Friday, May 20, 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 May 9, 2022

05/09/2022 - Weekly KRWA E-News

EPA Announces $281 Million WIFIA Loan to Modernize Wastewater Infrastructure in Johnson County
Nelson Wastewater Treatment FacilityThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week announced a $281 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Johnson County, Kansas, to support the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements project. The Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility is Johnson County Wastewater's oldest treatment facility, dating back to the 1940s. Aerial view of the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility.The treatment technology currently in place is not capable of meeting future water quality standards, and a significant portion of the facility is at or near the end of its useful service life. The improvements project will modernize the wastewater treatment plant by implementing biological nutrient removal upgrades and adding auxiliary treatment facilities to treat peak wet weather flows and biosolids processing. This project will help Johnson County comply with a consent decree from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges. Upon completion of the project, the wastewater treatment facility will be able to treat 15 million gallons per day during average daily flows and 52 million gallons per day during peak flows. Additionally, the system will provide an additional 87 million gallons per day of wet weather auxiliary capacity, which will allow Johnson County to meet future demand. [source


CDBG Program Proposed Changes and Hearing
The Kansas Department of Commerce, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, will conduct a public hearing for the CDBG program on Tuesday, June 7, via Zoom. The purpose of the hearing is to gain citizen input on proposed changes to the federally funded CDBG program for the 2023 program year, as well as take comments on the performance of past administration of this program. There are significant changes being proposed to Water and Sewer funding. Among the changes to be discussed are changes to Regional Water Planning Grants, which can be used to investigate and determine the feasibility of Regional Water Projects. The annual competitive Water/Sewer Infrastructure grant has been proposed to be paused for the 2023 program year. The $1 million Regional Water Project set aside in CDBG will be available in 2023 through an open round as a funding source for those projects that are determined to be feasible for regionalization. No pre-registration is required to participate in the public hearing. Written comment is encouraged and will be accepted by e-mail up until the day and time of the hearing. The public is also welcomed to submit questions about the proposed changes via email. Additional information can be found on the KDOC Website.


Water Associations Send Letter to Congress Regarding CERCLA Exemption for PFAS
The National Rural Water Association has joined 9 other water associations in sending a letter to Congress regarding The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) noting that a hazardous substance designation for PFAS under the act could pose severe unintended consequences on water systems. CERCLA, also known as Superfund, provides a federal trust fund to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous-waste sites, and to clean up accidents, spills, and other releases of pollutants and contaminants into the environment. The joint letter notes that when drinking water or water reuse utilities remove PFAS from source water, they are then responsible for the disposal of the filter media. According to the U.S. EPA, CERCLA seeks out the parties responsible for any release and the subsequent cooperation in the cleanup. However, if the disposal location ever becomes a Superfund site, the water utility might be held liable. PFAS chemicals come through the raw influent that arrives at the treatment plant, which comes from domestic, commercial, and industrial sources. The letter encourages Congress to pose a water system exemption if PFAS are designated as CERCLA hazardous substances. [source]


PFAS Trial Scheduled
The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) had previously partnered with the law firm Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, to bring together utility systems from across the country that have concerns or that have been affected by PFAS contamination in order to help water and wastewater systems recoup money spent on treatment and remediation. A Bellweather Trial is now scheduled for January 2023. If your system has PFAS detects at any level or your water source is near an airport, military base, landfill, firefighting activity center or manufacturing facility, you are encouraged to consider joining the NRWA PFAS lawsuit.


EPA Approves Kansas’ List of Impaired Waters
EPA has approved Kansas’ 2022 list of impaired waters. A water body is placed on an impaired waters list when monitoring finds that pollutant levels prevent the lake, river or stream from attaining its designated uses. Designated uses include human recreation, fish consumption, and maintaining healthy aquatic life. Once a water body is included on an impaired waters list, development of a TMDL – a budget for water pollution – is necessary. TMDLs set the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards. TMDLs also guide decision-making about how to improve water quality by looking at all the different sources of pollution. [source]


How Small Kansas Companies Bring Faster Internet to Rural Places that Telecom Giants Ignore
A growing number of small towns, farms and ranches are finally joining the Digital Age with help from small, local companies that have more of a stake in the rural areas they call home. They’ve found ways to stretch state and federal subsidies to strategically install high-capacity wires to homes, or construct over-the-air relays, to bring more robust speeds to remote outposts, town-by-town, farmstead-by-farmstead. “While we need to make money to continue to exist, we don’t answer to Wall Street,” Pioneer CEO Catherine Moyer said. “We don’t answer to shareholders. … We have member-owners.” [source]


To Save Water Amid a Megadrought, Las Vegas Outlaws Grass
Unprecedented water restrictions are being ramped up across the American West as a severe drought continues to plague the region. A move in Las Vegas to replace thirsty, sprinkler-fed grass with drought-tolerant, drip-irrigated plants is hoped to reduce water use by up to 70 percent. The lawn ban follows years of extensive efforts to cut water use, including a voluntary “cash for grass” program, begun in 1999, for individual homeowners to lose their lawns, limits on watering, and the establishment of a team of water waste investigators. But with no end in sight for the drought, and with the region’s continued growth, measures like these haven’t been enough, said John J. Entsminger, the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s general manager. The region depends on Lake Mead, the nearby reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, for 90 percent of its drinking water. New outdoor watering restrictions also were recently announced by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, effective June 1, as officials there worry whether the region will have enough water to get through the summer months. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last week announced two separate urgent drought response actions that will help prop up Lake Powell by nearly 1 million acre-feet of water over the next 12 months. Those measures are primarily aimed at protecting hydropower generation at Glen Canyon's Lake Powell, and the water supply for the city of Page, Arizona, and the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. [source]


KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training

    May 11: Competent Person in Trenching & Excavation (Chanute)
    May 11: Wastewater Lagoon Operation and Maintenance (Troy)
    May 12: Confined Space Training (Chanute)
    May 17: Well, Pump & Tank Operation & Maintenance (Assaria)
    May 18: Well, Pump & Tank Operation & Maintenance (Arkansas City)
    May 18: Wastewater Operator Certification Training (McPherson)
    May 18: Water Operator Certification Training (McPherson)
    May 19: Well, Pump & Tank Operation & Maintenance (Pittsburg)


Drought Monitor
Several rounds of precipitation have provided much-needed improvement to soil moisture levels and streamflows across many parts of Kansas and surrounding states. Flooding was noted across southeast Kansas. However, the precipitation has not been uniform and some drought-stricken areas of the region largely missed out on last week’s storms. We finally see some slight improvement in Kansas on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, where intensification had been shown over several prior weeks. This week’s Drought Monitor also was fairly conservative with improvements, due mainly to longer-term deficits. Changes depicted on this week's map (as always) represent broad broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may vary.
High Plains portion of the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Apr. 28, 2022.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas