Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Session 11A: Utility Management
Tuesday, 10/Sep/2019:
8:00am - 9:30am

Session Chair: Hunter Bennett-Daggett, Tetra Tech;
Location: D136

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8:00am - 8:45am

Impact of Water Conservation and Climate Change on Wastewater Treatment and Utilities in General

Mario Benisch1, Dave Clark1, Werner Maier2

1HDR, United States of America; 2IAT, Stuttgart, Germany;

Across the industrial world water use has been on the decline for decades. While the US remains a country with a high per capita water use; it has been and it continues to decline, and very importantly has significant potential for further reduction. This reduction is driven by a combination of more efficient fixtures and appliance and increased awareness and can be accelerated regionally by severe drought conditions such as recently seen in Texas and California. The reduced consumption has obvious water conservation benefits in general, there are also direct and indirect impacts on both the water supply as well as wastewater conveyance and treatment. More concentrated influents also means higher concentrations of compliance relevant problem parameters such as total and refractory nitrogen, soluble nonreactive phosphorus, total dissolved solids, and any number of emerging contaminants. Numeric effluent requirements are more difficult to meet as influent concentrations increase.

The impact of water conservation can be amplified by infiltration and inflow control measures. While it may seem counter intuitive, I&I reduction can have the negative side effect of exacerbating the issue by further reducing the flow in the collection system during dry weather condition. Locally, droughts can accelerate flow reduction through sinking ground water levels (less I&I) as well as mandatory or voluntary use reduction. When unplanned this can throw utilities into financial turmoil because in many places sewer rates are tied to water use. Further complicating matters, climate change and more extreme weather require infrastructure investment to handle the other end of the flow range.

The subject of water conservation and climate change vs. water and wastewater infrastructure is one that the industry as a whole, utilities, engineers, and regulators have to tackle.

8:45am - 9:30am

Technical Assistance and Funding Opportunities for Small Systems

Kent Erickson, Trish Cousins

USDA Rural Development, United States of America; ,

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development (RD) Water Environmental Program is one of the major sources of funding and technical assistance to small water and waste systems. Currently, Rural Development is allocated around $4 billion in loans and grants per year for water and waste infrastructure projects to small and rural communities. RD recognizes that to build sustainable and resilient water and wastewater systems, it is crucial to create and support the operational and managerial capacity of rural communities, while simultaneously streamlining access to funding, and coordinating with other funders to creatively finance infrastructure.

More than 79 percent of public wastewater systems are small systems, meaning they serve 10,000 or fewer people. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State Revolving Funds (SRF) Programs’ Clean Watersheds Needs Survey estimated a need of almost $271 billion for wastewater systems over the next 20 years. Rural communities face unique challenges and often require financial, technical, managerial and operational assistance to build sustainable infrastructure.

RD supports technical assistance for water and wastewater systems by partnering with the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP). These non-profit organizations provide technical assistance to small water and waste systems, with a presence in all 50 states.

This session will cover the types of technical, managerial and operational assistance that are available to rural systems, and how to obtain it – usually at no cost to the system. This session will briefly cover funding opportunities available from USDA Rural Development. Case studies from water and wastewater systems will highlight how this assistance helps to rebuild and sustain rural systems across the United States.

This presentation is designed to be a total of 0.5 hours presentation with a 10 minute Q&A.

Learning goals

Funding opportunities available from USDA RD for water and waste projects.

Grants available to help with the application process, preliminary studies and environmental documents.

Technical assistance available through USDA RD partners.

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