October, 2013 - Vol 8, Issue 4

In This Issue
NDRWSA 28th Annual Water Expo
Sustainable Infrastructure is Key to Economic Development
North Dakota Rural Water Finance Corporation
NRWA Revolving Loan Fund
Protect Yourself From H2S!
Literary Corner: Blue Revolution
Upcoming Events

Eric Volk, Executive Director

Lisa Schatz, Finance Manager

Kathy Berg, Admin. Assistant

Chuck Mischel, Op Cert Program

Mike Ritteman, Circuit Rider-East

Ward Heidbreder, Circuit Rider-West
Les Sigette, Wastewater Tech

Rod Stroh, Drought Mgmt Specialist

Andy McDonald, Source Water Protection

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.

NDRWSA 28th Annual Water Expo 


It seems like just a few months ago we all gathered in Bismarck for what was another successful Expo. Well, it is that time of year again when we prepare for what promises to be another outstanding event for the North Dakota drinking water and waste water community. Expo 2014 will be held February 18-20, 2014, at the Ramada Plaza & Suites in Fargo. For those of you that are water system personnel, you will have to suppress your excitement for the time being, as the attendee registration does not open until December. However, we are currently accepting exhibitor registrations for this marquee event. Past attendees and exhibitors can attest that our exhibit hall experience is second to none in the region. While our exhibit hall is open, we make it a point to allow attendees and vendors the interaction they need to optimize the time that they have together. As our conference continues to grow, booth space becomes limited so don't hesitate to reserve your booth for Expo 2014.


Click here for online registration information

Sustainable Infrastructure is Key to Economic Development 

Sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure is a critical foundation of economic development, but in uncertain economic times it is even more critical.  Rural economic activity depends on sustainable infrastructure, making it the first rung on the ladder of opportunity for rural and economically challenged communities.  Without basic infrastructure such as rural water systems that provide safe, dependable, and efficient wastewater and drinking water services, there would be no support for the economic activities that are necessary for continued success and growth as a nation.  The work carried out by rural Americans stands as the backbone to the strength of our nation.

USDA Rural Development and the EPA have joined forces to provide resources to our nation's small and rural communities' water and wastewater systems to increase levels of sustainability. Both USDA and EPA have worked closely with rural and small systems, with input from rural operators and managers, to develop flexible, user friendly tools to help rural and small system managers and operators ensure their communities are strong, safe and sustainable.  USDA and EPA are rolling out the two new tools that are designed specifically for rural and small water and wastewater system operators and managers.

 The first tool is "Rural and Small Systems Guidebook to Sustainable Utility Management".  This Guidebook takes small systems through a series of steps to assess their current operations based on ten key management areas developed using best practices.  The Guidebook allows rural and small systems assess their strengths and priorities for improvement, which will lead to an action plan to address those priorities and challenges.  The Guidebook also contains an extensive inventory of other utility management tools to help rural and small systems.

The second tool is called "Workshop in a Box".  The Workshop contains a series of materials and instructions to help both small systems and technical assistance providers market and conduct workshops on their own based on the Guidebook.  These materials can be used either in a group setting with several systems, or on-site with a team of individuals from a single system.

With more sustainable water and wastewater systems in rural communities, the rungs on the ladder of opportunity will become closer together and afford those communities greater environmental protection and economic opportunities. 


John C. Padalino


U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service


North Dakota Rural Water Finance Corporation


The North Dakota Rural Water Finance Corporation (NDRWFC) was created in December 1998 by the North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association (NDRWSA).  In an effort to assist borrowers across the State of North Dakota with the overwhelming burden of financing capital construction projects, the NDRWFC, in conjunction with Morgan Keegan, have created the Interim Construction Loan Program to provide funding for communities which have received a permanent loan commitment from the USDA, Rural Development (RD).  The program is structured to provide a mechanism for obtaining competitive fixed rate loans for construction projects at a very low cost of borrowing.


The program is designed as tax-exempt pooled financing with the NDRWFC as the program administrator. The loan rate is fixed for generally one year at a time.  Loan funds are disbursed on an invoice requisition basis.  The effective rate of borrowing is based on the loan rate less an interest earnings credit on undisbursed construction proceeds.  The effective rate of funds is estimated at approximately 1.25% - 2.25%.  Depending on the success of the program, the potential for an interest rebate to the borrower does exist but is not guaranteed.  Should excess funds exist after the closing of the program, an interest rebate will be made to program participants.  Any potential rebate will lower the effective cost of funds to the borrower.


Click here to learn more about NDRWFC 


NRWA Revolving Loan Fund


The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) Revolving Loan Fund was established under a grant from USDA/RUS to provide financing to eligible utilities for pre-development costs associated with proposed water and wastewater projects.  Revolving Loan Funds can also be used with existing water/wastewater systems and the short term costs incurred for replacement equipment, small scale extension of services or other small capital projects that are not a part of regular operations and maintenance.


Systems applying must be public entities.  This includes municipalities, counties, special purpose districts, Native American Tribes and corporations not operated for profit, including cooperatives, with up to 10,000 population and rural areas with no population limits.


Click here for more information


Protect Yourself From H2S!
by Rick Allen, BioLynceus 
In my travels around the country teaching classes about H2S, I am still amazed at the number of injuries and deaths that occur every year from this deadly gas. The stories, I hear, are real life experiences told to me by operators, wastewater workers, utility personnel and rescue crews. They are always gruesome and almost always preventable.   


The number of people affected by H2S exposure and requiring medical assistance averages around 1000 per year and the deaths occurring from H2S are numbered at between 1 and 25 each year. If reports are correct in the last 90 days of 2011 there were at least 6 deaths related to H2S exposure.


Where can you find H2S? It can be anywhere in your operation. Although once believed to be primarily in forced mains, we are now seeing it everywhere. In a recent conversation I was asked if H2S can be in storm sewers. The answer is a definite. Yes!


In a conversation with an equipment supplier to the water and wastewater industry, he relayed to me that when he opened an electrical box in a system's office his H2S detector activated telling him the H2S inside the box was above 10 PPM.


So, when we say H2S can be anywhere, we really mean anywhere. H2S is a byproduct of anaerobic bacterial degradation of organic material.


Now the question arises, how do you protect yourself from injury or possible death from this deadly gas? How do you as a supervisor protect your employees and co-workers? 


Click here to view full length article 



 Literary Corner: Blue Revolution by Cynthia Barnett
Book Review by Beacon Press
In Blue Revolution, award-winning journalist Cynthia Barnett reports on the many ways one of the most water-rich nations on the planet has squandered its way to scarcity, and argues the best solution is also the simplest and least expensive: a water ethic for America.
From backyard waterfalls and grottoes in California to sinkholes swallowing chunks of Florida, Blue Revolution exposes how the nation's green craze largely missed water - the No. 1 environmental concern of most Americans. But the book is big on inspiration, too. Blue Revolution combines investigative reporting with solutions from around the nation and the globe. From San Antonio to Singapore, Barnett shows how local communities and entire nations have come together in a shared ethic to dramatically reduce consumption and live within their water means.
The first book to call for a national water ethic, Blue Revolution is also a powerful meditation on water and community in America.
Blue Revolution may be found at your local library or bookstore. 
Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendar 

October 30, 2013, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM CDT

Free Webinar: The Benefits of Water Well Asset Maintenance

Click here to register


December 11-12, 2013

50th Annual ND Joint Water Convention & Irrigation Expo 

Best Western Ramkota, Bismarck, ND

Click here for convention agenda and registration information


February 18-20, 2014

NDRWSA 28th Annual Water Expo

Ramada Plaza & Suites, Fargo, ND

Click here for exhibitor registration

(Attendee Registration Will Open in December)  

Contact Information

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


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