Streamline - Spring 2016 - (Page 23)

Water System Consolidation 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 to.... * If you have trouble getting active board members, you may want to... * If your manager spends more time on operations than management, you may want to... * 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! Your MBE SWaM Certified Partner 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 your community.         Current PROJECTS at RETAW Wastewater: Sludge Dewatering | Copper & Zinc Effluent Limits IFAS Denitrification | Industrial Wastewater Treatment & Permitting Drinking Water: Iron & Manganese Removal Reverse Osmosis |SCADA MUNICIPAL | STATE | FEDERAL | INDUSTRIAL * Permitting * Bench-Scale & Pilot-Scale Studies * Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant » Plant Start-ups » Troubleshooting & Process Optimization * Operator Training * * * * * * Planning Engineering Design Construction Administration O&M Manuals Industrial Pre-treatment Treatment Chemical Supplies           Contact us: | Phone: (804) 744-1792 Website: | Mobile: (804) 245-2979 681473_Retaw.indd 1             742136_RKnK.indd 1 17/02/14 7:32 PM w w w . v r w a . o10/04/15 r g 23 7:24 pm

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
NRWA Recap
Planning Reports Funded for Three Rural Water and Waste Projects in Central Virginia
VRWA Members Corner
Throwing My Loop: A Positive Life...
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Benefits for VRWA Members
Mail Bag
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2016