KRWA Enews - February 5, 2024
02/05/2024 - Weekly KRWA E-News
HB 2633 Proposes to Remove Limit on Fees KDHE Will be Allowed to Charge for Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Exams
HB 2633 was introduced last week in the House Committee on Water. This bill that would remove the current $25 exam fee limit and allow KDHE to charge a fee not to "exceed the cost of an individual operator certification exam". KDHE would like to move to third party exam sources. The House Water Committee will hold a hearing on HB 2633 tomorrow, (February 6) at 9:00 AM in Room 218-N at the Capitol in Topeka. The hearing can be viewed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_0NO-Pb96CFABvxDwXAq8A. KRWA willl be offering comments and will again suggest that an Advisory Committee of water and wastewater operators be established by statute to help KDHE make the operator certification program more transparent. Here is a link to the bill as introduced.
Caney Finds Relief in Water Shortage, Plans for Future Sustainability
After facing a water shortage crisis for approximately a year, Caney, Kansas, city officials announced they now have around a year's worth of water stored, alleviating immediate concerns for the community. Kelly Zellner, the city administrator, shared insights into the current water supply situation. "With what we have in Timber Hill and the reserves behind the low head dam, we estimate about 350 days of water supply, giving us almost a year's worth of water as it stands now," Zellner explained. The city is not solely relying on existing water reserves. Officials are actively seeking long-term solutions, including potential support from nearby towns. "We have a contract with Coffeyville to secure additional water, but the infrastructure will take 18 to 24 months to complete. Meanwhile, we continue to conserve and manage our resources carefully," Zellner added, highlighting the ongoing water watch in Caney. The impact of the water crisis and the subsequent easing of restrictions have been felt across the community. Sam Reed, an employee at the local restaurant Big G's, expressed relief and optimism. "The community was understanding during the restrictions, and we're thrilled to resume normal operations and provide better service to our customers," said Reed. Reed also reflected on the future with hope, recalling words of wisdom regarding the weather, "It always rains before it's too late. We're hopeful for more rain and that we won't face the same challenges this summer." READ MORE
Lawmakers Hope to Block Missouri Water from Being Exported to Other States
As climate change and groundwater pumping leave arid western states hurting for water, Missouri lawmakers are considering legislation to keep the state’s water from being shipped outside its borders. “You may hear about states like California and Kansas in the news having water shortages,” said state Sen. Jason Bean, a Republican from Holcomb. “We don’t want to lose our water because they’ve mismanaged theirs.” With the Missouri River running through the middle of the state, the Mississippi along its eastern border and the Osage River that feeds the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri is home to a host of reliable freshwater systems. But Bean and other Missouri lawmakers fear as other states grapple with a drier future, they might look to Missouri as a solution. “The way the federal government is throwing money around, don’t think it can’t happen,” said Rep. Jamie Burger, a Republican from Benton. “Even if it costs $10 billion to get our water from Missouri to Kansas, to California, to wherever it may be, it can happen.” Bean and Burger introduced legislation this year that would prohibit exporting water from Missouri unless authorized by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. It’s backed by Missouri agricultural and environmental groups and received support from Republican and Democratic legislators alike. “I farm in Kansas with my brother and water has become an unbelievable, precious resource,” said Brent Hemphill, a lobbyist for the Missouri Soybean Association, “and I just don’t want Missouri to become Kansas.” Kansas sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer, a formation millions of years old that includes the largest underground store of freshwater in the nation. Since the mid-20th Century, farmers have pumped water from the Ogallala to irrigate crops, bringing parts of western Kansas within a generation of running dry. READ MORE
Japan Earthquake Survivors Battle Unsanitary Conditions with No Running Water
A month on from a huge earthquake that struck Japan's west coast, survivors are battling freezing and unsanitary conditions while tens of thousands of homes remain without running water. Some areas in the isolated Noto peninsula may not have water restored for another two months, the government of Ishikawa prefecture said, adding to risks for those living in cramped evacuation centers where authorities say respiratory infections and gastroenteritis have been detected. "There's no water, so we can't wash our clothes or bathe," said Yoshio Binsaki, a 68-year-old resident of the battered coastal town of Suzu, as he prepared to haul a 20 liter (5.3 U.S. gallon) water tank to his car to take home. More than 230 people died in the magnitude 7.6 quake, Japan's deadliest in eight years, which also left 44,000 homes fully or partially destroyed while 40,000 have no running water. More than 13,000 residents are living in evacuation centers, according to the Ishikawa government. READ MORE
San Francisco Now Testing Wastewater For Fentanyl As Drug Problem Spirals
One of the largest cities in the U.S., struggling to tame one of its largest drug problems, has turned to wastewater analysis for help. “San Francisco began wastewater testing for fentanyl and other substances in a bid to better track trends and inform intervention efforts,” Axios San Francisco reported. “San Francisco will send samples from wastewater treatment plants every other week to Biobot Analytics, a laboratory services company that will analyze it for fentanyl, methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine and xylazine.” Wastewater analysis rose to prominence as a tool to address public health crises during the COVID-19 pandemic. Demonstrating the newfound popularity of this research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added wastewater analysis data to its national COVID-19 dashboard. These techniques have since been used to track outbreaks of monkeypox, polio, and now, illicit drug use. “Wastewater testing has proved effective for measuring rates of actual substance use, transmission and locations of interest,” according to Axios. “The real-time data can help public health officials respond quickly to early-warning signs around usage and overdoses and inform efforts to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.” READ MORE
EPA Will Face Fight From Meat Industry Over New Effluent Standards
As the leading environmental regulator in the country works to crack down on a notorious source of wastewater contaminants, a major industry faces the prospect of expensive compliance — and the regulating agency should be preparing for a fight. “Proposed EPA standards to control slaughterhouse effluent aim to cut pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways, but meat and poultry producers will argue during public hearings this month that the planned rules are too costly,” Bloomberg Law reported. “Slaughterhouse owners will ‘rush’ Environmental Protection Agency officials with data showing the cost of compliance at public hearings.” The U.S. EPA has been moving toward stricter standards for slaughterhouse effluent for months, recently detailing how it would utilize pollution control technologies to drive reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and other pollutants from the industry’s wastewater. These pollutants can foster the growth of toxic algae and otherwise harm the environment and source water quality. Though nutrient pollution is causing increased issues and algal bloom is also being intensified by climate change, the rule updates are required by the Clean Water Act as a measure to ensure effluent guidelines (ELGs) keep pace with pollution control technology advancements. “The first ELGs for facilities that process meat and poultry products were issued in 1974 and the last revision was in 2004,” per Southeast AgNet. And even though a rule revision has been a long time coming, this requirement seems to be central to the meat industry’s upcoming legal pushback. “Installing the best available technology means ‘to spend whatever cost is necessary to meet the effluent limits regardless of the benefits to water quality,’” Ethan Ware, a food industry legal representative, told Bloomberg Law. “So you have a scenario where the costs being spent are being driven by whatever is possible in engineering, not what is best for the environment.” It seems the conflict between source water protection and the cost of ensuring it will soon be settled by a judge. READ MORE
KRWA is Receiving Applications for the Dennis Schwartz Scholarship
The Kansas Rural Water Association has established a college scholarship designated as the Dennis Schwartz Scholarship in honor of Dennis Schwartz, who served on the Association Board of Directors from 1977 to 2014 and who served on a host of state and national committees, including the National Rural Water Association, National Drinking Water Advisory Committee, and the Kansas Water Authority. The Scholarship will be awarded to a graduating high school senior in the amount of $1,000, beginning with the 2024-2025 school term. Applicants are limited to be children, stepchildren or under guardianship of full-time employees of either an Active Member System of the Kansas Rural Water Association or employees of the Association. Applicants must include a copy of his/her transcript for the seven semesters of high school with the application. Applicants must complete the application form in its entirety by completing all blanks and signing the application. The applicant must include one letter of reference by a teacher or school counselor.
The recipient of the Dennis Shwartz Scholarship award will be announced at the 2024 KRWA Annual Conference & Exhibition on March 27, 2024. You can find more information and the Scholarship Application at this LINK.
KRWA Accepting Nominations for Awards for Operators, Managers and Others
As has been mentioned before -- here is a reminder ...
The Kansas Rural Water Association wants to ensure that anyone deserving of recognition receives it. KRWA wants to bring those who have worked “behind the scenes” to the forefront at the 2024 Annual Conference & Exhibition. Do you know someone doing a great job or going above and beyond? Has your water or wastewater system achieved excellence or has your city or water district overcome some fantastic challenges? Nominate candidates for Awards by downloading and completing the Application Form.
The Great American Water Taste Test This Week
Kansas' entry to the Great American Water Tast Test for 2024 is from WaterOne. WaterOne won the "Best Tasting Water In Kansas" at the March 2023 KRWA conference. This week, a sample from Waterone will be among those from other states to be judged during the annual National Rural Water Rally in Washington. Those attending and representing KRWA at the event are Bill Shroyer, Elmer Ronnebaum and Daryn Martin. Michell Wirth, Engineer in charge of Water Production from WaterOne, also plans to attend the Taste Test Contest. Visits to Congressional offices are scheduled on all three days. NRWA is lobbying for support for appropriations for the USDA Rural Development water loan and grant program and for EPA's Drinking Water and Clean Water funding which provide the capitalization grants for KDHE's loan programs) and technical assistance and training programs for water and wastewater systems.
The Future Depends on Water
More than 700 people have already registered to attend KRWA’s 55th Annual Conference & Exhibition for Public Water and Wastewater Systems. When and where? It’s March 26 - 28 at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita, Kansas. It’s the largest water and wastewater conference in Mid-America. As has been mentioned, it’s one of the friendliest, down-home events you will find. The coffee, tea, OJ and hospitality items do not run out at KRWA conferences! Here's a recap of what this conference offers:
- 10 Preconference Sessions on Tuesday, March 26, including forums for attorneys and engineers
- 48 Breakout Sessions March 27 - 28
- EXPO Hall, fully carpeted with 365 exhibit spaces showcasing products and services
- Opening nite “Meet & Greet” – it’s a showcase event – one of a kind with food and social – and games to win tickets for the drawings for thousands of $ in prizes
- And by popular demand – it’s Kansas' Premier Rock’n Roll Band, King Midas & The Mufflers
- Wednesday night Awards Banquet followed by entertainment Don’t Rock the Juke Box
- Keynote: Thomas Dismukes -- "A Leader's Focus"
- Luncheon speakers – Matthew R. Sanderson, K-State University; Jade Piros de Carvalho, Kansas Office of Broadband Development, Kansas Dept. of Commerce
The food and fun and the hospitality are non-stop; the selections never close. Register here.
Register Now for the KRWA Cornament, Winners get $300
Here’s a notice to all conference-goers in 2024. It’s the first annual KRWA “Cornament”. This event will be held in Exhibition Hall during the Opening Nite Meet & Greet. A cornhole tournament, or as Cornholers like to call it, a “Cornament”, is a championship event that is usually organized between cornhole teams/players. Over the past few years, Cornhole has attracted many new players. There are now enough active Cornholers among KRWA conference-goes to hold a tournament in conjunction with the Open Nite Meet & Greet! It’s by request. You don’t have to be a professional player to compete. Just sign up on the website link that will be provided to all registrants. We are limiting to the first 80 players (40 teams) in a double elimination. A cash prize of $300 goes to the First Place Winners, and $200 goes to the Second-Place Team. Let’s find out who is “Cornhole King” or “Cornhole Queen” at the 2024 KRWA conference. This tournament will be held in Exhibition Hall (where food is served) at far stage right. Register for this special event through the KRWA site at https://krwa/training – and then look for the March 26 date and register. You must register as a player or team through this site. No phone calls, please. After 80 players register, the opportunity closes.
Upcoming Training Sessions sponsored by KRWA
KRWA Training Sessions Continue to fill. See these sessions on the KRWA Training Calendar at this LINK.
- February 6 - 8: Cross-Connection Control, Backflow Prevention (Lawrence) (All sessions filled)
- February 13: Water and Wastewater Operator Math (Gardner) (This session is filled)
- February 14: Water and Wastewater Operator Math ( Chanute) (Filled)
- February 15: Water and Wastewater Operator Math (Derby) (Filled)
- February 20: The Complete Pumping Class (5-hour online training)
- February 20: Lift Stations Operations and Troubleshooting (Only 2 chairs open)
- February 22: Basic Math for Operators (5-hour online training)
- February 27: Water and Wastewater Utility Maintenance (Liberal)
- February 28: Water and Wastewater Utility Maintenance (Scott City)
- February 29: Water and Wastewater Utility Maintenance (Oakley)
- .. and more coming!
The Kansas Rural Water Association's "Job Postings" web page includes openings that have recently been submitted by:
Job Postings . . .
KRWA provides job postings at no charge. Job openings to be posted should be e-mailed in a Word or text document to email@example.com.
- Leavenworth Waterworks (Staff Engineer)
- City of Paola (Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator)
- City of Rexford (City Manager)
- City of Gardner: 4 Positions -- Staff Engineer, Plant Operator, Customer Service Representative and Engineering Technician I/II
- City of McPherson (Wastewater Plant Operator)
- City of Girard (Public Works General Laborer)
- City of Hutchinson (Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator)
- Chisholm Creek Utility Authority (Plant Operator)
- City of Washington (Water / Wastewater / Street Laborer)
- City of Spring Hill (City Engineer)
- City of Miltonvale (City Clerk)
- City of Severy (Collection Services Contractor)
- City of Norton (Water/Wastewater Plant Operator
- City of Hesston (Utility Operator)
- Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas (Water Treatment Plant Manager) --- And many additional openings
Question -- An operator of a water treatment plant asked "I have heard about a maximum chlorine residual. I am having difficulty maintaining chlorine residual in the distribution system and I want to raise the residual leaving the treatment plant. What is the maximum residual that is allowed by law?"
Answer -- The chlorine maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL) allowed by law is 4.0 mg/l. That requirement is figured on the running annual average of residuals taken at the same time as routine total coliform, or bacteriological, monitoring in the distribution system. There are treatment plants that increase the monochloramine residual leaving the treatment plant above 4.0 mg/L in order to help maintain residual in the distribution system in the summer time. KRWA believes that the monitoring and operation of storage tanks is the most important way of monitoring and maintaining monochloramine residual in the distribution system especially in the warm water temperature months.
What did KRWA do last week?
In addition to a Distribution System webinar attended by 67 operators, KRWA provided assistance to the following 60 water and wastewater systems: Atchison RWD 1, Central Heighs USD 288, City of Arlington, City of Arma, City of Beloit, City of Bennington, City of Burlington, City of Burns, City of Chanute, City of Chetopa, City of Cullison, City of Effingham, City of Elgin, City of Fort Scott, City of Frankfort, City of Gas City, City of Glade, City of Goff, City of Grainfield, City of Hanover, City of Havana, City of Haviland, City of Highland, City of Inman, City of Jamestown, City of Jewell, City of La Cygne, City of Linn, City of Logan, City of Maple Hill, City of Marion, City of Marysville, City of Milford, City of Miltonvale, City of Minneapolis, City of Narka, City of New Cambria, City of Nickerson, City of Olsburg, City of Pawnee Rock, City of Pretty Prairie, City of Raymond, City of Rolla, City of Silver Lake, City of Smith Center, City of Speed, City of St. George, City of Troy, City of Wakefield, City of Walton, City of Wetmore, City of Willis, Douglas RWD 3, Jackson RWD 3, Kickapoo Tribe, Osborne RWD 2, Public Wholesale District 11, Public Wholesale District 23, Russell RWD 4 and USD 261.