RCAP Solutions is Providing Water Auditing and Leakage Management Assistance to Water Utilities in the Centre County, PA Region

We are pleased to reach out and share the news that RCAP Solutions is partnering with Cavanaugh & Associates, P.A. and Kunkel Water Efficiency Consulting to provide technical assistance and training to water utilities in the Bald Eagle Creek Watershed area of Centre County, Pennsylvania on water auditing and leakage management. Utilities will learn best practice methods for compiling an annual water audit and water loss control techniques, helping them conserve large volumes of water, and enabling them to be more financially resilient and environmentally sustainable. This program is made possible thanks to generous funding from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

Water utilities in the Bald Eagle Creek Watershed and adjacent areas are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. Because the Bald Eagle Creek Watershed in Centre County is a designated priority watershed and potentially water stressed area, conservation efforts play an important role in environmental sustainability. RCAP Solutions and its technical assistance partners will be offering services based on the American Water Works Association (AWWA)’s best practice and water auditing and leakage management methods.

The services being offered include:

  • AWWA Water Audit Training: We will be hosting a 2-day in-person training during the Spring of 2023. This training will be open to all utilities in Centre County, Pennsylvania and nearby communities and will provide education on the AWWA Free Water Audit Software and advanced leakage management methods. It is intended that the training will qualify for continuing education hours for certified water system operators under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). There is no cost to the water utility to attend this event. Additional information regarding this event will be announced soon. It is expected that the training will be repeated later in 2023 and 2024.
  • Water Audit Validation & Operational Assessments: For select utilities, we will be conducting a detailed evaluation of their water audit (known as a water audit validation), including inspection and evaluation of production flowmeters and supply data, leak and main break data, pressure management practices, customer metering and billing practices, review of the costs of water production and operations, and development of recommendations for improvements in measuring water withdrawals, water auditing, and leakage management. For most water utilities this service will be at no cost.
  • Implement Advanced Leakage Management: For select utilities, we will provide engineering guidance and direction to install equipment (funded by our grant from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission) to establish advanced leakage controls, which may include installation of one or more District Metered Areas (DMA), advanced pressure management, leak noise logging/correlation, and other techniques. Participating utilities may be requested to make a modest in-kind funding contribution to participate at this level of the program.

Nationwide, an estimated six billion gallons of water per day is taken from water sources but never reaches the customer; this is enough water to supply the drinking water needs of the ten largest cities in the United States. Water loss also results in revenue loss for many utilities.

Through this initiative, RCAP Solutions and its partners aim to advance the knowledge and skills of utilities in regard to water loss control techniques, help them to conserve water, and to improve their financial resiliency and environmental sustainability.

If your utility is interested in participating in this program or would like further information, please contact Sukhwindar Singh, Pennsylvania State Manager, via email: ssingh@rcapsolutions.org or phone: (412) 554-2572

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Awards RCAP Solutions $454,522 for Water Loss Prevention and Assistance

RCAP Solutions is pleased to have been awarded a $454,522 grant from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission!

This funding will be used to provide technical assistance and training to small water utilities in Centre County, Pennsylvania on water auditing and leakage prevention. Utilities will learn water loss techniques, helping them conserve large volumes of water, enabling them to be more financially resilient and environmentally sustainable.

Check out the full press release here.

Testimonial – Borough of Midland, Pennsylvania

Check out this testimonial from the Borough of Midland, Pennsylvania!

Our team in the Keystone State has been working this community to improve their water and sewer infrastructure through GIS mapping, application assistance for funding programs, and more.

Midland is a small, rural community located on the edge of western Pennsylvania. A former manufacturing giant, the borough has been attempting to drive small businesses back to the area in the wake of their steel mill’s closure, which once played a major part in Midland’s economy and workforce.

The consultant for the authority, Brigid Darbut, has been working with RCAP Solutions as well as several other community organizations and leaders to introduce revitalization efforts in the town, not only through improved water infrastructure, but through economic development, shared services, and more.

Five-Year Coral Bay Watershed Management Plan Released

The Coral Bay Community Council (CBCC), a non-profit organization which helps communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands with environmental issues, recently released their 2021 Watershed Management Plan, a detailed 5-year outline for the future management of their stormwater and drinking water supply.

The plan is the result of over two years of work by Watershed Consulting Associates, CBCC, local residents, government agencies, and various other community development organizations.

In the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the residents of Coral Bay will benefit from this plan, which incorporates professional analysis and stakeholder input to create a shared vision to address threats to water quality in and around the area.

The full plan can be viewed bewlow or at www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org, along with an accompanying shorter, “Community Handbook” version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, check out CBCC’s press release, here.

RCAP Solutions is a long-time collaborator of CBCC. In addition to contributions made to support this plan, our team in the Caribbean has a extensive history of partnering with the council to provide vital education to industry professionals as well as residents surrounding drinking water, wastewater, and solid waste management.

Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail

By Kathy Rodgers, State Lead Maine

Providing Assistance with No Back-Up Plan Puts Everyone at Risk.

Emphasis must be placed on ensuring staff are cross-trained and appropriate documentation is available for continuity in operations.

A town manager in Maine, who found himself suddenly in charge of a small community water system, had quite the harrowing experience recently. Unfortunately, this avoidable story is not uncommon.  The small town’s water operator had suddenly taken ill and was hospitalized.  The back-up operator had passed away six months ago.  The community was quite remote, and the town manager was in desperate need of an operator who could help keep their two treatment plants operational.  The system had several treatment phases including pre-chlorination, filtration, aeration, and fluoridation that needed to be monitored and maintained.  After several days and several frantic calls later, they were connected to a licensed contract operator who was willing to drive two hours to investigate the situation.

Upon arrival, the contract operator was greeted by a very green public works employee who was set to be cross trained in the water department but had no working knowledge of the plants.  The public works employee confessed the regular operator, now hospitalized, had told him that all the information was “all up here” as he pointed to his temple.  It seemed the hospitalized operator had always felt his job was threatened and closely guarded operational information. That fear, which is often shared by undervalued operators, is unfortunate as it created a stressful situation for everyone left in his wake.

By the end of day one, the contract operator and the public works employee were able to determine where the maintenance logs and the test kits were located.  The seasoned contract operator was successfully able to show the public works employee how to run the daily test and record the meter readings.  Then the contract operator began searching for the operation and maintenance (O&M) manual or any standard operating procedures (SOPs), to figure out how the system worked, but to no avail.  There were no clear procedures found to follow to ensure the system was running properly.   Under stacks of unfiled paperwork, the contract operator was able to find an emergency response plan that hadn’t been updated in 18 years, which is recommended to be updated annually, but it was with very little detail and of little help.  With the assistance of contract operator’s administrative office, they were able to piece together clues as to how the facilities operated through state records and other pieces of information.

The alarms started sounding by day two.  Not that anyone really knew that alarms were sounding, as the hospitalized operator was the only one getting the notifications.  It was upon arrival to the plant that the public work employee observed the chlorine tank had run dry.  The proper ratio to prepare the chlorine solution was unknown.  The fluoride pump appeared to be unplugged.  Who knows why?  The public works employee was untrained in how to properly handle these dangerous chemicals. The contract operator stepped in again to help batch the chemicals and get the chemical feeds pumping.  The contract operator best recourse and advice was to encourage the town manager and the public works employee to reach out to their regular operator, while in the hospital, to get guidance.   Not an ideal situation for anyone.

This emergency could have all been avoided and continuity in service could have easily been maintained by having an O&M manual readily available.  The O&M manual serves not only as a tool for the operating and maintenance of the facilities for the personnel of the plant; but it also serves as road map for those who must step in when the primary operations’ crew is unavailable.   For the manual to be effective, vital information must be easy to find, quickly and efficiently.  The O&M manual is designed to give treatment system personnel and the back-up operator the proper understanding of techniques and references protocols necessary to efficiently operate their facilities.   Having an O&M manual which includes well written SOPs, and an emergency response plan will ensure that operations will be able continue in a situation when new or temporary staff must be trained quickly.

Moving forward the contract operator has been retained as the town’s back-up operator. His crew has already begun planning to assist with development of a functional O&M manual to eliminate this situation in the future.  The grateful town manager is now keenly aware of the need to document and to have a back-up plan in place.

When developing an O&M manual ask yourself:

  • What do I do on a daily and weekly basis to maintain my water or wastewater treatment system?
  • Do these activities or pieces of equipment that need maintenance involve SOPs, manufacturer’s specifications, or record keeping logs?
  • Do I have the right tools?
  • What documents or logs do I need to develop?

“Thank you so much for the help you guys have provided. You have been wonderful to work with. We will certainly be in touch.” – Town Manager of a Little Town, Anywhere, USA

Testimonial – Town of Grafton, Vermont

Check out this testimonial from the chair of Grafton, Vermont’s Water/Wastewater Study Commission!

RCAP Solutions assisted the town in completing two surveys of their drinking water quality and wastewater management. Because the town has no central community system, residents rely entirely on individual water sources and wastewater disposal systems.

Through the Vermont Department of Health, our staff was able to acquire drinking water test kits, at no charge, for residents who rely on private wells. Fortunately, the water tests did not identify any contamination issues.

Nonetheless, RCAP Solutions encouraged the town to take a closer look at high-priority properties throughout the area. The town continues to improve their water and wastewater infrastructure, with RCAP providing strategic guidance and recommendations for state and federal funding opportunities.

This work is made possible because of the generous support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The New Hampshire Drinking Water Festival is now live!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: March 23, 2021
CONTACT: Lara Hooper, (603) 271-4071
des.nh.gov
twitter.com/NHDES

Join us for the 2021 Virtual Drinking Water Festival!

Concord, NH – Over the past three decades, thousands of students have learned about protecting water at the New Hampshire Drinking Water Festival. This year the Festival is virtual and kicks off today! The 2021 Virtual Festival also includes the third annual Poetry Contest for third, fourth and fifth graders, making this a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Math) educational opportunity.

The 2021 Virtual Festival is packed with over 40 videos and activities that connect with student’s daily lives and explore how to keep water clean. Major themes include the water cycle, watersheds, groundwater, wildlife, the human water cycle, Water Heroes (career fields) and the Poetry Contest. Engaging lessons range from calculating a personal water footprint to finding costly silent toilet leaks and learning how caddisflies stabilize streambeds against erosion. The online lessons and activities are designed for students in third through fifth grades, but with the timeless importance of clean water, students in other grades (and adults) can benefit from them as well. All materials are free and openly available. Students participating in the Poetry Contest should submit entries by April 30, 2021.

The Virtual Water Festival and Poetry Contest is now available at our new website www.nhwaterfestival.org. There, you will find the virtual lessons and also information about how your school can participate in the free in-person annual festival in May 2022.

As a member of the New Hampshire Drinking Water Coalition, RCAP Solutions is a proud partner of this event.

Photos courtesy of NHDES

The New Hampshire Drinking Water Festival Will Be Virtual in 2021

The New Hampshire Drinking Water Festival will be offered virtually in 2021!

The New Hampshire Drinking Water Festival has educated and inspired fourth-graders to conserve and protect our water resources for 27 years. To keep everyone safe, the 2021 festival is moving online. As an added benefit, to support teachers, students and parents, these free online resources will be available from March through July.

Major themes include the water cycle, watersheds, groundwater, wildlife and the human water cycle. Lessons connect with student’s daily lives and explore how they can keep water clean. The online lessons and activities are designed for students in grades 3-5, but with the timeless importance of clean water, students in other grades will also benefit from them. Student in grades 3-5 are invited to participate in this year’s Water Poetry Contest. This is a great opportunity to incorporate the language arts and water science.

As a member of the New Hampshire Drinking Water Coalition, RCAP Solutions is a proud partner of this event.

The Drinking Water Festival’s new website is currently under construction, but it can be found and bookmarked for the virtual event this spring at nhwaterfestival.org. If you would like to learn more, please contact Lara Hooper at lara.hooper@des.nh.gov.

Photos courtesy of NHDES

The New Hampshire Drinking Water Festival  is sponsored by the New Hampshire Drinking Water Coalition in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to encourage future leaders and scientists to learn about one of the world’s most precious resources: water! 

Imagine a Day Without Water: Commit to a sustainable water future for all

This year, our country faced an enormous public health crisis from the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout this emergency, water and wastewater systems kept the water flowing in homes, hospitals, and essential businesses. This crisis demonstrated the critical role that water and wastewater systems play in their communities, protecting public health, safeguarding the environment, and making a healthy economy possible. It is easy to imagine how much worse the pandemic would have been without widespread access to water infrastructure. Without reliable drinking water and sanitation, Americans would be unable to stay safe and limit the spread. In communities with inadequate water and wastewater infrastructure, the public health consequences have been dire.

Today, we Imagine a Day Without Water. It’s a day to pause and notice the way that water systems impact our lives and communities, and commit to ensuring a sustainable water future for generations to come. What would your day be like if you couldn’t turn on the tap and get clean drinking water, or if you flushed the toilet and wastewater didn’t go anywhere? What would happen to restaurants, hospitals, firefighters, farms, breweries, or the hundreds of industries that depend on water?

Millions of Americans take water service for granted every day. Turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. Flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. Washing our hands regularly is one of the most important steps to take to limit the spread of coronavirus, and we usually don’t stop to think about the impressive infrastructure and treatment required to make sure the water comes out when you open the tap, or safely returns water to the environment from your sink. But the truth is, our water and wastewater systems are getting older – some were installed a century ago – and everyone should be concerned with the vulnerability of those systems.

While we continue to enjoy high quality and reliable water service now, maintaining that level of service is going to be harder and harder as America’s water infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Meanwhile, new threats from record rainfalls, flooding, toxic algae, drought and wildfires threaten our critical water systems. There are even communities, especially in many rural places across the country, that have never had access to infrastructure in the first place.

As we look at ways to help lift our economy out of the recession, investing in water infrastructure is a winning solution. Investing in water creates cascading economic benefits, strengthening American competitiveness, raising GDP, creating jobs and increasing wages. Investing in water provides a path to economic recovery. Imagine a Day Without Water is an opportunity for everyone to get educated about our local water systems and raise awareness with our elected leaders. We need leadership at every level to work together to ensure a reliable water future for generations to come. Investing in water is investing in a future where no American will have to imagine a day without water.

Private Well Program Addresses Well Issues in North Central MA

RCAP SOLUTIONS LAUNCHING PRIVATE WELL PROGRAM TO ADDRESS WELL ISSUES & CONTAMINATION IN NORTH CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS

 

Worcester, MA – RCAP Solutions is launching the North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program to address drinking water issues in the Northern Central Massachusetts area. The program will include complimentary assessments and testing to identify contamination, provide public education, and work with local Boards of Health and other partners to promote better public health and safety for households with private wells through local and statewide regulations.

RCAP Solutions is seeking local homeowners with private wells who are interested in learning more about the quality of their water and the condition of their wells. Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. Households that use private wells should take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of their drinking water. Potential contaminants such as arsenic, radon, and uranium can have both short and long-term health impacts.

The RCAP staff will provide qualifying homeowners in the north central Massachusetts area with a free, on-site professional review of their well head and recharge area. The staff will adhere to strict social distancing practices to keep the homeowners safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The assessment will conclude with a complimentary water test from a state-certified lab, which otherwise can be a costly and time-consuming procedure. The water quality analysis will test for the following contaminants: Arsenic, Chloride, Copper, Fluoride, Hardness, Iron. Lead, Manganese, pH, Sodium, Coliform Bacteria, Nitrate/Nitrite, Radon, and Uranium. Interested homeowners can visit www.rcapsolutions.org/ma-private-wells for additional information.

The Central Massachusetts Private Well Program is a community partnership funded by a $196,150 Synergy Initiative planning grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The goal of the program this year is to assess a minimum of 20 private wells in the northern Worcester County area to determine the presence and location of water quality issues to inform the development of a pilot project in 2021 that will conduct additional private well water testing in the region. The second phase of this effort will include public education, advocacy for local and statewide private well regulations that better protect homeowners and communities, and identification of financial resources for homeowners needing well remediation.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts in this important public health project,” stated Karen A. Koller, President & CEO of RCAP Solutions. “Because there are no state-wide regulations surrounding private well maintenance, it’s critical that homeowners in Central Massachusetts and across the state understand the importance of regular assessments and water testing. We are pleased to be able to fulfill our mission and meet the needs of rural communities by providing this valuable technical assistance to private well owners.”

Dr. Jan Yost, President & CEO of The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, added, “Access to clean and safe drinking water free of harmful contaminants is essential to good health. The Foundation is pleased to support this important project that seeks to improve private well water quality through increased knowledge and enhanced local and statewide regulations to protect the public’s health.”

“Massachusetts continues to be at risk of dangerous substances like arsenic, radon, and uranium,” stated Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “They are a clear threat to our health and environment. It is time for Congress and the federal government to get serious about assisting municipalities in need of resources to respond to this public health concern. That’s what I’ve advocated for since coming to Congress, and it’s why I will always support grant funding that organizations like Resources for Community and People can use to improve our quality of life. RCAP Solutions has been doing exceptional work in this area, and I applaud their efforts.”

RCAP Solutions is working closely with the Montachusett Public Health Network and the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health to assist communities with promotional efforts and to ensure positive outcomes for homeowners. In addition, RCAP is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and ongoing efforts to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

“The MassDEP Drinking Water Program is pleased to be collaborating with RCAP Solutions on this HFCM funded North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program,” stated Yvette DePeiza, MassDEP’s Drinking Water Program Director. “This project provides some critical resources to North Central Massachusetts health agents and private well owners within the project area towns, helping to ensure that these private sources of drinking water are safe and reliable.”

About RCAP Solutions, Inc.
RCAP Solutions is a thriving integrated community development corporation working with a multi-faceted suite of services and opportunities. Established in 1969, RCAP Solutions’ mission is to foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live. For more information, please visit www.rcapsolutions.org.

About The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts
The Foundation was established in 1999 with the proceeds from the sale of Central Massachusetts Health Care, Inc., a physician-initiated, not-for-profit HMO. The Foundation currently has assets of approximately $73 million and has awarded grants totaling approximately $44 million to improve the health of those who live or work in Central Massachusetts. For further information about the Foundation’s grant programs, please visit The Health Foundation’s website at www.hfcm.org.