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WaterOperator.org Blog

Water Security/ Emergency Response Guides

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Water and wastewater utilities are responsible for taking action to protect their infrastructure, security practices should be incorporated into a utility's everyday business functions. Activities such as fence-cutting and lock-picking (often dismissed as harmless) may be indications of more serious threats to a water or wastewater system. Utilities must be prepared to respond to this type of threat, as well as a wide range of other emergencies, including natural disasters and cyberattacks. Improved security preparations provide for a more effective and efficient response from your utility.

We have 1,220 resources (and counting) on Water Security/ Emergency Response in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents like a Community Water System Emergency Response Plan template, U.S. EPA's Water Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (WCAT), and guides on hazard mitigation for natural disasters, and many other useful guides that will help you to deliver safe and clean water to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Water Security/ Emergency Response within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Water Security/ Emergency Response." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Water Reuse for Sustainability

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Water reuse is recycling treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin (aka ground water recharge.) Water recycling offers resource and financial savings, but there are concerns that some chemicals, like pharmaceuticals, may remain in treated water.

We have 328 resources (and counting) on Water Reuse in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents on constructed wetlands for greywater recycling and reuse, a list of common terms used when discussing water reuse, potable reuse to diversify water supplies, and many other useful guides that will help you to provide excellent service to utility customers.

To access the wealth of knowledge on Water Reuse within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Water Reuse." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Available Resources on Wastewater Treatment

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Domestic wastewater treatment, or sewage treatment, is the removal of contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff (effluents) and domestic. It includes the physical, chemical, and biological processes used to remove physical, chemical, and biological contaminants. The objective is to produce an environmentally safe fluid waste stream (or treated effluent) and a solid waste (or treated sludge) suitable for disposal or reuse as farm fertilizer. 

We have 2,279 resources (and counting) on Wastewater Treatment in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents on monitoring and data management, no-cost and low-cost operational upgrades for existing wastewater treatment plants, design challenges with liquid effluent collection, and many other useful guides that will help you to provide excellent service to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Wastewater Treatment within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Wastewater Treatment." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Source Water Protection for Communities with Decentralized Wastewater | Recorded on May 28, 2024

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In this recording of our recent live webinar "Source Water Protection for Communities with Decentralized Wastewater" viewers will discover some of the most helpful source water protection resources and learn how to use our search tools at WaterOperator.org to find additional resources and training events. 

This webinar series from WaterOperator.org covers topics relevant to wastewater operators, including funding, asset management, compliance, and water quality. Certificates of attendance will be delivered upon request to live attendees, but are not available for watching this replay. 

Water Rights for Cash in Nevada

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Many landowners all over the state of Nevada are choosing to surrender their water rights​ in exchange for cash payments. The constant drought conditions combined with over pumping have depleted the groundwater that communities depend on, and many landowners have made the decision to sell their water rights rather than drilling a new well or extending an existing well. 

The Voluntary Water Rights Retirement Program​ was allocated $25 million in funding and was created to purchase groundwater rights from private landowners in over-pumped, over-appropriated basins in several Nevada communities. The Central Nevada Regional Water Authority​ is an agency that proactively addresses water resource issues in this region, and they report that there are "25 over-appropriated groundwater basins, eight of which are also over-pumped."

As of May 2024, the program has "received commitments to retire more than 25,000 acre-feet of groundwater annually...which is about the average amount of water in both the Boca Reservoir and Donner Lake any given year." Water regulators have until September 2024 to enter into contracts and acquire water rights.

Most of the funding will likely go to Diamond Valley, NV which is the state's only "critical management area." This means that "the valley’s groundwater levels are rapidly declining, and groundwater rights holders in the area are required to create a plan to address over-pumping or risk losing their rights...If all sales go through, the state expects to retire about 30% of the annual groundwater yield in Diamond Valley," said Jeff Fontaine, Executive Director of the Central Nevada Regional Water Authority and the Humboldt River Basin Water Authority.

Due to the success of this limited program, water managers and conservation groups in the state have expressed the need to make Voluntary Water Rights Retirement a permanent, statewide program. 

Wastewater Discharge/ Effluent

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This category is in reference to wastewater discharge, either treated or untreated, that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. The documents within this category generally refer to wastes discharged into surface waters.

We have 893 resources (and counting) on Wastewater Discharge/ Effluent in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents like "how to" guides for wastewater management of rural, underserved communities, case studies that shine a light on how to develop solutions to meet regulatory constraints, and many other useful guides that will help you to deliver safe and clean water to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Wastewater Discharge/ Effluent within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "WasteWater Discharge/ Effluent." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Water and Wastewater Utility Management

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The federal government and many states and national organizations put emphasis on training for water utility boards and other individuals and entities responsible for utility management. The water sector faces a number of challenges at an organizational level, including an aging workforce that’s getting ready to retire, aging infrastructure that’s approaching the end of its useful life, future (or current) water shortages in various areas of the country, and increasingly stringent U.S. EPA standards for both finished drinking water and wastewater effluent. By giving managers and board members a broader perspective on the water sector and the tools to manage well, state and federal agencies and TA organizations hope to prepare utilities for the challenges ahead.   

We have over 2,500 resources (and counting) on Utility Management in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents about best practices in building and evaluating managerial capacity, funding to develop a cybersecurity program, how to ensure your utility becomes more “climate ready," and many other useful guides that will help you to deliver safe and clean water to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Utility Management within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Utility Management." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Resources for Water Operators on Tribal Lands

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Native American and Alaskan Native communities are more likely to lack access to drinking water and basic wastewater services than other population groups in the United States. Many tribal systems struggle to find and keep certified operators, raise the money to keep the system going, and keep the board engaged with the utility’s needs and responsibilities.

We have 470 resources (and counting) on Tribal Systems in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents with information on the distribution of funding under the PWSS Tribal Grant Program among EPA Regions, learn more about U.S. EPA's Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program, PFAS resources for tribal communities, and many other useful guides that will help you to deliver safe and clean water to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Tribal Systems within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Tribal." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Coliform Sampling

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There are a variety of bacteria, parasites, and viruses which can cause health problems when humans ingest them in drinking water. Testing water for each of these germs would be difficult and expensive. Instead, water quality and public health workers measure for the presence of bacteria in drinking water using coliform bacteria as an indicator. The presence of any coliforms in drinking water suggests that there may be disease-causing agents in the water.

We have 499 resources (and counting) on Total Coliform in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents on potential pathways for coliform contamination, coliform bacteria and well water sampling, best practices for coliform sampling, and many other useful guides that will help you to deliver safe and clean water to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Total Coliform within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Total Coliform." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.

Stormwater Runoff

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Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (i.e. paved streets, parking lots, building rooftops, etc.), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment, and other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated. Storm sewers can be connected to sanitary sewers and is treated as wastewater when that is the case, so that when discharged it is better for the environment.

We have 554 resources (and counting) on Stormwater in our Documents Database that provide valuable information on this topic. You can search for documents on wet weather management strategies, how to verify the source of inappropriate discharges to storm drainage systems, how to develop a CSO Long-Term Control Plan, and many other useful guides that will help you to deliver safe and clean water to utility customers. 

To access the wealth of knowledge on Stormwater within our database just select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Stormwater." Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "HOST," “TYPE,” or “STATE” to narrow the search even further. If you have a specific search term in mind, use the “Keyword Filter” search bar on the right side of the screen.

This is part of our A-Z for Operators series.