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E-Splash August 2012 - Small Systems
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash -  August  2012

Small Systems Delivers
Steve Wilson, Small System Committee Member

I was recently fortunate enough go to ACE2012 in Dallas, Texas, where I attended several of the Small System events/sessions/meetings that were occurring. I was asked by my Committee to give ISAWWA an update and share some of my experiences from ACE 2012 which I outline for you below:

First of all, our own ISAWWA Small System Committee received the AWWA Section Small System Program Award from the Small System Division, with a plaque and check for $200. Congratulations to our Committee, but most of all to Jon Meyer, our Chair, for all of his hard work in reviving the Committee and being so committed to our success.

I serve as a Trustee for the AWWA Small Systems Division, and at our meeting on June 13, a number of items of interest were brought up that I’d like to share. There was a presentation about a new initiative that AWWA is considering to develop a time bank for sharing effort. It would allow people to swap time for time, for the benefit of all. So, for instance, a small system operator could assist a large system for a day; and, in return, the large system would provide someone for a day to the small system. The real benefit comes in when the swap matches needs and expertise. So, maybe the small system needs someone to assist them with budget management, or with solving a problem they don’t have the expertise for, or someone to show them how to operate a new piece of equipment. They could receive that expertise without cost, by agreeing to give the same amount of time to someone else through the time bank. It will be interesting to see if this program gets off the ground and how it will be managed.

There was also a discussion of developing a small systems manual. The Division is asked to provide a small systems chapter for specific AWWA manuals in many cases; and, in the next couple of years, the Division may combine all of those chapters on various topics into a manual for small systems. The Division is also looking into putting together a workshop for ACE2014. Each year, there are workshops at ACE on the first day, which are "extra” sessions that you can come to for specific detailed training. It would be great to see a small system-focused workshop. We’ve already seen how successful our Section has been in having a small systems track at WATERCON.

I also attended two small system tracks while at ACE. I gave a presentation on Monday, during the small systems track, highlighting the results of the operator survey we sent out to Illinois Operators in Charge last August. There were also talks from Canada about regionalization, where they are financing 90% of regionalization costs in an effort to reduce the number of really small systems that are having problems staying in compliance. RCAP spoke about best practices, and the thing I took away from that talk was in reference to water loss. She said, "15% water loss is considered the industry average. Why? That means you are operating your plant for 54 days each year just to pump the water to loss.” When put that way, and you think about your costs for 54 days of running your plant, it hits home how important it is to maintain your system to prevent those losses. There was a talk from Wisconsin about their governance of water rates. Did you know that in Wisconsin, every utility has to send in their financial records annually? They are evaluated and audited based on a scoring system that looks at operating loss, water loss, rate of return, and debt as a function of capital structure. They can tell utilities it’s time to increase rates, and they have had this program in place for nearly 100 years.

On Thursday at ACE, there was a session on disseminating information to small systems. They brought together folks from several groups and organizations that provide information to small systems, EPA, TA providers, state regulators, and university folks. It was an open format with short talks, and there was a significant amount of time provided for open discussion. The point of the session was to identify the best approaches to get information to small systems, as well as determine where more work was needed to identify new, better methods for disseminating information. The organizers took down a lot of great information and ideas and it will be included in the ACE CD sent to all participants.

That’s what I brought back from ACE this year. It was a busy, engaging event for sure. I met a lot of new people, some of whom I hope to work with in the future; and I brought back a lot of new ideas for blog posts and possible research ideas. Please visit our page on the new ISAWWA website for more information regarding the Small System Committee. If you have any questions, or would like additional information, please contact our Chair, Jon Meyer, at or 312-780-7754.

Sample Ordinances, Resolutions and Agreements

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If you have a sample ordinance, resolution or agreement you would like added to this collection, please email it to All private information will be removed and it will be added for sharing among members. Please feel free to download any of the documents you see below.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Lease Agreement - Tricom and City of Batavia DOC (27 KB) Administration 2/6/2012
Council Memo - Tricom and City of Batavia DOC (21 KB) Administration 2/6/2012
Resolution - Tricom and City of Batavia DOC (25 KB) Administration 2/6/2012

Small systems

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Small Systems resources, documents and photos.
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Private Well Class information PDF (176.43 KB)  more ] Administration 11/20/2012


Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Splash Summer 2015 PDF (8.83 MB)  more ] Administration 7/6/2015
SPLASH ADVERTISING_2015 PDF (2.12 MB) Administration 11/18/2014
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