Streamline - Spring 2016 - (Page 23)
BY JIM MARAS, COMMUNITY PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR RD IN VIRGINIA
CONSOLIDATION CAN BE a touchy subject in rural areas. Usually, we are talking about voluntary consolidations, but in California,
the State Water Board now has the authority to force consolidations if water systems consistently fail to provide safe drinking water.
Is that the right direction? Let's look at
some items to consider.
My experience in working with rural
water systems has trained me to know it
is best to immediately duck to avoid flying debris after bringing up water system
consolidation. Rural America has many
memories related to school consolidations, mega corporate mergers and other
acquisitions that did not always end well.
Many times the feeling of a loss of control
or not having your voice heard causes
resentment and frustration.
Despite the negative perceptions on
consolidations, there are some potential
positive outcomes. There can be gains in
efficiency with a larger user base, more
effective use of staff, more effective use
of equipment, a dedicated management
staff and, most importantly, better service
to the customers via a sustainable water
system. Obtaining an economy of scale
for operations, staffing and especially
management should be the goal for consolidation discussions.
I will use a parody of a famous comedian that goes something like this, "if
you play outside when the high temperature is below zero, you might be from
Minnesota" and so on. To illustrate when
you might want to discuss consolidation,
I will use the following system characteristics. If your system has these features,
you may want to consider consolidation
with another system:
* If you have trouble meeting permit
requirements, you may want to...
* If you have trouble making repairs
24/7, you may want to...
* If your staff performs duties not related
to the water system, you may want to...
* If your system revenues are not adequate to cover all costs, you may want
* If you have trouble getting active board
members, you may want to...
* If your manager spends more time on
operations than management, you may
* If you wonder whether your system
will be there for your grandchildren,
you may want to...
Since I have raised the topic of consolidation, I am ducking behind my desk!
USDA Rural Development in Virginia
has invested more than $350 million since
2009 to improve water infrastructure in
rural areas. Ninety five percent of the
funding has gone into communities with
5,000 or fewer residents. We utilize more
than 40 programs to improve the lives of
rural Virginians and fulfill our mission
of improving the economy and quality
of life in rural Virginia. Contact your
local USDA Rural Development office
for information on how we can help
Current PROJECTS at RETAW
Sludge Dewatering | Copper & Zinc Effluent Limits
IFAS Denitrification | Industrial Wastewater Treatment & Permitting
Iron & Manganese Removal
Reverse Osmosis |SCADA
MUNICIPAL | STATE | FEDERAL | INDUSTRIAL
* Bench-Scale & Pilot-Scale Studies
* Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant
» Plant Start-ups
» Troubleshooting & Process Optimization
* Operator Training
Treatment Chemical Supplies
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: (804) 744-1792
Website: www.retaweng.com | Mobile: (804) 245-2979
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2016
From the President: Strong
From the Executive Director: Do You Need VRWA?
Thanks for the Memories!
Future Operators: Implementing A Career
Claypool Hill: Triumph Over Adversity
Work Zone Safety Awareness: V-DOT Work Zone Traffic Control Certification
Water System Consolidation
Decline of Coal: Economic Effects on Utilities
Effectively Managing Inventory Space and Costs
VRWA Report Card
Planning Reports Funded for Three Rural Water and Waste Projects in Central Virginia
VRWA Members Corner
Throwing My Loop: A Positive Life...
Benefits for VRWA Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Spring 2016