Thursday, August 11, 2022
     
"An investment in Knowledge pays the best Interest."

Ben Franklin's words still ring true today. So we pick out the most appropriate articles in current events and news regarding the Water Industry both nationally and in Kansas to filter the most pertinent information for you.

E-News for June 27, 2022

06/27/2022 - Weekly KRWA E-News

USDA Announces Rural Development State Director for Kansas
Christy Cauble Davis was one of two Rural Development State Directors appointed last week. RD State Directors serve as the chief executive officer of Rural Development in the states and territories and are tasked with carrying out the mission of Rural Development to the benefit of everyone in rural America. In conjunction with the guidance and support of the National Office, State Directors are responsible for promoting the mission and strategic goals of Rural Development and provide key leadership to develop and support a productive, diverse, and inclusive state workforce. Christy Cauble DavisDavis is a fifth-generation Kansan who has dedicated her career to serving and strengthening Kansas communities. For more than two decades, Davis has facilitated statewide projects and programs that have generated billions of dollars in economic impact. She has served as Legislative Chair for the Kansas Downtown Development Association and on the board of the Chase County Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Davis served as Executive Director of Symphony in Flint Hills. In line with her passion of strengthening communities, in 2016, Christy and her husband Luke adopted a historic building in Cottonwood Falls and transformed it into an award-winning laundromat. In 2019, the couple rehabilitated an historic bank building to create new housing and a bookstore. When she is not working, Davis enjoys participating in community events, hiking, swimming, reading and spending time with her 10-year-old son. [source]

 

Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin Kernza Field Days Announced
Throughout the summer, farmers and research partners are hosting in-person field days across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Kansas. "Field Days are a unique opportunity for learning, exploring and connecting, especially for a new crop like Kernza," says Dr. Nicole Tautges of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Wisconsin, "Researchers, growers, millers, bakers, brewers, chefs, and processors are rapidly expanding their Kernza knowledge every year and these field days are a dynamic and immediate way to exchange that knowledge. We encourage anyone who is interested to come out and learn more about the economic, environmental and community benefits of Kernza." Al Kraus of Clean River Partners in Northfield, Minn., says, "I've been working with Kernza growers from across Southeast Minnesota for over five years. They are seeing the soil health and economic value that Kernza brings to their rotations. These field days are an excellent opportunity for growers to learn how Kernza adds farm profitability, while it also improves soil and protects water. This is extremely important where groundwater is at risk." More field days will be confirmed throughout the summer; updates will be posted on kernza.org as they become available. [source]

 

Midwest Water Systems Looking for ‘Time Bomb’ Lead Pipes
Missouri regulators had given the green light in 2014 for Trenton Missouri to start adding monochloramine to its drinking water to disinfect it without the harmful byproducts of chlorine. But by 2017, the city noticed something alarming. Lead levels in drinking water in the northwest Missouri town — population 5,609 — had spiked. Over the next two years, one-quarter of the homes tested exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level — 15 parts per billion — at least once. The 62 homes Trenton tested during that period have lead pipes, or service lines, running from the water mains, officials say. But beyond that, very little is known about where lead pipes remain in the system with about 3,000 water meters. “You can’t just switch it and do this toxicological experiment on the general population and wait and see,” says Marc Edwards a Virginia Tech professor. Every year he sees a handful of utilities switch to monochloramine and spark a lead problem, which he thinks is the tip of the iceberg.  “This is still happening when it shouldn’t,” Edwards said. After Trenton discovered the lead in its water, it treated it to stop the corrosion and its lead levels fell back below the EPA limits. [source]

 

Watch for Signs of Blue-Green Algae in Ponds and Lakes
Toxic algae blooms are back and will probably hit about 30 to 40 Kansas lakes this summer. Not all algae are dangerous, but several lakes across the state are already experiencing blooms that can make people sick and can kill dogs that swim in it. “(Blue-green algae) blooms can happen overnight,” says KSU/KRSE extension specialist AJ Tarpoff. “And some of these species of cyanobacteria can release toxins leading to severe illness or death in pets and livestock. It’s prudent to monitor water sources carefully. The blooms can look like foam, paint or scum floating on the water, in a variety of colors. If you notice something different about your pond or surface water, you should take a sample and send it in to be tested.  [source]

 

In Nebraska, Small-Town Fraud Is a Big Problem
In Nebraska, 14 city and village clerks have been charged for theft or violating public resources over the last decade. Those clerks, plus another who took money but wasn’t charged, stole an estimated $1.7 million from 17 small towns across the state, according to audit reports and restitution orders. That total doesn’t include four other cases of theft or mismanagement by county officials since 2012, three cases of financial mismanagement by village and city board members. And many more Nebraska small towns may be sitting ducks for future theft — or may not know they are already being targeted. In many small towns, there is little verification. A whopping 158 towns in Nebraska have gone more than 20 years without a full financial audit, including four towns where former clerks were charged with theft, according to data collected by Flatwater Free Press from state audit records. In almost every town where a clerk has been caught for fraud, audit reports have noted a lack of internal financial controls – essentially, not enough eyes on the cookie jar. If a small town wants to avoid fraud, it should always require two distinct signatures on checks, said Nebraska deputy auditor of public accounts Craig Kubicek. Towns with one employee depositing checks should have another employee or official review bank statements, Kubicek said. [source]

 

Inflation Taking Bite Out of New Infrastructure Projects
Inflation is taking a toll on infrastructure projects across the U.S., driving up costs so much that state and local officials are postponing projects, scaling back others and reprioritizing their needs. Public water systems across the country are straining under inflation. When Tucson, Arizona, launched the first part of a four-phase water main replacement project in September 2020, ductile iron pipe cost $75-a-foot and a gate valve cost $3,000. When it bid the most recent phase this spring, pipe costs had risen to nearly $90-a-foot and gate valves to nearly $4,100. The city is now prioritizing what other projects it can afford, and which ones have to wait. “To sum it up, we’re doing less work for the same amount of money,” said Tucson's chief water engineer, Scott Schladweiler. The city of Tacoma, Washington, also is altering some of its planned water main replacements because of rising costs. “Some of them are getting delayed, some of them are being reduced in scope, and it’s forcing us to re-evaluate some of the budgets that we’ve set forth,” said Ali Polda, principal engineer in the city's water department. Residents in a neighborhood west of Little Rock, Arkansas, will pay a $146 monthly surcharge to Central Arkansas Water to install new water lines. The charge is 17% more than originally planned because of spikes in construction costs. Other public utilities also will have to choose between scaling back work and passing along costs to customers, said Michael Arceneaux, acting CEO of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. “In the end, it’s going to be the rate payers that suffer,” he said, "because the projects have to get done, and funding will have to come from the rate payers.” [source]

 

Monterrey Suffers Weeks-Long Water Cutoff Amid Drought
A combination of an intense drought, poor planning and high water use has has left the three of Monterrey Mexico's reservoirs dry, leaving its almost 5 million residents to resort to extreme measures that call up images of isolated, poorer areas: storing water in buckets to use a scoopful at a time. [source]

 

New Job Postings on the KRWA Website
The Kansas Rural Water Association's "Job Postings" web page includes openings that have recently been submitted by:

  • City of Abilene
  • City of Garden Plain
  • City of Columbus
  • City of Wellington

KRWA provides this service at no charge. Job openings to be posted should be e-mailed in a Word or text document to krwa@krwa.net or ken@krwa.net.

 

KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training

June 30: Beginning QuickBooks (Independence)
July 13-14: Troubleshooting Motors and Variable Speed Drives (South Hutchinson)
July 19: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions - Hydrants & Valves (Grandview Plaza)
July 20: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions - Hydrants & Valves (Hays)
July 21: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions - Hydrants & Valves (Pratt)
July 26: The ABCs of VFDs (Newton)
July 27: The ABCs of VFDs (Manhattan)
July 27: Competent Person in Trenching & Excavation (Abilene)
July 28: The ABCs of VFDs (Ottawa)
July 28: Confined Space Training (Abilene)

 

Drought Monitor
High winds and hot temperatures, which were near or above 100°F for several days last week, resulted in high evapo-transpiration rates. With little to no significant rainfall, no improvements were shown in Kansas on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map. Degradation was noted across the south-central part of the state, where extreme to exceptional drought persists.
Kansas portion from the U.S. Drought Monitor, released June 23, 2022.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas