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WaterOperator.org Blog

Free Compliance Resources for Monitoring & Reporting

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Our 2020 free webinar series highlighted compliance-related resources on a number of topics. This recording contains information and free resources on monitoring and reporting. Listed below are all the resources mentioned in the video.

National Primary Drinking Water Regulations

This 7-page factsheet from the U.S. EPA includes information on 87 regulated contaminants, maximum contaminants levels, potential health effects, contaminant sources, and treatment technique requirements. 

Drinking Water Dashboard

This website contains information on the number of public drinking water site visits, violations, serious violators, enforcement actions, and returns to compliance. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule

This is a 3-page quick reference guide from the U.S. EPA on the public health benefits, requirements, provisions, and assessments associated with the revised total coliform rule. 

Vermont DEC Pocket Sampling Guide to RTCR

This is a small pocket guide with information on complying with the RTCR sampling requirements. 

EPA RTCR Placards

This document includes 6 fillable place cards related to RTCR monitoring requirements designed for systems serving 1,000 or less people. 

Repeat Monitoring Requirements For Small Systems

This is a reference guide developed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Monitoring on monitoring requirements for public water systems servings less than 1,000 people. 

Flowchart for Triggered Source Water Monitoring 

This is a flowchart developed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for water systems on quarterly and monthly schedules. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule: Routine Positive Sample Flowchart (For Community Water Supplies) 

This is a flowchart from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on what to do when a system triggers a routine sample. 

Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR) Sample Siting Plan with Template Manual

This is a sample siting plan template from the U.S. EPA designed for primacy agencies to give to public water systems serving less than 1,000.

Public Notification Instructions and Templates for the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR)

This is a 38-page document from the U.S. EPA that includes instructions as well as templates for reporting RTCR violations.

Ground Water Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

This is a 2-page reference guide with information on the groundwater rule. 

Ground Water Rule Compliance Help for Water System Owners and Operators
This is a U.S. EPA website with information and resources for complying with requirements of the Ground Water Rule.

Ground Water Rule Factsheet: Monitoring Requirements

This is a 6-page factsheet from the U.S. EPA with information on monitoring requirements for the Ground Water Rule. 

Ground Water Rule (GWR) Monitoring Requirements

This is a placard developed by the U.S. EPA with information on consecutive systems with their own source conducting triggered source water monitoring. 

Ground Water Rule Factsheet: Public Notification, Consumer Confidence Report, and Special Notice Requirements for Community Water Systems

This is a factsheet from the U.S. EPA with information on public notification requirements and consumer confidence report requirements. 

The Standardized Monitoring Framework: A Quick Reference Guide

This is a quick reference guide developed by the U.S. EPA with information on the standard monitoring framework for chemical contaminants. 

Nitrate Monitoring Requirements

This is a printable poster by the U.S. EPA Printable poster designed to help operators know who to contact and what to do based on their nitrate sampling results.

12 Steps to Arsenic Compliance

This is a 1-page factsheet from the U.S. EPA with steps that public water systems should take to achieve arsenic compliance. 

Complying With the Revised Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic: Small Entity Compliance Guide

This is a 58-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA on arsenic compliance for smaller systems that includes information on monitoring requirements, compliance determination, reporting and notification requirements, and arsenic monitoring worksheets. 

Chemical Phase II/V Rules

This 19 slide presentation from the U.S. EPA features information on key requirements, maintaining compliance, best sampling practices, and resources related to chemical phase II/V rules. 

Chemical Contaminant Notification Forms

This webpage for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers numerous public notice templates on topics like chemical violations, boil order notices, and microbial violations. 

Arsenic in Your Drinking Water

This is a 2-page factsheet from the U.S. EPA on arsenic contamination in drinking water. 

Talking to Customers About Chronic Contaminants in Drinking Water 

This factsheet from the U.S. EPA was designed to help public water systems understand the importance of communicating and educating consumers about the contaminants in their water.

A-Z Index of Contaminants in Water
This webpage from the Minnesota  Department of Health features an alphabetized list of information on numerous contaminants found in drinking water. 

Chemical Contaminants in Water
This is a webpage from the Oregon Health Authority with a list of bulletins with information on the potential health effects of drinking water containing these chemicals.

Comprehensive Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rules (Stage 1 and Stage 2): Quick Reference Guide

This reference guide from the U.S. EPA has information about stage 1 and stage 2 of the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule. 

Public Notification Templates for Community and Non-transient Non-community Water Systems
This website has numerous templates to assist primacy agencies with implementing the Public Notification Rule.

Initial Distribution System Evaluation Guidance Manual

This is a 434-page manual from the U.S. EPA that covers the various components of an IDSE and provides guidance on how to conduct standard monitoring. 

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR) Compliance Monitoring Plan Template for Public Water Supply Systems

This is an 11-page template that provides instructions on what information should be included in the plan, stage 2 DBPR requirements on selecting the most appropriate sites for sampling, and developing a sketch of the distribution system.

NC DEQ Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Monitoring Chart

This chart lists monitoring requirements for DBPs for water systems on routine monitoring, reduced monitoring, and increased monitoring. 

Sample Collector's Handbook Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule

This 21-page handbook from IL EPA was designed to assist public water systems in complying with the sampling portion of the Stage 2 DBPR.

Understanding the Lead and Copper Rule

This is a 2-page document from the U.S. EPA that gives an overview of the Lead and Copper Rule. 

Lead and Copper Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

This 2-page reference guide from the U.S. EPA provides an overview of information on the Lead and Copper Rule. 

Lead and Copper Rule Monitoring and Reporting Guidance for Public Water Systems

This is a 124- page manual from the U.S. EPA on various monitoring and reporting requirements under the Lead and Copper Rule.

Lead and Copper Rule

This webpage from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy lists a variety of videos and templates on Lead and Copper Rule compliance. 

Lead and Copper Rule

This webpage from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality provides visual depictions to better understand Lead and Copper Rule compliance steps. 

Lead and Copper Rule: Public Education and Consumer Notification Requirements for Non-Transient non-Community Water Systems (NTNCWS) 

This is a 4- page factsheet from the U.S. EPA that provides a guidance manual for NTNCWS. 

Implementing the Lead Public Education Provisions of the Lead and Copper Rule: A Guide for Community Water Systems

This is a 114- page guide on public education resources on the Lead and Copper Rule for community water systems. 

Consumer Confidence Report Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

This is a 2-page reference guide from the U.S. EPA that gives an overview of the Consumer Confidence Report Rule. 

Best Practices Factsheet: Consumer Confidence Report 

This is a 16-page guide on best practices for developing an effective Consumer Confidence Report.

Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) Basics

This is a 26-minute webinar from the Michigan EGLE on the components of a CCR, the language that should be used, and tips on writing an effective report.

Revised Public Notification Handbook

This is a 180-page guidance document from the U.S. EPA with instructions on how to develop public notification.

The Public Notification Rule: A Quick Reference Guide

This is a 4-page reference guide from the U.S. EPA that provides an overview of the Public Notification Rule. 

Please note that we are not able to provide certificates for watching a webinar recording.

How to Find Free Webinars on WaterOperator.org

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Our staff at WaterOperator.org work hard to make sure operators can easily find all potential training opportunities for their water or wastewater operator certification using our national training calendar. This calendar currently links to over 11,000 events each year, all of which are pre-approved for operator continuing education credits and many which are free. Whether it’s a training hosted by your primacy agency, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, a subsection of the American Water Works Association, or another local training provider, we strive to list them all.

Given the increased demand for virtual training opportunities, we’ve recently created a tutorial to help you optimize your search for live, online training. We hope that this video will help you to more easily meet the training requirements under your certification.

Please note, that these opportunities all have a time and date associated with their registration. We do not list on-demand training in our calendar. If you require assistance searching for pre-approved, on-demand training opportunities, please email us at info@wateroperator.org.

Free Compliance Resources for DBPs

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Our 2020 free webinar series highlighted compliance-related resources on a number of topics. This recording contains information and free resources on DBPs. Listed below are all the resources mentioned in the video.

Comprehensive Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rules (Stage 1 and Stage 2): Quick Reference Guide
The 4-page fact sheet overviews both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rules. Operators will learn about each rule's requirements including monitoring requirements, MCLs, MCLGs, compliance determination, and the contaminants included under each rule.

Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This four-page fact sheet provides detailed information on Stage 1 of the Disinfection Byproducts Rule and its history. 

Fact Sheet: Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This is a four-page fact sheet that uses questions and answers format to help water systems understand what stage 2 of the Disinfection Byproducts Rule entails. 

Regulating Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts 
This 2-page fact sheet created by the Washington State Department of Health is geared towards new water operators that are interested in learning more about Disinfection Byproducts Rule. 

Initial Distribution System Evaluation Guidance Manual For The Final Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This is a 434- page manual from the U.S. EPA that covers various components of an initial distribution system evaluation. 

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR) Compliance Monitoring Plan Template For Public Water Supply Systems
This is an 11- page template with information from the U.S. EPA on public water supply systems and operations instructions on selecting appropriate monitoring sites for TTHM and HAA5. 

North Carolina DEQ Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Template 
This website page from the North Carolina DEQ includes a 15-page template and an 8-page instruction manual with information on how to monitor for TOC, chlorine dioxide, chlorite, bromate, and DBP precursors. 

Monitoring Plan for the Disinfectants/ Disinfection Byproducts Rules
This 27-page template and 10-page instruction manual from the Pennsylvania DEP includes a monitoring plan as reference. 

Stage 2- Disinfection Byproducts Monitoring Chart
This is a one-page fact sheet from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality that lists monitoring requirements for disinfection byproducts. 

Disinfectants / Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Rules Monitoring & Reporting Requirements For Public Water Systems
This 16-page factsheet from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provides monitoring requirements for DBPs, disinfection residuals, and TOC. 

Sample Collector's Handbook Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule
This 21-page handbook from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency outlines monitoring requirements, reduced/ increased monitoring, determining MCL compliance, performing and OEL, and sample collection tips. 

Sampling Procedures for TTHM and HAA5
This 14-minute video from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality lists components of a sampling kit, proper techniques and considerations when collecting TTHM and HAA5 samples, and chlorine residual sampling as well. 

How To Collect A Drinking Water Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM) Sample
This is a 3-minute video on proper TTHM sample collection following EPA Method 524.3.

How To Collect A Drinking Water Haloacetic Acid (HAA5) Sample
This is a 2-minute video on proper HAA5 sample collection following EPA Method 552.2.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Operational Evaluation Guidance Manual
This is a 180-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA on requirements for operational evaluations, guidance for documents and reporting forms for OEL exceedance, and guidance on minimizing future OEL exceedances.

Water Quality Assessment Software (WQAS)
This is an excel sheet from the Department of Environmental Quality that can help water systems track DBP data (TTHM, HAA5), parameters affecting DBP formation (Water chemistry), and system-specific parameters. 

Regulating Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts
This 2-page fact sheet from the Washington Department of Health includes a table of disinfectants as well as advantages and disadvantages for each disinfectant. 

Recommended Treatment Techniques for Controlling Disinfection By-Products
This is a 20- page guidance document from Florida Rural Water Association on treatment techniques for small to medium-sized water systems. 

Disinfection By-Products Troubleshooting Guide
This is a 4-page factsheet from the Florida Rural Water Association on troubleshooting process changes in water treatment, distribution system, and source water changes.

Public Notification Templates for Community and Non-transient Non-community Water Systems
This website provides a list of public notification templates to assist primacy agencies with implementing the Public Notification Rule.

Complying With the Stage 1 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Basic Guide
This 50-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA provides information about the health risks associated with DBPs, monitoring requirements of the Stage 1 DBPR, how to determine if systems are in compliance, how to maintain compliance, reporting requirements, and how the Stage 1 DBPR compliance can affect other rules.

Complying with the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule: Small Entity Compliance Guide 
This 57-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA provides information on Stage 2 DBPR requirements, compliance monitoring requirements, how to select monitoring sites, operational evaluation, locating and fixing problems, financial assistance information, and public notice requirements.

Simultaneous Compliance Guidance Manual for the Long Term 2 and Stage 2 DBP Rules
This 462-page manual from the U.S. EPA provides information on how to identify and mitigate issues that systems will face when implementing changes necessary to comply with the Stage 2 DBPR and LT2ESWTR while still being required to comply with other SDWA regulations.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule Consecutive Systems Guidance Manual 
This 73-page guidance manual from the U.S. EPA provides information on stage 2 DBPR requirements for consecutive systems, compliance options for consecutive systems, communication strategies between consecutive and wholesale systems to improve water quality from wholesale systems, and developing consecutive system compliance strategies to meet the stage 2 monitoring requirements.

EPA Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs): Regulatory Issues and Solutions
This 54-minute webinar provides a review of the Stage 2 DBPR monitoring and reporting requirements and of small system DBP challenges in the State of Washington while highlighting a few success stories.

EPA Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule and Simultaneous Compliance Webinar
This 70-minute webinar provides a review of the Stage 2 DBPR and EPA’s 2018 In-Depth Analysis and of challenges water systems face during simultaneous compliance between the Stage 2 DBPR and other NPDWRs.

Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (DBPR) and Consecutive System In-Depth Analysis
This is a 35-page report from the U.S. EPA on approaches to optimize systems and reduce DBPs through EPA’s Area-Wide Optimization Programs (AWOP).

Reducing Disinfection Byproducts through Optimization Webinar Series
This is a 4 part webinar series from ASDWA that shares optimization-based tools and approaches for DBP control from various states.

Please note that we are not able to provide certificates for watching a webinar recording.

Advanced Social Media Tips and Tricks for Public Water Systems

In 2020, we partnered with the Illinois Section AWWA to deliver two social media webinars. Both were recorded. (See the 101-level webinar.) The advanced-level webinar helps public water systems take their online presence to the next level, enhancing visibility and trust of your organization. Topics will include content planning, scheduling tools, customer service SOPs, proactive strategies, local collaborations, and more! The value of “personal-professional” social media profiles will also be discussed.

The recording is available for free with registration and is pre-approved in Illinois for 1 training credit hour for operators and engineers.

SURE! Sustainable Utilities Research and Education

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SURE! is a program within the Cal Poly School of Civil and Environmental Engineering that seeks to find solutions within the water-energy nexus that will provide sustainable solutions to wastewater recycling and resource recovery. The mission of the SURE! program is to help expand the wastewater recycling workforce and develop new sustainable technologies. The program received a WEF award for its commitment to water treatment education and research. The SURE team has worked on algae-based wastewater treatment, algae biofuels, conversion of wastewater solids to energy, potable re-use, and dairy wastewater treatment. 

Most Clicked Newsletter Sources in 2021

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Over the course of 2021, we published dozens of newsletters relaying the most important and applicable information throughout the year. There were some sources that stood out to our readers more than others. Listed below are the most clicked sources that were listed in our newsletters throughout 2021. 

‘They thought I was so low’: Women say they were harassed, bullied, ignored at the powerful water agency
This Los Angeles Times article discusses the experiences of three different women in the water industry around California who have each experienced various forms of harassment at work. 

Water Infrastructure Receives Low Grades on ASCE Infrastructure Report Card
The water sector continued to receive poor marks on the American Society of Civil Engineers 2021 Infrastructure Report Card. 

Florida Officials Warn of 20-Foot ‘Wall of Water’ if Reservoir Breaches
A wastewater treatment facility in Piney Point Florida had a leak so concerning it caused hundreds of people in the surrounding area to be evacuated. 

Deadly Water Tank Explosion Caught on Astonishing Video in Central Valley
A 1.5 million gallon city water tank exploded in Central Valley California and it was caught on camera.

Chlorine Shortage: Cities Ask People to Reduce Water Use
States across the West were experiencing a chlorine shortage that was beginning to impact their drinking water utilities.

Worsening Climate Extremes and Failing Infrastructure are Inexorably Intertwined
In the United States, we are seeing that the effects of climate change are exacerbated because of the country's failing infrastructure.

Ida Remnants Pound Northeast With Rain, Flooding, Tornadoes
Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on water and wastewater utilities across the country. 

“Flushable” Wipes are Ruining Sewage Plants
Verge Science explains why "flushable" wipes are not actually flushable.

Resilient Strategies Guide for Water Utilities
This tool can help utilities develop plans that address their unique needs and priorities.

WEF Announces Operator Scholarships
The Water Environmental Federation (WEF) announced the availability of scholarships of $2,500 to $5,000 for operators seeking certification or professional development.

River Runner Tool
This innovative tool can be used to track the path of a raindrop from anywhere in the United States. 

Water Affordability Dashboard
A dashboard of information about the cost of water services and affordability for single-family residential homes in the United States. 

Child Dresses Up as Water Tower for Halloween 
A TikTok video went viral of a little girl who dressed up as a water tower for Halloween. 

Operator Educates Millions on TikTok
A wastewater treatment plant operator gained millions of views on TikTok after posting numerous informational videos on various wastewater topics.

 

Social Media 101 for Public Water Systems

In 2020, we partnered with the Illinois Section AWWA to deliver two social media webinars. Both were recorded. (See the advanced-level webinar.) The 101 webinar debunks some of the top social media myths and help public water systems understand the importance of maintaining an active presence. The most popular platforms will be introduced, along with content examples, etiquette and expectations, and best practices for starting (or expanding) your social media activity.

The recording is available for free with registration and is pre-approved in Illinois for 1 training credit hour for operators and engineers.

Decentralized Wastewater Infrastructure Challenges in the Alabama Black Belt

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A quarter of Americans rely on decentralized wastewater systems, including septic tanks, because they are too far away from municipal sewers or the local environment cannot support a wastewater treatment plant.

Decentralized wastewater treatment facilities can offer economic and environmental benefits to a community, but they can also be dangerous to public health and the local ecosystem if they are not designed properly.

In the Black Belt region of Central Alabama, the rural landscape and heavy clay soils make it difficult to establish a traditional wastewater facility. These communities have struggled with wastewater management for years and the U.S. EPA (with many partners) has been working to help develop long-term solutions.

Impermeable soil, high rates of poverty, and no sewer access can result in difficult choices. Some communities in this region use straight pipes to carry wastewater to a nearby location like a ditch or woods, where residents can then be exposed to raw sewage.

Decentralized wastewater treatment systems can use a variety of different approaches to process a community’s wastewater, but there are also financial and managerial solutions that can be explored. Responsibilities can be better distributed and organized with community leadership. Individuals who attend community meetings and communicate with their state and local government officials are more likely to have their voice heard. 

The newly passed infrastructure bill is set to contribute $150 million in decentralized household grants over five years to help low-income homeowners construct or repair failing septic systems. Investments are also needed in cost-effective treatment technologies and innovative approaches to help municipal wastewater systems reach rural communities. 

Dig Deep, an organization that helps bring running water and adequate sanitation to communities across the United States, created a decentralized wastewater innovation cohort to help connect rural communities with innovative solutions. 

The Alabama Black Belt is just one of many regions of the United States that are struggling, with a history of environmental injustice compounding logistical challenges. Roughly 2.2 million Americans across the United States still do not have running water or adequate sanitation. 

The information in this blog post was presented at a U.S. EPA webinar in May 2021. A recording is available to explore this topic in more depth:

An Epidemic of Distrust in American Tap Water

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Covid-19 is not the only public health crisis in the United States. A large number of Americans also don't trust their tap water. Some have good reason, others do not.

A study published in 2021 found that nearly 60 million people in the U.S. do not drink their tap water as of 2017- 2018, with these numbers higher among Black and Hispanic households, particularly after the Flint lead crisis.

Environmental injustice plays a significant role in the disparities that exist, according to the study, deepening health impacts as individuals replace water with sugary beverages. The researchers suggest that this issue can be tackled on an individual and systemic level, and that both are necessary and effective.

Greater investment in water infrastructure, especially in historically disadvantaged communities, can help prevent frequent failures in the water system, the study concludes. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is set to fund led service line replacement, address contaminants like PFAS, and specifically aid small water systems. 

The water industry also needs to build back trust in the tap, the researchers say. Customers usually have more faith in their water when their water utility communicates with them often, and especially during a crisis. The community drinking water advisory guidance document found on our document database offers answers to many commonly asked questions during a drinking water advisory.

Cities like Philadelphia are trying to take a stand against this crisis in innovative ways by helping their communities regain trust in their tap water. Making sure water quality reports are accessible can help customers feel empowered to understand how they receive safe water and when action is necessary.

The research also made sure to take into account the roughly 2 million Americans who don't have access to safe drinking water

Board Member Training Resources

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Board members play an essential role in sustainable and well-functioning water utilities. As part of a governing body for a water or wastewater system, it is the job of a board member to approve major decisions about it. They share responsibility with the water system manager(s) and operator(s) for protecting public health and the environment.

In order to make sound decisions, board members need an understanding of the technical, managerial, and financial components of their community's water infrastructure. And as there are different issues and challenges between water and wastewater, board members need appropriate topical training.

Here are a selection of resources from our document library:

The Big Guide for Small Systems: A Resource for Board Members
Rural Community Assistance Partnership
This 172-page handbook is intended for both new and experienced members of the board of directors of a drinking water or wastewater utility or members of the highest governing board of a system.

A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator's Guide to Wastewater Systems
Rural Community Assistance Partnership
This 60-page handbook explains in simple, everyday language the various components/operations of a small wastewater system from when the customer flushes his/her toilet through collection, treatment, and return to source. 

A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator's Guide to Drinking Water Systems
Rural Community Assistance Partnership
This 52-page handbook explains in simple, everyday language the technical aspects of drinking water utilities from source to tap.

A Guide to Selecting Consultants for Rural Communities
Rural Community Assistance Corporation
This 67-page handbook outlines a step-by-step process for selecting and hiring consultants to plan, design, and manage the construction of public water and wastewater facilities.

“Basic Training” for Drinking Water Board Members On-Line Course Reference Guide
Massachusetts DEP
This 72-page guide provides information to support the work of the governing boards, as they work to understand the complexities of managing a drinking water system and remain in compliance with strict public regulations.