Wednesday, December 8, 2021
     
"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 Nov. 22, 2021

11/22/2021 - Weekly KRWA E-News

Brian Bowles Joins KRWA Staff
The Kansas Rural Water Association is pleased to announce the employment of Brian Bowles effective Nov. 23. Brian will primarily assist water systems in central and western Kansas and elsewhere as needed. He brings 30 years of work experience in a lead or supervisory role. Brian has a history of work experience with construction, technical and in management positions. Brian BowlesHe worked for 12 years supervising crews of 20 or more for Ballou Construction, Salina. From 1996 to 2004 Brian was employed by the city of Salina in utility maintenance. From 2009 to the present, Brian was Public Works Superintendent at the city of Minneapolis. His duties there included responsibility for all water, wastewater, streets, parks and electrical operations "My goal is to be a great asset to the KRWA staff and any and all water and wastewater systems that I get a chance to work with. I believe one of the largest challenges will be promoting our industry enough to attract people into becoming operators for the systems that need them," Brian says. Brian holds a Class II water operator certification and Class II wastewater operator certification from KDHE. Brian has also served as a member of the Kansas Rural Water Association Apprenticeship Program Development Committee. 

 

City of Lyons Shut Down Water System to Fix Pipe Breaks
The City of Lyons shut down their water distribution system Saturday night to address the breaks from Friday. Lyons City Administrator Chad Buckley said Friday morning that the breaks appeared over a period of several hours earlier this week, but they likely happened all at once. He said there was a problem with a well that caused a "water hammer," which sent reverberations throughout the water system and broke the mains. [source]

 

Lee Norman Steps Down as KDHE Secretary, Months After Internal Dispute
Dr. Lee Norman last week stepped down from his high-profile cabinet post as the chief medical officer in Kansas, where he managed the state’s response to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. Norman, who is 69 and doesn’t plan to retire, had served as KDHE secretary since Kelly took office in 2019. Previously, he was the chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Health System, and his experience included dealing with the Ebola virus in 2014 and H1N1 in 2009. He also had deployed to the Middle East as a colonel in the Kansas Army National Guard and served as senior medical commander to more than 12,000 soldiers. His departure reportedly stems from an dispute with the governor's office over COVID-19 messaging during a time when the governor was seeking to extend the state emergency declaration in June. The governor’s office at one point took away Norman’s control of his Twitter account and later told him to refuse national media requests. Deputy KDHE secretary Ashley Goss will serve as interim secretary in Norman’s absence. Kelly is expected to name a new candidate for health secretary in the coming weeks, ahead of the start of the regular session in January. [source]

 

Ukrainian Leaders Visit Kansas to Learn About Farming and Irrigation Practices
Almost two dozen Ukrainian leaders and parliamentarians visited Kansas last week to learn about water and irrigation. "In the process of reforming our irrigation system in the south of the Ukraine, we would like to learn the best practices," said Mykola Solskyi. "We have similar water problems (as in Kansas). Not much rain." They spent time at the Goering Water Technology Farm in Moundridge, examining pivot systems and listening to Ryan Goering, a farmer who is part of the water technology farm, and Earl Lewis, chief engineer for the Kansas Department of Agriculture-Division of Water Resources. Lewis told the group about water regulations and how water rights work in Kansas. Because the southern part of the Ukraine is most affected by drought, this group of parliamentarians and leaders from the southern part of the country were interested in water and water rights. [source]

 

Hearing Set for Proposed Adoption of LEMA Regulations
The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources has scheduled a public hearing, to be conducted remotely via Zoom, on Nov. 22, to consider the adoption of proposed regulations related to the development of Local Enhanced Management Areas (LEMA) by groundwater management districts. The amended regulations would define terms and set forth requirements for the development and review of a LEMA plan, as well as the requirements for implementing changes to a LEMA plan. A LEMA is a tool that allows local groundwater management districts to set goals and control measures to aid in water conservation. There are currently three LEMAs in place in Kansas. [source]

 

U.S. House Passes "Build Back Better" Bill
The bill (H.R. 5376) narrowly passed the House on Friday morning by a vote of 220-213. The White House estimated the bill would cost $1.75 trillion and reduce the deficit by generating more than $2.1 trillion over 10 years. According to NRWA's Rural Water Advisory, the final version of the bill appears to have dropped some of the water funding provisions included in the version released by the White House just over two weeks ago, but it does include:

 

  • $97 million to USDA for grants for rural water and wastewater programs (Section 12001)
  • $970 million to USDA for replacing service lines that contain lead (Section 12002)
  • $9 billion for EPA for lead service line replacement (Section 30301)
  • $225 million for EPA for low-income water customers to reduce arrearages and water rates (Section 30302)
  • $125 million for EPA to support investment in alternative water source projects (Section 110014)
  • $1.850 billion for EPA for sewer overflow and stormwater reuse projects (Section 110015)
  • $150 million for EPA for domestic septic systems, including connecting households with failing septic systems to public sewer systems (Section 110016) and
  • $550,000,000 to the Bureau of Reclamation for potable water supply projects (Section 70801)

The bill still has a long and difficult road ahead. Democratic leaders must coax it through the 50-50 Senate and navigate a tortuous budget process that is almost certain to reshape the measure and force it back to the House — if it passes at all. [source]
 

Health Officials Concerned Over COVID-19 Uptick as Holidays Approach
During the University of Kansas Health System's Morning Medical Update last week, Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health System, noted that wastewater testing in Lawrence showed coronavirus levels to be at the highest they've been the entire pandemic. "That should concern us, right, because we know that the wastewater testing historically has predicted the rise in case counts," Stites said. [source]

 

KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training
Dec. 7: Distribution Tools and Practices (Online)
Dec. 7-8: Being Prepared for the Next Emergency (Holton)
Dec. 7-9: Backflow Prevention - Cross Connection Control (Manhattan)
Dec. 8: Water Operator Refresher Course (Emporia)
Dec. 8: WasteWater Operator Refresher Course (Emporia)
Dec. 8: Finally, Math Simplified (Online)
Dec. 14: The ABCs of Activated Sludge (Online)

 

Drought Monitor
On the Plains, unseasonably warm and dry weather early in the week was followed by a strong cold front that brought more normal November weather, but little precipitation. By the end of the week, southerly winds returned with a slight temperature rebound. In Kansas, the U.S. Drought Monitor noted that deficits continued to accumulate in western counties. Deterioration was depicted in Hamilton, Haskell and Stevens counties. Meanwhile, improvements were noted in Pottawatomie and Nemaha counties, where 2- to 3-inches of precipitation occurred during the previous week. A new Seasonal Drought Outlook issued by NOAA/NWS/CPC last week favors drier-than-normal conditions in southern sections of Kansas and Colorado. The latest Drought Outlook is largely driven by La Niña and its typical effects on conditions across the U.S. A La Niña event typically brings warmer and drier-than-normal conditions to the Southern Plains. The outlook notes that from central Kansas northward through the Plains, winter is a relatively dry time of year, with much of the region typically accumulating only 5 to 15 percent of the annual precipitation total then. The climatological dryness reduces the chances for drought-improving precipitation in any case, so persistence is the only logical forecast there.
Latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, released Nov. 18, 2021.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas