Category Archives: Drinking Water

On Virginia Water Radio for 5-1-17: SERCAP’s Past and Present of Paying Attention to Rural Water and Wastewater Needs

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of May 1, 2017, is “SERCAP Continues a Rural Water and Wastewater Focus That Began in 1969.”  The 4 min./51 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/05/episode-366-5-1-17-sercap-continues.html, introduces the Roanoke-based organization whose work since 1969 in rural water, wastewater, and community development has been a model for similar organizations nationwide.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

On Virginia Water Radio for 3-27-17: The Virginia Household Water Quality Program Helps Citizens Know Their Water Better

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode for the week of March 27, 2017, is “Water from Wells, Springs, and Cisterns Gets a Check-up through the Virginia Household Water Quality Program.”  The 4 min./22 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/03/episode-361-3-27-17-water-from-wells.html, introduces a Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension program that provides household well-, spring-, and cistern-testing; interpretation of results; and water-management information for Virginia citizens.

PHoto 1 Virginia Household Water Quality clinic ONE box of kits for pickup Mar20 2017 Seitz Hall USED Radio 361

A box of household water-sampling kits awaits pick-up by citizen participants at the March 20, 2017, kickoff for Virginia Household Water Quality’s clinic for the Montgomery County.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!

“Water is Life” is the Theme of the Annual SERCAP Meeting and the Focus of the Organization’s Mission

April 19, 2017, was the date for the annual “Water is Life! Luncheon and Conference” held by the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc., or SERCAP, located in Roanoke, Va.

The 2017 event marked the 48th anniversary of SERCAP, whose mission is to help provide safe and adequate water and wastewater, community development, environmental health, and economic self-sufficiency to rural citizens in seven southeastern states: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  SERCAP is one of six rural community assistance projects in the United States.

More information about SERCAP and the annual luncheon/conference—at the Sheraton Roanoke Hotel and Conference Center—is available online at http://www.sercap.org/, or contact SERCAP at 347 Campbell Avenue, Roanoke, VA 24016; phone (540) 345-1184.

Water for Tomorrow photo
“Water for Tomorrow,” an influential 1988 report on water and wastewater needs by locality in Virginia, was published by the Virginia Water Project, the predecessor to SERCAP.

Virginia’s and the Nation’s Infrastructure Gets Graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers – 2017 Edition

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a “report card” on the state of engineered infrastructure in the United States.  The report covers infrastructure in aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, school facilities, solid waste, transit, and wastewater.  The latest national report (as of March 13, 2017) gave a grade of D+, the same as the grade in 2013.  The report estimated the cost of making necessary infrastructure improvements at $4.59 trillion, compared to the 2013 estimate of $3.6 trillion.  The full national report for 2017 is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.  A chart of results from previous reports–back to 1998–is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/making-the-grade/report-card-history/.

According to the “What Makes a Grade” section  of the Report Card Web site, grades were assigned based on capacity to meet current and future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.  The grades are described as follows: A = exceptional; B = good; C = mediocre; D = poor; F = failing.

The 2017 national report also includes reports for each state.  As of 3/13/17, the Virginia assessment was a 2015 report compiled by the Virginia Section of the ASCE (ASCE-Va.).  The Virginia report is available at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/virginia/.  The Virginia report give the Commonwealth an overall grade of C- (compared to a D+ in 2009), and the following grades in each category: aviation = no grade; bridges = C; dams = C; drinking water = C; energy = no grade; parks = C+; rail and transit = C-; roads = D; school facilities = C-; solid waste = B-; stormwater = C-; and wastewater = D+.
News item related to Virginia report in 2015: Virginia infrastructure earns grade of C-, Capital News Service, 1/21/15.

Infrastructure cartoon

Cartoon that accompanied a February 2010 Virginia Water Central newsletter article on the 2009 infrastructure report by the American Society of Civil Engineers-Virginia Section.  Illustration by George Wills, Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt).

Ground Water Rule, Published by EPA in 2006, is Focus of Webinar on 3/28/17 by the National Rural Water Association

On March 28, 2017, 3 p.m-4 p.m. EDT, the National Rural Water Association will hold a Webinar on the Ground Water Rule.  For more information on the Webinar or to register, visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1350996706353374977.

The Ground Water Rule was published by the U.S. EPA in November 2006 and took effect in December 2009.  The EPA’s Web site on the rule is https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/ground-water-rule.  According to that site (at “Compliance”), the rule “establishes a risk-based approach to target ground water systems vulnerable to fecal contamination.  Ground water systems that are at risk of fecal contamination must take corrective action.  Corrective action reduces potential illness from exposure to microbial pathogens.  The rule applies to public water systems that use ground water as a source of drinking water.”  The EPA’s “Quick Reference Guide” to the rule is available online at https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100156H.txt.

Virginians Who Use Private Wells, Springs, or Cisterns Can Get Inexpensive Baseline Testing and Assistance from the Virginia Household Water Quality Program and Master Well-owner Network; Drinking-water Clinics in 2017 Run from March 15 to November 1 in over 50 Localities

The Virginia Household Water Quality Program offers drinking-water clinics in which people who rely on private wells, springs, or cisterns can get their water tested inexpensively for key constituents and receive a report interpreting the results.  The cost to participate in 2017 is $55.  The clinics in 2017, running from March 15 to November 1, will cover over 50 localities.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2017 is available at this Web site: http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu/events.php.

Meanwhile, as of February 2017, the Virginia Master Well Owner network has over 180 members—volunteers as well as staff from Virginia Cooperative Extension and other state agencies—in several dozen Virginia localities who can assist Virginians with drinking-water well questions and problems.

Both programs are coordinated by the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Systems Engineering.  More information is available online at http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu, or contact the coordinator of the programs, Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or wellwater@vt.edu.

For a news account of the well-testing program, please see Virginia Tech researchers: Flint-like problems also present in Virginia wells, Roanoke Times, 4/10/16.

A Brief History of Lead in Plumbing and Its Health Effects, in 9/28/16 PBS NewsHour Video

Lead in plumbing and consequently in drinking water—going as far back as the Roman Empire—is the focus “How and Why We Need to Get the Lead Out of Our Lives,” broadcast on September 28, 2016, on the PBS NewsHour.  The 6 min./50 second video, available online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/need-get-lead-lives/, also reviews the history of research into the effects of lead on health, particularly in children.  Other NewsHour videos on lead are collected at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/tag/lead/.  For more information on lead in drinking water, see the U.S. EPA, “Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water,” online at https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water.

For a Water Central News Grouper item on the Flint, Michigan, drinking water/lead issue, please see Flint, Michigan, Drinking-water Crisis Information Sources, Including Virginia Tech Research Team.