Volume 19 Issue 3
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Inside this Issue:
Many water systems that disinfect are using chlorine analyzers for monitoring chlorine residuals. Chlorine analyzers are great. They test the water continuously and can be connected to control systems that can adjust the chlorine feed rate based on the measurement, calculate CT for systems required to provide disinfection, or even activate alarms if the concentration is too low or high. But are chlorine analyzers a set-it-and-forget-it technology? According to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the answer is no; at least not for surface water systems and those systems required to disinfect under the Groundwater Rule. For these systems, 40 CFR § 141.74(a)(2) states, “Instruments used for continuous monitoring must be calibrated with a grab sample measurement at least every five days, or with a protocol approved by the State.” While Maine currently doesn’t have an alternate approved protocol, there is another way to comply without recalibrating the device every five days. EPA established Method 334.0, which allows for a comparison test, as opposed to recalibration. At least once every seven days, the chlorine analyzer is tested against a grab sample using an approved method. Provided the results between the grab sample and the chlorine analyzer are within 0.1 mg/L or 15%, whichever is greater, the chlorine analyzer is considered to be calibrated. Acceptable methods are listed in the table found in 40 CFR § 141.74. The DPD colorimetric method is included. EPA Method 334.0 also contains calibration check requirements for new, out of spec, and adjusted chlorine analyzers. Again, these requirements are only for surface water systems and those disinfecting per the Groundwater Rule using a chlorine analyzer but are definitely a good idea for everyone that has one of these devices. For more information about this method, visit http://www.epa.gov/safewater/methods/pdfs/methods/met334_0.pdf.
Greetings from Augusta. I hope everyone was able to enjoy our great summer weather.
At the conclusion of the 2011 Legislative Session, Representative Patrick Flood and his colleagues in the Legislature once again showed their strong commitment to helping water systems access affordable funding. In the 2012-2013 Biennial Budget, the Legislature and the Governor approved a 10-year source of State match for our Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
In 2013, the State will renegotiate the wholesale liquor contract. This contract is estimated to last for 10 years. Up to 15 percent of the revenue from this contract will be used for State Match for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (administered by the Department of Environmental Protection).
This funding will eliminate the need for the legislature and voters to approve a bond referendum to borrow the necessary State match. While saving water systems, legislators and voters both time and money.Having a known State match funding source will also remove the uncertainty that we typically face. By knowing that funding is in place, more construction projects will start at the most appropriate time, enabling water systems to better plan for our limited construction season. The source of State match for 2012 and 2013 is still uncertain. We will be working with our Department leadership, as well as the Governor’s Office, to develop a State match plan for the next two years.
Our ability to access the necessary State match and the corresponding federal grant has impacts on all public water systems. In addition to providing low interest loans and grants, the federal grant provides funding for: 17 DWP staff positions, small water system technical assistance, operator training, wellhead protection grants, capacity development grants, consolidation grants, education and outreach, land acquisition loans, and more.
We would like to thank Representative Flood for his vision and leadership in creating greater stability to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Yours for safe drinking water,
"Boil Water Order," "Do Not Drink Order," and "Do Not Use Order" are phrases that public water systems want to avoid. These Orders will not only disrupt the normal service to your customers but could cost you money and customer confidence. When your customers are at risk of illness due to contamination entering your water, you must take immediate action to provide notification and remedy the situation.
Not all situations that put your customers at risk are black and white. Therefore, the Drinking Water Program has had a Boil Water Order policy in place for many years to help the Drinking Water Program and public water systems to make these important decisions. Over the past several months, Drinking Water Program staff have been working on an updated policy that includes "Do Not Drink" and "Do Not Use" Orders.
Although much of the policy is very similar to the previous version, there have been some important changes that you should be aware of including:
1) In many cases a Boil Water Order due to chlorination failure may be lifted simply by restoring the chlorination to the proper level.
2) The new policy gives additional guidance on how to identify the risk of contamination entering the water system during a loss of pressure (main break, well pump failure). The policy also provides information on how to reduce and mitigate that risk so a Boil Water Order might not be needed.
Please check out our new policy at our website ww.medwp.com. DWP staff will be providing training on this topic at a variety of locations in the coming months.
Scott Whitney has recently moved from the Compliance and Enforcement Team to join the Field Inspection Team. Scott is the new Field Inspector for transient and non-transient, non-community water systems in Region 5, taking over the position left vacant from the retirement of Jeff Folger. Scott had previously been working as a Compliance Officer for community and non-transient, non-community water systems in Region D. Scott can be reached at 592-0578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yvette Meunier has recently moved to a new Compliance district within the Compliance and Enforcement Team. Yvette will now be a Compliance Officer for community and non-transient non-community water systems. Yvette had previously been working as the Compliance Officer for transient, non-community water systems throughout the state. Yvette can be reached at 287-5545 or email@example.com.
Tera Pare, Rulemaking Coordinator
RULES RELATING TO DRINKING WATER: The Drinking Water Program is proposing changes to the Rules Relating to Drinking Water, Chapter 231. There will be advertising for public hearing on the Drinking Water Program’s website, as well as advertising at the Secretary of State’s Office website and the following newspapers: Portland Press Herald, Lewiston Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal, the Bangor Daily News, and the Morning Sentinel.
RULES RELATING TO FLUORIDATION OF PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS: The Drinking Water Program is incorporating relevant aspects of these Rules (Chapter 228) into the Rules Relating to Drinking Water and adding other language, specific to fluoridation. There will be an opportunity for comment during the public hearing scheduled for the Rules Relating to Drinking Water.
RULES RELATING TO THE LICENSURE OF WATER SYSTEM OPERATORS: The Board of Licensure of Water System Operators is proposing rule changes to these Rules. See "Water Operator Board News" article on page 6 for more details of the proposed changes.
For questions about specific rule changes, please contact Tera at (207) 287-5680.Back to Top
Norm Lamie, Chief Engineer
Just when you thought you were done with ARRA, here come the auditors. Thirty five drinking water utilities in Maine were able to undertake important public water improvements with $19.5 M of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) a.k.a. Stimulus Funds in 2009 and 2010.
In mid-June, two Maine water utilities were notified by a federal contractor that on behalf of the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG), they would be conducting an “ARRA Document Verification site visit.” The site visit, expected to take about four to five hours, consisted of verification of documents, followed by a site (or project area) visit, including the contractor’s site office or trailer when construction is active at the site (that can be difficult when the project was completed two years ago). The notification noted that; during the site visit the following (applicable) items were reviewed: job creation/retention number and narratives, Davis-Bacon wage interview documentation, payroll records, Buy American documentation, project specific-waivers, de minimis documentation, and green reserve documentation.
I am pleased to report that it appears Bowdoinham Water District and Kennebec Water District met the numerous questions and “document verification” inquiries from OIG with complete and expert knowledge. Great work by all involved, superintendents, trustees, and consulting engineers!
Advice to all ARRA recipients – keep your documentation files in order. You never know when what the next phone call might bring.
Tera Pare, Enforcement & Rulemaking Coordinator
The path to drinking water compliance can be long, winding and arduous, particularly when a public water system reports levels above the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) for disinfectants or disinfection byproducts. A wide variety of factors could explain why a public water system (PWS) may be in violation of either the Stage 1 or Stage 2 Disinfectants/Disinfection Byproducts Rules (D/DBP), and because the source water chemistry varies at each location, there is no one easy or quick fix.
The DWP, in its efforts to protect public health, enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act and meet its primacy obligations to EPA, responds to these violations by offering to negotiate settlements with any PWS in consistent violation of the D/DBP Rules. This negotiation period provides an opportunity for both the DWP and the PWS to reach a mutual agreement, which is memorialized in an administrative consent order that includes a schedule and plan for the PWS to move forward.
Staying in frequent contact with the Drinking Water Program, particularly the enforcement contact managing the consent order, is crucial, in order to avoid miscommunication or any further enforcement. Often, the DWP is willing to extend the date, if the request is reasonable.
Many of Maine’s public water systems serving surface water entered administrative consent orders. Some of those orders were effective as early as 2007. While a few continue to struggle to effectively bring D/DBP levels below the MCL’s or secure adequate financing, many have returned to compliance successfully. This DBP path to compliance often proves troubling, expensive and complicated, and it takes thoughtful and patient PWS superintendents, operators, engineers, and consultants to find an effective solution.
Congratulations to Passamaquoddy Water District for meeting all terms of their April 2009 Consent Order and returning to compliance with the Stage 1 D/DBP Rule! After investigating and correcting filter plant operation, which included optimizing Total Organic Carbon (TOC) removal rates, the PWS contracted with an engineering firm to conduct a comprehensive study to determine the next course of action. The plan that worked for Passamaquoddy Water District was to engage in a number of actions, which include the following: reduce the chlorine residual, increase chlorine dioxide, reduce flow through the treatment plant, measure the amount of acid added, increase sampling of TOC removal, increase flushing of the water transmission and distribution system, run bleeders in the distribution system, eliminate multiple backwashes, and manually backwash filters. It is important to note that this specific course of action would not work for every system. However, Passamaquoddy Water District was able to report four consecutive quarters below the Running Annual Average during 2010, which brought the PWS back into compliance with the D/DBP Rules.
A Look at the History of Protecting Lake Auburn
Andy Tolman, Assistant Director
When President Reagan signed the 1986 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, there were ripples in many ponds in Maine. Many public water systems used lakes and ponds as their water source, and served the water to their customers after disinfecting with chlorine. The new law required that they install filtration unless they could prove that the excellent water quality in their lake and their watershed protection provided strong public health protection.
Over the next several years, water systems in Maine conducted studies and made plans in order to avoid spending the tens of millions of dollars required to put in filtration plants. Some systems abandoned their surface sources and drilled wells, many ended up installing filtration plants, and about a dozen were able to show that they had high lake water quality and were able to protect their watershed to maintain that quality.
Lewiston and Auburn have shared Lake Auburn as their drinking water source since 1873. In 1993, in response to the new federal requirements for watershed protection, they formed the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission. The Lake Auburn watershed includes land in Auburn, Turner, Hebron, Minot and Buckfield, and the membership on the commission reflects this diversity. The Commission, and the water systems, faced a significant challenge. The Lake Auburn Watershed, particularly near the lake, has significant existing development, and includes Route 4, a major transportation corridor.
In order to maintain water quality in the lake, the Commission worked with landowners to acquire shoreline and other key watershed properties, and to purchase easements and develop management plans for other properties. The Commission currently manages land use on 20% of the watershed, including 80% of the shoreline. They have also adopted a set of land use and development standards based on good science to keep drinking water safe during and after development.
When assessments of the drinking water supplies in Maine were conducted for EPA, the hard work and diligence of the water systems and the Commission proved impressive. To maintain water quality and continue to serve their customers water without filtration, Lewiston and Auburn will need to continue to be vigilant in watershed protection. This work saves the customers a significant amount of money, and also makes Lake Auburn a cleaner, safer lake for other uses.
Without the continuing management provided by the Commission, it is likely that the lake water quality would decrease, and algae and aquatic plant growth would increase. Both the fishery and aesthetic quality of the lake would suffer. The Maine Drinking Water Program is proud to be a partner with our water systems, and particularly proud of the work that Lewiston and Auburn and the other Commission members do to keep Lake Auburn safe and secure. (Photo courtesy of Auburn Water and Sewerage Districts)
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and prevention has given several Water Fluoridation Quality Awards for 2010. 2010 was an excellent year for quality control of fluoride levels here in Maine. Check out the DWP website at www.medwp.com for a list of systems who maintained excellent levels all 12 months.
T’was the eve of the New Year
And all through the plant
Operators were searching
for certificates of learning.
Some crumpled and stained,
In the back of the drawer
Six, Twelve, Eighteen
TIME TO RENEW YOUR LICENSE
Operators with 12/31/2011 renewal dates:
Renewal applications will be mailed November 1st. A report of submitted training as of September is on the reverse side of your form. If the record fulfills your requirements, the only task is to write a check, sign and return your form.
For training that is not recorded on the back of your form, or taken later than September, please write the training in the box and attach photocopies of certificates.
Early bird benefits. Training attended is credited to the active license at the time of training. If you have completed the required training for the renewal period, you may send in your renewal form and check beginning November 1, 2011. Training taken after you renew your license will be credited to the next renewal cycle. Unfortunately, this also works if you delay in renewing. Training taken before you renew your license will be applied to your 2011 license until your license is renewed for 2012, no matter the date of the training. TCHs may not be carried from one renewal period to the next.
Grace period. Sometimes, there are circumstances that require an extension. March 2nd is the point where licenses become inactive, systems may be found to be operating without a licensed operator, and a late fee is added. If you know of an operator on active military service, please let us know, so we can adjust requirements.
Check the website for more TCH record-keeping hints and the record of training earned. Most training providers submit attendance rosters for direct credit to your license. But keep those certificates just in case. Remember to add your license number to the sign-in roster. It helps get the credit where it is due!
There are proposed changes to the Rules Relating to the Licensure of Water System Operators (90-429 CMR 1). The proposed rules may be found on the website in their entirety. Proposed changes include:
The changes appear to be lengthy, due to restructuring the rules for clarity. Please review them and contact a Board member or Teresa Trott at 287-7485 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The Division of Environmental Health continues to work to eliminate waste and perform more efficiently. With input from Local Plumbing Inspectors and Site Evaluators, the Subsurface Wastewater Unit (SWU) will eliminate the permit labels or “stickers” that we have issued to Local Plumbing Inspectors for decades for use on subsurface wastewater applications and internal plumbing applications. The intent of issuing numbered permit labels was to monitor the number and types of permits issued by municipalities; however, the SWU hasn’t used the labels for that purpose for some time, and therefore, we are doing away with them. As of August 1, 2011, Subsurface Wastewater Unit will no longer issue permit labels to municipalities. The label is now just part of the forms. The revised application forms have replicated the information that would have been included on a permit label. If you have any questions about this change, contact James Jacobsen at 287-5695, or by email at James.Jacobsen@maine.gov. Copies of the HHE-200 Form and HHE-211 Form may be downloaded from our web site at http://www.mainepublichealth.gov/septic-systems.
Danielle Obery, Compliance Officer
KKW Water District recently became the only water utility in Maine using chlorine dioxide as a preliminary disinfectant (oxidizing agent). KKW conducted a successful pilot study from April 1-June 4, 2011 that was followed by DWP approval for full scale implementation. The new permanent treatment regimen has been online for approximately three months. Below is an excerpt from an article written by Bill Snyder, treatment plant manager at Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells Water District, explaining KKW's recent switch to chlorine dioxide. The article appeared in their summer newsletter accompanying their consumer confidence report and can be viewed in full at www.kkw.org.
KKW has just completed their 2011 pilot study for replacing pre-chlorination with chlorine dioxide (ClO2). Chlorine dioxide is used by many European countries with multi-faceted applications both in the food processing industry and for water treatment. Although this treatment trial particularly applies to surface water (worse case organic demand), it will help when blending groundwater sources too. ClO2 provides three distinct treatment benefits: 1.) It dramatically lowers disinfection byproducts, which are know to increase certain cancer risks, 2.) It oxidizes dissolved minerals present in the water that can create precipitates, color and the clogging of hot water heating systems, and 3.) It reduces undesirable taste and odor, most notably the smell of chlorine. The ClO2 trial worked so well that we have decided to purchase the system. Although we are refining for optimum dosing for our particular water chemistry, at this stage, all customers will notice a vast improvement in aesthetic water quality (chlorine taste and odor).
Chlorine dioxide has been used to treat drinking water for over 50 years. It was first used in Niagara Falls, New York for taste and odor control. Some other important facts about chlorine dioxide: chlorine dioxide is the primary alternative to free chlorine for oxidation and disinfection and is 10 times more soluble in water than chlorine. Chlorine dioxide is unaffected by pH over a broad range (pH 4-8). It does not react with ammonia and does not aid in the formation of trihalomethanes or haloacetic acids. It has superior manganese oxidation and inactivates giardia and other viruses. Chlorine dioxide is volatile and subject to photo decomposition, and therefore must be generated on site.
In addition to improvements noted, the KKW Water District has experienced a significant lowering of their DBP numbers since switching to chlorine dioxide, with both trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids being reported in the high single numbers to low teens for most locations.
Bill Snyder, Treatment Plant Manager, stands next to KKW's new chlorine dioxide treatment system. Photo courtesy of KKW.
James Jacobsen, Project Manager, Subsurface Wastewater Unit
The Subsurface Wastewater Unit approved a design for an experimental subsurface sewage disposal system design on April 4, 2011. The experimental system was designed to serve the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance’s new facility at 157 Main Street, Belgrade. The plans for the system were drafted by Albert Frick Associates and James Hart, P.E., Kennebec Water District on behalf of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance.
The experimental system uses alum-based water treatment residuals (WTR), sourced from the Kennebec Water District, beneath a concrete chamber disposal area. The disposal area receives effluent from a Chromaglass wastewater treatment unit to treat the wastewater prior to introduction to the disposal area. The focus of the experimental use of WTR is removal of phosphorus from the effluent. Research submitted as part of the experimental system application shows significant promise for phosphorus removal by WTR.