination sources, such as lawn fertilizer applications or accidental spills. How long can a drought be expected to last? Droughts vary in severity and length. Visit the National Integrated Drought Information System Web site at www.drought.gov for information on drought in your area.

Groundwater Conservation Matters Water use habits are another issue to consider. The adage “waste not, want not” is never more apt than when it comes to water use during a drought. Practically all water users, regardless of whether they are on a public water system or private wells, can learn to use water more wisely. Wise water use is both a long-term and a short-term issue. Americans are some of the largest users of water, per capita, in the world, using 83.3 billion gallons of groundwater every day—the equivalent of 3,059 30

On Tap Winter 2008

12-oz. cans for every man, woman, and child in the nation. Outdoor water use varies greatly across the country. For instance, in California, 44 percent of all household water use is outdoors, while in Pennsylvania only seven percent is used outdoors. Regardless of geographic location, almost three-quarters of water used inside the home occurs in the bathroom, with 41 percent used for toilet flushing and 33 percent for bathing. The remainder of indoor water use is divided between clothes washing and kitchen use, including dish washing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Groundwater and Drought Approximately 75 percent of community water systems and nearly all of rural America use groundwater-supplied water systems. In many parts of the country, surface water supplies are inadequate or unavailable, and groundwater is the only practical source of water supply. Groundwater feeds streams and rivers, especially during periods of drought or low flow. Approximately 42 percent of agricultural irrigation water is groundwater. The water shortages of recent drought years coupled with the increasing cases of surface and groundwater contamination warn that we stand at a critical juncture regarding the availability of adequate water supplies. Because groundwater is hidden, this resource is often forgotten or misunderstood. Yet few would argue that it is important to develop and use groundwater in a way that meets current and future beneficial purposes without causing unacceptable consequences. To do that, it is helpful to understand: a) the factors that contribute to local, regional, or statewide groundwater shortages, b) the strategies that can be implemented to promote groundwater availability, and c) what resources or tools are needed to implement these strategies successfully. This requires public understanding of the: • Factors affecting groundwater supplies and use • Methods that promote the wise use of groundwater supplies • Need to determine strategies that promote groundwater availability • Need for cooperative efforts to fill data gaps and undertake priority research • Need for increased collaborative educational efforts

www.nesc.wvu.edu

31

While states are gathering the data necessary to make informed decisions, no state has met its groundwater data collection goals. A small minority of states responding to a National Ground Water Association survey are very confident that they know the potential yield from all of the state’s major aquifers. We currently lack fundamental data necessary to adequately understand the nation’s groundwater resources and make informed decisions regarding its use and management. The federal government is also playing a vital role. While actual groundwater management decision making is most effective when taking into account sitespecific considerations, federal funding of cooperative data collection and aquifer mapping leverages the expertise and resources of the federal government with partners around the country. Federal support of cooperative data collection of water quality, aquifer mapping, and pertinent scientific research is very important. Data and research provide the underpinning for sound local water management decision making that advances the well-being of the nation’s citizens, economy, and environment. To learn more about drought and other issues related to private well ownership, visit the National Ground Water Association’ s Web site at www.wellowner.org. S Cliff Treyens is the director of public awareness with the National Groundwater Association. Learn more about the NGWA by visiting their Web site at www.ngwa.org.

Understanding where you use water most can provide hints on where the most water can be conserved. Here are a few water conservation tips:

General • Check your well pump periodically. If the automatic pump turns on and off while water is not being used, you could have a leak. • Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground cover, shrubs, and trees. Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period. • Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of efficient devices. • Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. • Avoid buying recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.

Car Washing • Use a shutoff nozzle on the hose that can be adjusted down to a fine spray.

Lawn Care • Avoid over watering your lawn. A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week. • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one, so your lawn will better absorb moisture. • Position sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas. • Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist. Mist can evaporate before it reaches the lawn. • Raise your mower blade to a higher level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture.

Pool • Install a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses 190 to 250 gallons of water. • Cover pools and spas to reduce evaporation of water. Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

32

On Tap Winter 2008

WINTER • 2008 Our newest products are highlighted in blue.

For the full NESC Drinking Water Products list visit www.nesc.wvu.edu. Call 800-624-8301 to order. DE SIGN

GENERAL INF OR MATION

DWBKDM01 DWBLDM02

DWCDCS01

DWBLDM03 DWBKDM04 DWBKDM05 DWBKDM06 DWBKDM07 DWBKDM12 DWBKDM15 DWCDDM17

DWBKDM23 DWCDDM24

Manual of Water Well Construction Practices ............$25.05 Rainwater Cisterns: Design, Construction, and Water Treatment ..................................................................$4.40 Cross-Connection Control Manual ....................$7.05 Technologies for Upgrading Existing or Designing New Drinking Water Treatment Facilities ................$32.85 Manual of Small Public Water Supply Systems ..........$32.25 Manual of Individual and Non-Public Water Supply Systems ....................................................................$0.00 Nitrate Removal for SmallPublic Water Systems ....$14.70 Radionuclide Removal for Small Public Water Systems ................................................................................$22.20 Corrosion Manual for Internal Corrosion of Water Distribution Systems ..........................................$18.90 Workshop on the Design and Operation of Adsorptive Media Processes for the Removal of Arsenic from Drinking Water ......................................$0.00 Removal of Arsenic from Drinking Water Supplies by Iron Removal Process....................................0.00 Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water by Adsorptive Media ..............................................$10.00

FINANCE FDBLFN03 FDBLFN13 DWBKFN14 DWBKFN19

DWBKFN30 FDBKFN34

DWFSFN39

DWFSFN41 DWBLFN42 DWBLFN43

Water and Wastewater Manager’s Guide for Staying Financially Healthy ..............................................$2.10 Utility Manager’s Guide to Water and Wastewater Budgeting ..............................................................................$0.00 Financial Accounting Guide for Small Water Utilities ..................................................................................$14.85 Setting Small Drinking Water System Rates for a Sustainable Future: One of the Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide Series ............0.00 Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection ......................................................$0.30 The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: Financing America's Drinking Water—A Report of Progress ..............................................................................$0.00 Use of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to Implement Security Measures at Public Water Systems..........................................................$0.60 1999 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey ..$0.30 Sources of Technical and Financial Assistance for Small Drinking Water Systems ........................................$3.15 Evaluating Water System Financial Performance and Financing Options............................$3.45

DWBLGN24 DWBKGN36 DWFSGN44 DWBRGN45 DWFSGN46 DWFSGN47 DWCDGN50 DWFSGN52 DWFSGN54 DWBRGN57 DWBLGN62 DWBLGN63 DWFSGN68 DWPSGN69 DWBKGN70 DWVTGN72 DWDVGN73 DWFSGN74 DWFSGN75 DWBRGN76

Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water by Iron Removal USEPA Demonstration Project at Climax, MN (Six Month Evaluation Report ......$10.00 Drinking Water Glossary: A Dictionary of Technical and Legal Terms Related to Drinking Water ..............$0.00 Outreach Resource Guide ................................................$0.00 A Guide to Home Water Treatment ..............................$2.05 Using Water Wisely in the Home ....................................$0.30 Iron in Drinking Water ........................................................$0.00 Drinking Water Treatment ................................................$0.45 Drinking Water. Know What’s In It For You ................$10.00 The History of Drinking Water Treatment ..................$0.60 Water Facts ............................................................................$0.30 Wellhead Protection: An ounce of prevention ............$0.30 Celebrate Wetlands..........................................................$2.05▲ The Water Story ................................................................$2.05▲ Water Security and You......................................................$0.15 Drinking Water Security Posters (Package)....................$0.00 EPA’s Role in Water Security..............................................$0.00 Clean Ground Water: Virginia’s Endangered Inheritance ..........................................................................$20.00 Clean Ground Water: Virginia’s Endangered Inheritance ..........................................................................$10.00 Protecting Water Quality from Agricultural Runoff ..$0.00 Water Quality Protection: What You Can Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution ..........................$0.60 Every Drop Counts ..............................................................$0.00

MANAGEMENT DWBKMG06 DWBKMG09 DWBKMG15 DWBKMG19 DWBLMG33 DWBKMG39 DWBLMG42

Wellhead Protection: A Guide for Small Communities ......................................................................$22.65 Drinking Water Handbook for Public Officials ............$9.75 Practical Personnel Management for Small Systems ................................................................................$14.85 Preparing Your Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report: Guidance for Water Suppliers ........................$5.55 Protecting Sources of Drinking Water: Selected Case Studies in Watershed Management ....................$6.30 Disinfection Profiling and Benchmarking Guidance Manual ..................................................................................$27.75 Risky Waste Disposal Practices Can CostYou Plenty: A Manager’s Guide to Protecting Community Drinking Water ......................................................................$0.00 NESC Products List • www.nesc.wvu.edu

33

DWBKMG43 DWBLMG44 DWBKMG47 DWBKMG49

DWBLMG54 DWBLMG56 DWCDMG57

DWBLMG58 DWBLMG59 DWCDMG60 DWCDMG61

DWCDMG64 DWBLMG69

DWBLMG73 DWBLMG74 DWBLMG77 DWBLMG78 DWBKMG82

DWBLMG84

DWBKMG85

DWBLMG86 DWBLMG88

DWBLMG89 DWBLMG90

DWBKMG92 DWBLMG93 DWBLMG94 DWBLMG96

Self-Evaluation Guide for Decision Makers of Small Community Water Systems ..............................................$8.45 Small Systems Guide to Risk Management and Safety ........................................................................................$8.45 Water Conservation Plan Guidelines..........................$32.40 Drining Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in Appalachia: An Analysis of Capital Funding and Funding Gaps......................................................................$10.00 Asset Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems....................................................................................$0.00 The Watershed Management Approach ....................$5.10 Environmental Management Suite: Tools for Local Government Officials and Those Who Help Them ......................................................................................$10.00 Getting in Step: A guide to effective outreach in your watershed ....................................................................$7.35 Strategic Planning: A Handbook for Small Water Systems....................................................................................$0.00 Effective Risk Management of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals WorkshopNew Media CD ............................$0.00 Des Moines Water Works’ Project: Providing Timely Drinking Water and Source Water Quality Information to Your Community ....................................$0.00 Emergency Response Tabletop Exercises for Drinking Water and Waste Water Testing....................$0.00 Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning for and Responding to Drinking Water Contamination Threats and Incidents:Public Health Response Guide ....................$12.30 Protect Your Water for Life: Vulnerability Assessment Fact Sheet ......................................................$1.05 U.S. Environmental Protection Agnecy Strategic Plan for Homeland Security ............................................$7.95 Small Community Water System Handbook on Developing and Setting Water Rates ............................$4.35 Financial Management Handbook for Small Community Water Systems ..............................................$8.40 Environmental Technology Verification Report: Hach Company Water Distribution Monitoring Panel and the Event Monitor Trigger System ............$9.90 Arsenic Removal From Drinking Water by Adsorptive Media, a U.S. EPA Demonstration Project at Gow, NH Six-Month Evaluation Report ..........................................$0.00 Water Distribution System Analysis: Field Studies, Modeling and Management; A Reference Guide for Utilities ..............................................................................$0.00 A Guide to Strategic Planning for Rural Communities ........................................................................$2.25 A Financial and Technical Assistance Guide to Programs for Rural Community Water and Sewer Infrastructure Development and Water Quality ......$0.00 Rate Design for Small Systems........................................$2.10 Drinking Water Security for Small Systems Serving 3,000 or Fewer Persons, One of the Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide ............................$6.45 A Guide for Financing and Rate-Setting Options for Small Water Systems ..........................................................$8.85 Water Audit Guidance ........................................................$1.35 Developing and Implementing a Water Conservation Plan................................................................$4.80 Characterizing the Effect of Chlorine and Chloramines on Formation of Biofilm in a Simulated Drinking Wter Distribution System..$5.85

OPERAT ION AND MAINTEN ANCE DWBKOM03

34

Control of Biofilm Growth in Drinking Water Distribution Systems....................................................................................$7.95

On Tap Winter 2008 • NESC Products List

DWBLOM04 DWBLOM05 DWFSOM11 DWBKOM16 DWCDOM23 DWFSOM30 DWBKOM32 DWSWOM34 DWBKOM54 DWBLOM55 DWSWOM61 DWCDOM62

DWFSOM65 DWFSOM75 DWCDOM76 DWBLOM78 DWFSOM79 DWFSOM80 DWPCOM84 DWBLOM86 DWBLOM90 DWCDOM91 DWBLOM92 DWBKOM93

Training Guide: Introduction to Water Loss and Leak Detection ............................................................$5.55 Shock Chlorination of Wells and Springs ......................$.60 Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: A Quick Reference Guide ..................$0.30 Controlling Disinfection By-Products and Microbial Contaminants in Drinking Water ..................................$48.15 Troubleshooting Guide for Small Ground Water Systems with Hypochlorination ....................................$0.00 Drinking Water Security and Emergency Preparedness: Top Ten List................................................$0.00 Alternative Disinfectants and Oxidants Guidance Manual ..................................................................................$49.95 Leak Audit Software for Water Utilities to Quantify Distribution System Water Losses ................................$10.85 Water Audit and Leak Detection Guidebook ..............$21.60 Hydrogen Sulfide in Drinking Water: Causes and Treatment Alternatives ......................................................$1.00 Consumer Confidence Report Writer V3.0 ..................$10.00 Small Public Water Systems Technology Guide: Vol. 1--Slow Sand Filtration Iron and Manganese Control Arsenic Removal ......................$10.00 Inspection of Water Storage Facilities ..........................$1.20 Technology Testing and Evaluation Program............$0.30 Cross-Connection Control Manual (CD) ..........................$0.00 Potential Contamination Due to Cross-Connections and Backflow and the Associated Health Risks ........$6.15 Microorganisms in your Water Well ..............................$0.30 Shock-Chlorination of Domestic Wells ........................$0.30 Water and Waste Water Treatment Formulas ............$0.00 Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program ..................................................................................$1.95 How to Take a Routine Bac-T Sample ..........................$1.35 Emergency Planning Interactive Guide for Small Water Utilities......................................................................$10.00 Public Water System Emergency Planning for Small Water Utilities ........................................................................$7.35 Point-of-Use or Point-of-Entry Treatment Options for Small Drinking Water Systems ........................................$0.00

Tech Brief DWPKOM36

Complete Package ................................................$Varies (Call for current pricing)

DWFSOM15 DWFSOM20 DWFSOM21 DWFSOM25 DWFSOM27 DWFSOM31 DWPSOM37 DWFSOM38 DWFSOM39 DWFSOM40 DWFSOM41 DWFSOM42 DWFSOM43 DWFSOM44 DWFSOM45 DWFSOM46

Reservoirs, Towers, and Tanks–Drinking Water Storage Facilities ........................................................$0.60 System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)....$0.60 Valves..............................................................................$0.60 Water Quality in Distribution Systems ................$0.60 Water Hammer ............................................................$0.60 Point-of-Use/Point-of-Entry Systems (POU/POE)..$0.60 Treatment Technologies for Small Drinking Water Systems ............................................................$0.85 Leak Detection and Water Loss Control ............$0.60 Diatomaceous Earth Filtration for Drinking Water ..............................................................................$0.60 Slow Sand Filtration ..................................................$0.60 Lime Softening............................................................$0.60 Iron and Manganese Removal ..............................$0.60 Membrane Filtration ................................................$0.60 Ozone ............................................................................$0.60 Radionuclides ..............................................................$0.60 Ion Exchange and Demineralization ..................$0.60

Please Note: Free items are limited to one each per order, shipping charges apply for all items.

DWFSOM47 DWFSOM48 DWFSOM49 DWFSOM50 DWFSOM51 DWFSOM52 DWFSOM53 DWFSOM56 DWFSOM57 DWFSOM58 DWFSOM60 DWFSOM67 DWFSOM68 DWFSOM73 DWFSOM74 DWFSOM81 DWFSOM83 DWFSOM85 DWFSOM88 DWFSOM89 DWFSOM94

DWFSOM95 DWFSOM97 DWFSOM98

Organic Removal ........................................................$0.60 Package Plants ............................................................$0.60 Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management ..$0.60 Disinfection ..................................................................$0.60 Filtration ........................................................................$0.60 Corrosion Control ......................................................$0.60 Ultraviolet Disinfection ............................................$0.60 Pumps ............................................................................$0.60 Preventing Well Contamination..............................$0.60 Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention..........$0.60 Repairing Distribution Line Breaks ......................$0.60 Water Meters................................................................$0.60 Chlorination ................................................................$0.60 Jar Testing ....................................................................$0.60 Sanitary Surveys ........................................................$0.60 Quality Control in Construction Projects ..........$0.60 Filter Backwashing ....................................................$0.60 Locating Distribution Lines......................................$0.60 Taste and Odor Control............................................$0.60 Turbidity Control ........................................................$0.60 Development of Low-Cost Treatment Options for Arsenic Removal in Water Treatment Facilities ........................................................................$0.60 Simultaneous Compliance with Drinking Water Regulations......................................................$0.60 Valve Exercising ..........................................$0.60 Cross-Connection Poster ............................$0.85

PUBLIC EDUCATION DWBLPE02 DWBRPE03 DWBRPE04 DWBLPE05 DWDVPE25 DWPKPE39 DWPSPE40 DWFSPE57 DWBLPE58 DWFSPE60 DWBKPE66 DWVTPE69 DWBLPE74 DWPKPE78 DWBLPE90 DWBKPE95 DWBLPE96 DWBLPE97 DWBLPE112 DWBLPE114 DWFSPE126 DWBLPE130 DWCDPE138 DWCDPE139

Science Demonstration Projects in Drinking Water (Grades K–12)........................................................$2.25▲ Home Water Treatment Units: Filtering Fact from Fiction ............................................................................$0.30 Bottled Water: Helpful Facts and Information ..........$0.30 Drinking Water from Household Wells ........................$3.00 Careers in Water Quality..................................................$10.00 Drinking Water Activities for Teachers and Students ..$10.95 Groundwater Protection Begins at Home ..................$0.00 Emergency Disinfection of Water Supplies ..................$0.15 Water Testing ........................................................................$0.45 21 Water Conservation Measures for Everybody ..........$0.30 Protect Your Ground Water: Educating for Action ..$9.00 Creator’s Gift: Good Water ..............................................$20.00 Fact Sheet: Water Conservation Measures ..................$0.60 Bacteria and Water Wells ..................................................$1.90 Water Protection at Home: What You Can Do To Prevent Water Pollution inYour Community..............$0.60 How to Conduct an Inventory in Your Wellhead Protection Area ..................................................................$17.55 Fact Sheet on Home Drinking Water Treatment ......$1.20 Water Testing Scams ..........................................................$0.45 Interpreting Drinking Water Quality Analysis: What Do the Numbers Mean? ........................................$0.00 Drinking Water Chlorination: A Review of Disinfection Practices and Issues ..................................$0.00 Nitrate–A Drinking Water Concern................................$0.55 Answers to Your Questions on Well Abandonment ..$0.00 Desdemona’s Splash ........................................................$12.50 The Living Landscape ........................................................$8.00

DWFSPE140 DWFSPE141 DWBLPE146 DWBLPE149 DWFSPE153 DWFSPE160 DWFSPE169 DWCDPE207 DWBLPE212 DWFSPE213 DWBKPE216 DWBLPE217 DWBKPE218 DWFSPE225 DWFSPE230 DWBLPE232 DWFSPE234 DWCDPE235 DWFSPE239 DWFSPE241 DWFSPE243 DWFSPE246 DWFSPE252 DWFSPE253 DWFSPE255 DWBLPE269 DWFSPE270 DWFSPE271 DWFSPE273 DWFSPE274 DWFSPE278 DWFSPE279 DWBLPE285 DWBLPE286 DWBLPE300 DWBLPE301 DWFSPE303 DWFSPE309 DWFSPE311 DWBLPE313 DWBLPE314 DWFSPE315 DWFSPE316 DWFSPE317 DWBLPE321 DWFSPE322 DWFSPE323 DWBLPE324 DWPKPE325

Bacteriological Contamination of Drinking Water ..$0.00 Tests for Drinking Water from Private Wells ..............$0.00 Big Rivers ............................................................................$2.15▲ Water Conservation In Your Home ................................$1.90 Groundwater Contamination & Your Septic System ..$0.30 Sampling for Bacteria in Wells ........................................$0.15 Your Actions Can Help Preserve Drinking Water Quality......................................................................................$0.45 The Water Guardian: Chopper Ride-An interactive computer adventure about water quality ..................$0.00 Cryptosporidium in Drinking Water..............................$0.00 Giardia: Drinking Water Fact Sheet................................$0.75 Getting up to Speed: The Water Cycle and Water Conservation..........................................................................$5.00 Water Drop Patch Project..................................................$6.15 The Happy Earth Day Coloring and Activities Book ..$1.80▲ EPA Environmental Education:Water Purification by Evaporation and Condensation......................................$0.15 Consumer Fact Sheet on Cyanide..................................$0.45 Thirstin’s Wacky Water Adventure ................................$1.95▲ Innovative Use of Clean Water State Revolving Funds for Nonpoint Source Pollution ..........................$1.20 Thirstin’s Drinking Water Games & Activities K-12 ..$0.00 Nitrates in your drinking water ......................................$0.35 Drinking Water Standards ................................................$0.70 Emergency Disinfection of Water ..................................$0.30 Using Water Efficiently: Ideas for Residences ............$0.30 Water Quality Protection: Household Hazardous Products ..................................................................................$0.60 Water Quality Protection: Water Conservation in and Around the Home ..................................................$0.60 Flooded Wells ........................................................................$0.00 Water Health Series: Filtration Facts ..............................$0.00 EPA Environmental Education: Non-Point Source Pollution ..................................................................................$0.15 Water: Is it safe to drink?....................................................$0.60 What to do After the Flood ..............................................$0.00 You Can Help your Watershed ........................................$0.00 Safe Drinking Water from Wells in Flooded Areas ..$0.85 Should I Buy a Home Water Treatment System? ......$0.85 Landscape Designs..............................................................$2.55 Landscape Design II ............................................................$2.55 Estimating Water Use and Savings in Your Home....$0.90 Well Construction: What You Need to Know..............$0.15 Fluoride in Private Drinking Water Wells........................$0.60 Solving Water Quality Problems in the Home ..........$2.10 Drinking Water Problems: Iron and Manganese ..........$2.10 Is There Lead in my Drinking Water? ............................$0.00 Home Water Testing............................................................$0.00 Protecting Vulnerable People from Drinking Water Disease and Illness1 ............................................................$0.60 Facts About . . . Well Protection in Flood Prone Areas ........................................................................................$0.30 Cleaning up Our Act ..........................................................$2.10 Arsenic Rule Implementation for Maryland Public Water Systems ......................................................................$2.85 Making Sense of “Right to Know” Reports..................$0.15 Drinking Water Problems: Lead ......................................$0.15 Volatile Organic Compounds in the Nation’s Ground Water and Drinking Water Supply Wells ....$1.70 Physicians for Social Responsibility Primer Series ..$0.00 NESC Products List • www.nesc.wvu.edu

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DWBRPE326 DWFSPE327 DWFSPE328 DWFSPE329 DWFSPE330 DWBLPE331 DWCDPE332 DWBLPE333 DWBLPE334 DWBLPE335 DWBRPE336 DWBRPE337 DWFSPE338

What Do You Know About . . . Microbial Contamination? ......................................................................$.30 The Need to Protect America’s Precious Resource: Drinking Water ........................................................................$.60 Health Information about Arsenic in Drinking Water ..$0.45 Drinking Water Quality in Indian Country: Protecting Your Sources ....................................................$0.60 What Do You Know About . . . Microbial Contamination? ....................................................................$0.30 Water Tests: What do the Numbers Mean? ................$3.90 Virtual Water Treatment Plant Tour..................................0.00 Mercury in Drinking Water ..............................................$0.00 A Health Guide for the Public in Disaster Planning and Recovery ......................................................$0.00 Injection Wells: An Introduction to Their Use, Operation and Regulations ................................$0.00 Clean Water Farming Guide ................................$1.70 Water Facts: How Much Water Do We Use? ........$1.70 Assessing Drinking Water Condition..................$0.90

Healthy Drinking Water for Rhode Islanders: DWFSPE247 Drinking Water Wells ................................................$0.60 Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfate in Private DWFSPE283 Drinking Water Wells ................................................$0.60 DWFSPE284 Ultraviolet Radiation Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies ............................................................$0.60 DWFSPE287 Activated Carbon Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies ............................................................$0.60 DWFSPE288 Distillation Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies ........................................................................$0.60 DWFSPE289 Arsenic in Private Drinking Water Wells ............$0.60 DWFSPE290 Copper in Private Drinking Water Wells ............$0.60 DWFSPE291 Bacteria in Private Drinking Water Wells............$0.60 DWFSPE292 Aeration Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies ..$0.60 DWFSPE293 Drinking Water Standards ......................................$0.60 DWFSPE294 Questions to Ask When Purchasing Home Water Treatment Equipment ................................$0.60 DWFSPE295 Nitrate-Nitrogen in Private Drinking Water Wells................................................................................$0.60 DWFSPE296 Ozone Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies....$0.60 DWFSPE297 Lead in Private Drinking Water Wells ....................$0.60 DWFSPE298 Man-Made Chemicals in Private Drinking Water Wells ..................................................................$0.60 DWFSPE299 Iron and Manganese in Private Drinking Water Wells ..................................................................$0.60 DWFSPE302 Radon in Private Drinking Water Wells ..............$0.60 DWFSPE304 Reverse Osmosis Treatment of Drinking Water Suppliers ..........................................................$0.60 DWFSPE305 pH-Acidity of Private Drinking Water Wells ......$0.60 DWFSPE306 Microfiltration Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies ............................................................$0.60 DWFSPE307 Sodium Chloride in Private Drinking Water Wells................................................................................$0.60 DWFSPE308 Ion Exchange Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies ........................................................................$0.45 Treatment Systems for Household Water Supplies: DWFSPE275 Distillation ....................................................................$1.30 Iron and Manganese Removal ..............................$2.55 DWFSPE276 DWFSPE277 Softening ......................................................................$1.30 DWFSPE280 Chlorination ................................................................$1.30 DWFSPE281 Activated Carbon Filtration ....................................$2.50 36

On Tap Winter 2008 • NESC Products List

REGU LATIONS DWVTRG34

Nontransient Noncommunity Drinking Water: Requirements for Suppliers ..........................................$20.00 DWFSRG73 Technical Fact Sheet: Final Rule for Arsenic in Drinking Water ......................................................................$0.90 DWFSRG77 National Primary Drinking Water Standards ................$0.90 DWFSRG83 Public Notification Rule: A Quick Reference Guide..$0.00 DWFSRG98 Lead and Copper Rule: A Quick Reference Guide ..$0.00 DWBLRG100 Filter Backwash Recycling Rule: A Summary for Systems....................................................................................$0.00 DWBKRG101 LT1ESWTR Disinfection Profiling and Benchmarking Technical Guidance Manual ............................................$0.00 DWCDRG103 Drinking Water Resources: A Collection of Drinking Water Reference Documents & Materials................$10.00 DWBKRG104 Implementation Guidance for the Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment rule ..................$15.00 DWBKRG105 Public Notification Handbook ......................................$21.30 DWFSRG106 Lang Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule: A Quick Reference Guide..........................................$0.30 DWFSRG107 Variances and Exemptions: A Quick Reference Guide ........................................................................................$0.00 DWBKRG108 The Long Term 1 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT1ESWTR) Implementation Guide ....................$0.00 DWFSRG109 Interim Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule ....$0.75 DWBLRG110 Small Systems Guide to Safe Drinking Water Act Regulations: The First STEP to Providing Safe and Reliable Drinking Water ....................................................$0.00 DWDVRG111Nontransient Noncommunity Drinking Water: Requirements for Suppliers ..........................................$10.00 DWBKRG112 Total Coliform Rule: A Handbook for Small Noncommunity Water Systems Serving less than 3,300 ..............................................................................$0.00

RE SE ARC H DWBKRE11 DWBKRE15 DWBKRE29 DWBLRE30

DWBLRE31

DWCDRE32 DWBKRE33

Control of Lead and Copper in Drinking Water......$17.10 Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Technology in Drinking Water Application: An Overview ..................$38.85 Drinking Water and Ground Water Data Within the 305(b) Program ..................................................................$16.95 Occurrence of Selected Radionuclides in Ground Water Used for Drinking Water in the United States: A Reconnaissance Survey, 1998 ........................$5.85 Assessing Ground-Water Vulnerability to Contamination: Providing Scientifically Defensible Information for Decision Makers ............$0.50 Interactive Workshop on Arsenic Removal from Drinking Water ......................................................................$0.00 Delivering Timely Water Quality Information to Your Community: The Jefferson Parish-Louisiana Project ......................................................................................$0.00

TRAINING DWBLTR05 DWBKTR12 DWCDTR18 DWCDTR19 DWCDTR20

DWCDTR21 DWCDTR22 DWCDTR23 DWCDTR24

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WORD PUZZLE* groundwater training operator certification calculations formula water test colonias development community system treatment distribution surface quality

*Solution on page 39

QUOTES

WATER TRIVIA How much water does a typical shower use? 9 11 14 22

gallons per minute gallons per minute gallons per minute gallons per minute

According to the American Water Works Association, the average shower uses nine gallons of water per minute. If you take a three-minute shower, as encouraged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you will use about 27 gallons of water. A bath, by comparison, requires 30 to 50 gallons of water.

a) b) c) d)

Wordsearch by Sheila Anderson

Hmmmm In an eight-ounce glass of water, there are approximately 8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (8 septillion) water molecules. Source: American Water Works Association

Children of a culture born in a water-rich environment, we have never really learned how important water is to us. We understand it, but we do not respect it. —William Ashworth (1942– ) The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage. —Mark Russell (1932– ) Water is a very good servant, but it is a cruel master. —C.G.D. Roberts (dates unknown) For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea. —E. E. Cummings (1894–1962)

www.nesc.wvu.edu

37

By Trina Wafle, NRCCE Associate Director

The next time you’re faced with yet another committee meeting about the fate of your town’s water system, remember this: chances are the group will come up with a better decision than any single member alone, and quite likely a better decision than any expert. In the best seller The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki argues that, “‘chasing the expert’ is a mistake, and a costly one at that. We should stop hunting and ask the crowd instead. Chances are it knows.” Even a group of moderately informed or intelligent individuals will arrive at a better solution collectively than most extremely well-informed individual experts will offer. Keep in mind that group diversity and individual independence of thought are critical. Surowieki presents evidence for three types of problems that are exceptionally well suited for group thinking: problems of cognition having definite solutions, problems of coordination, and problems of cooperation. Problems of coordination and of cooperation may be particularly relevant to small communities.

38

On Tap Winter 2008

Problems of Coordination For problems of coordination, individuals’ beliefs about the right answer are tempered by what others believe is the right answer: “What each person does affects and depends on what everyone else will do, and vice versa,” says Surowiecki. Because of the interdependent nature of such problems, “there’s no guarantee that groups will come up with smart solutions. What’s striking, though, is just how often they do.” Surowiecki offers the “El Farol problem” designed by economist Brian Arthur as one example. El Farol is a bar in Santa Fe that is a great place to be when it’s 60 percent full. Any more crowded than that, and there are too many people to have a good time. (Who says economists don’t know how to have fun?!) Arthur created a computer model composed of so-called “agents” having various strategies for deciding whether El Farol would be fun tonight. Arthur simulated 100 weeks’ worth of decisions. For any given night, Arthur’s model could not definitively answer the question, “Is tonight the night to go to El

Farol?” But as Suroweicki explains, “What was remarkable about the experiment…was [that] during those one hundred weeks, the [“model”] bar was—on average—exactly 60 percent full, which is precisely what the group as a whole wanted it to be.” This simple example, in which no definitive answer could be derived for any specific instance, shows how very difficult coordination problems can be to solve. Suroweicki notes that social conventions, cultural norms, and bottom-up (vs. top-down) approaches all help, as do laws.

Problems of Cooperation “It’s impossible for society to rely on law alone to make sure citizens act honestly and responsibly,” Suroweicki points out. Which brings us to problems of cooperation. Among other things, fair play matters. He offers taxpaying as one of many interesting examples. In the case of taxes, he says, “three things matter…people have to trust their neighbors…[to] generally do the right thing…trust in the government…[to] spend your tax dollars wisely…[and]…trust that the state will find and punish the guilty, and avoid punishing the innocent.

For many years, the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse has provided products at no charge. Now, we’ve implemented a fee structure for some of our products. Of course this seems like bad news, but in some ways it isn’t. Here’s why: We still offer dozens of free products. We’re not getting rich on this, we’re only recouping the money we spend obtaining and distributing the products.

Trina Wafle is the associate director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, the larger division in which the National Environmental Services Center is housed.

We’ll be able to expand our product offerings because we can now provide items that would’ve been rejected due to their cost. View a partial products list on pages 33-36. The complete products list can be found on the NDWC Web site at www.ndwc.wvu.edu. If you don’t have Internet access or you’d like to discuss your particular situation, please call us toll free at (800) 624-8301 and select option “3” to talk with one of our technical assistance specialists.

WORD PUZZLE ANSWER KEY

“The U.S. model—which is, by global standards, successful, since despite Americans’ vehement anti-tax rhetoric they actually evade taxes far less than Europeans do—suggests that while law and regulation have a key role to play in encouraging taxpaying, they work only when there is an underlying willingness to contribute to the public good,” Surowiecki writes. All of which suggests the strong possibility that through a “group-think” process, rural Americans who have some modicum of information and a basic understanding about water system options can decide for themselves which systems work best for them, including the means for paying for systems that serve the public good. In the end, Suroweicki’s thesis—that we’re typically smarter together than alone—can be heartwarming. At the very least, the insights revealed in The Wisdom of Crowds may help us endure one more committee meeting!

A new year often prompts people to make changes. At the National Environmental Services Center, we greeted 2008 by launching a new and improved Web site. In development for more than a year, the new site features better access to NESC information and new features to help our Web visitors get the water, wastewater, and environmental training information they need. “We wanted to rearrange the information we’ve been amassing since the early 1990s in a way that would make sense to our customers,” says Julie Black, NESC web designer.“At the same time, we still wanted to retain the valuable services provided by our key programs, the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse, the National Small Flows Clearinghouse, and the National Environmental Training Center for Small Communities. We believe that the new site not only looks better but that users will be able to find what they need more easily.” The new NESC site features access to our various publications, free and low-cost products, databases, and information about different water and wastewater topics.

On Tap Magazine Drinking Water News for America’s Small Communities National Environmental Services Center

West Virginia University Research Corporation West Virginia University P.O. Box 6064 Morgantown, WV 26506-6064

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