April, 2013 - Vol 8, Issue 2

In This Issue
National Rivers and Streams Assessment
NRCS Offers Assistance with Pipeline Reclamation
Waterborne Epidemic?
Literary Corner: The Big Thirst
Financial Corner: Revision of Form I-9
Upcoming Events

Eric Volk, Executive Director

Lisa Schatz, Finance Manager

Kathy Berg, Admin. Assistant

Chuck Mischel, Op Cert Program

Mike Ritteman, Circuit Rider-East

Tom Sieg, Circuit Rider-West
Les Sigette, Wastewater Tech

Rod Stroh, Drought Mgmt Specialist

Andy McDonald, Training Specialist

Executive Board

Keith Nilson, President
Michele Schommer, Vice President
LaVonne Althoff, Secretary
Joe LaFave, Treasurer
Jon Nelson, Director at Large
John Bearman, National Rep.

Geneva Kaiser, Managers Rep.

Gordon Blixt, Past President

Contact Us


2718 Gateway Ave. #201

Bismarck, ND 58503

Phone: 1-800-349-6951

Fax: 701-258-5002




The mission of the North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association is to educate, support, and lead its members in providing quality service to their customers.

Recent EPA Assessment Categorizes Over Half of the Nation's Rivers and Streams in Poor Biological Condition


This National Rivers and Streams Assessment 2008-2009: A Collaborative Survey (NRSA) presents the results of an unprecedented sampling effort undertaken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its state and tribal partners. It provides information on the ecological condition of the nation's rivers and streams and the key stressors that affect them, both on a national and an ecoregional scale. It also discusses change in water quality conditions in streams sampled for an earlier study, the Wadeable Streams Assessment of 2004.


The key findings of this survey indicate that 55% of the nation's river and stream miles do not support healthy populations of aquatic life. In comparison to the 2004 Wadeable Stream Assessment, 7% fewer stream miles are in good condition. Nitrogen and Phosphorus pollution in conjunction with poor habitat are the leading factors contributing to the poor biological condition in the rivers and streams. 


The entire draft copy of the National Rivers and Stream Assessment, along with a fact sheet that details the findings of the survey, can be viewed by following the link provided below.


National Rivers and Streams Assessment Homepage
NRCS Offers Assistance with Pipeline Reclamation


The Natural Resources Conservation Service staff has been providing assistance to various consulting firms and contractors on designing grass seeding mixtures for the ongoing reclamation and pipeline expansion activities in the western portion of North Dakota. As a result of these discussions, NRCS is reaching out to Rural Water System managers with an offer of assistance in designing grass seeding mixtures for use following rural water pipeline installation. Specifically, county NRCS offices as well as resource specialists in each of the three area offices (Devils Lake, Jamestown, and Dickinson) and at the Bismarck State Office would be available to provide assistance as requested. Some of the technical assistance NRCS could provide includes:


  1. Recommendations on species which are adapted to the soils and growing conditions for your location.
    1. Some southern species/varieties are not adapted to our growing conditions and will winter kill or underperform resulting in greater weed populations.
  2. Recommendations on species and/or varieties with the improved seedling vigor which would help ensure successful establishment.
  3. Recommended seeding mixtures which are compatible with adjoining land uses such as native rangeland/grassland, tame pasture or hay land.
    1. Some introduced grass species have been shown to be invasive (e.g. Kentucky bluegrass) when planted within or adjacent to native rangeland/grassland.
  4. Recommended seeding rates which are proven effective for stand establishment while still being cost affective. 

Contact your county NRCS office for assistance with pipeline reclamation projects. A technical guidance document is provided below.


Herbaceous Vegetation Establishment Guide


Waterborne Epidemic?  

Imagine if you will, living in an area that the average man has less than a 50% chance of living past the age of 30.  You are unable to move away or choose to do anything that will prolong your life.  Also, know that your sons will most likely suffer the same fate as your father, brothers, and most other males in your family.  Now consider that no one knows what is causing your kidneys to fail.  They just know that once you are diagnosed with the disease, you have been given a slow death sentence.

La Isla, Nicaragua is such a place.  The community with approximately 400 homes is referred to as the "City of Widows."  It is in the agriculture region in Northwestern Nicaragua.  The nearest large town is Chichigalpa with approximately 60,000 people.  It is an area known for growing sugar cane, since the cotton industry went bust in the late 1980's.
The disease is known as Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRI).  The local means of testing is through a blood sample and checking the level of creatinine.  Creatinine is the level of toxins in your blood through which kidney function is determined.  Unfortunately, this test does not discover the kidney disease until you have reached stage 3.  At this point you can no longer work and even simple activities have become increasingly exhausting.  You lose your job and with it goes the only income available for your family, roughly $800/year.  

Follow the link provided below to view the full length article.

Full Length Article 

Literary Corner: The Big Thirst


The water coming out of your kitchen tap is four billion years old and might well have been sipped by a Tyrannosaurus rex. Rather than only three states of water-liquid, ice, and vapor-there is a fourth, "molecular water," fused into rock 400 miles deep in the Earth, and that's where most of the planet's water is found. Unlike most precious resources, water cannot be used up; it can always be made clean enough again to drink-indeed, water can be made so clean that it's toxic. Water is the most vital substance in our lives but also more amazing and mysterious than we appreciate. As Charles Fishman brings vibrantly to life in this surprising and mind-changing narrative, water runs our world in a host of awe-inspiring ways, yet we take it completely for granted. But the era of easy water is over.


Bringing readers on a lively and fascinating journey- from the wet moons of Saturn to the water-obsessed hotels of Las Vegas, where dolphins swim in the desert, and from a rice farm in the parched Australian outback to a high-tech IBM plant that makes an exotic breed of pure water found nowhere in nature-Fishman vividly shows that we've already left behind a century-long golden age when water was thoughtlessly abundant, free, and safe and entered a new era of high-stakes water. In 2008, Atlanta came within ninety days of running entirely out of clean water. California is in a desperate battle to hold off a water catastrophe. And in the last five years Australia nearly ran out of water-and had to scramble to reinvent the country's entire water system. But as dramatic as the challenges are, the deeper truth Fishman reveals is that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis. We have more than enough water. We just don't think about it, or use it, smartly.


As Charles Fishman writes, "Many civilizations have been crippled or destroyed by an inability to understand water or manage it. We have a huge advantage over the generations of people who have come before us, because we can understand water and we can use it smartly." The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, about our essential relationship to it, and about the creativity we can bring to ensuring that we'll always have plenty of it.


The Big Thirst can be found at your local book store if you are interested in purchasing a copy. 


Financial Corner: Revision of Form I-9

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a long-awaited revision of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This new form has grown from one to two pages, while the instructions have expanded from four to seven pages. The form has a revision date of March 8, 2013, and an expiration date of March 31, 2016, and is available on the APA website at info.americanpayroll.org/pdfs/fpi/13c08-fi-9.pdf.

Use of the revised form: 60-day transition period
In a notice published in the Federal Register, USCIS advises that although employers should begin using the new form right away, older forms with revision dates of 2-2-09 and 8-7-09 will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the new form will be accepted [78 F.R. 15030, 3-8-13;

USCIS explains that some employers may need additional time to make necessary updates to their business processes to allow for use of the new form. Modifications to electronic systems may be particularly necessary for employers utilizing electronic Forms I-9. For these reasons, USCIS is providing employers 60 days to make necessary changes.

The revised Form I-9 

In Section 1:

The instructions (in the heading) have been clarified to read:  Employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment, but not before accepting a job offer. The data field for Maiden Name has been replaced with: Other Names Used (if any).  Data fields have been added for E-mail Address and Telephone Number, although these fields are optional. Below the checkbox for "aliens authorized to work," data fields have been added for Alien Registration Number/USCIS Number OR Form I-94 Admission Number. Data fields have been added for Foreign Passport Number and Country of Issuance (if applicable).


In Section 2:

 The instructions (in the heading) have been clarified to read: Employers or their authorized representative must complete and sign Section 2 within 3 business days of the employee's first day of employment. You must physically examine one document from List A OR examine a combination of one document from List B and one document from List C as listed on the "Lists of Acceptable Documents" on the next page of this form. For each document you review, record the following information: document title, issuing authority, document number, and expiration date, if any.   The revised instructions clarify that the person who examines the employee's documents must be the same person who signs Section 2 and that the examiner and the employee must both be physically present during the examination. The space for recording document information has been expanded and labels have been added to each information item. The Certification heading no longer includes the parenthetical sentence: State employment agencies may omit the date the employee began employment.

In Section 3:

The signature line now includes a space to "Print Name of Employer or Authorized Representative."


The revised Lists of Acceptable Documents
       * The following note has been added above the lists, which are essentially unchanged: Employees may present one selection from List A or a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

       * In List A, item 5 has been reformatted and punctuated for clarity: For a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer because of his or her status: a. Foreign passport; and b. Form I-94 or Form I-94A that has the following: (1) the same name as the passport; and (2) An endorsement of the alien's nonimmigrant status as long as that period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations identified on the form.

       * In List C, item 1 has been revised to include enumerated restrictions: A Social Security Account Number card, unless the card includes one of the following restrictions: (1) NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT (2) VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION (3) VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.

Looking for more on Form I-9? Register for our informative webinar "
Form I-9 - Getting It Right From the First Day of Work" to ensure your compliance and avoid big penalties.


Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendar 

April 29 - May 2, 2013

Small System Funding Options

North Dakota League of Cities Regional Meeting Sites


May 7-9 & 21-23, 2013

Operation & Maintenance Training

Six Regional Sites Across the State


May 20, 2013

Control Valve Training

South Central Regional Water District Office

Bismarck, ND


June 4-6, 2013

All Materials Locator Training

Three Regional Sites Across the State

(Registration to be available soon)


Visit our website to register for any of these training sessions.


Contact Information

ND Rural Water Systems Association
2718 Gateway Avenue #201
Bismarck, ND 58503
Phone: 800-349-6951
Fax: 701-258-5002


Join Our Mailing List!