District 4 Trustee
I can't believe it is almost Halloween! Once November starts it seems to fly past, and before we know it another year is gone. I guess there is some truth to the saying that as you get older the time really flies!
I just came back from attending the 25th Annual Small Systems Conference at the Giant City Lodge in Makanda (it was very beautiful with all the fall colors in spite of our drought conditions). Those who didn't attend Wednesday night's sessions really missed out on some very interesting speakers. I did not realize how important the water quality is to the small brewery companies and the dialysis industry. I am sure everyone includes the dialysis centers on their call and fax list when there are boil orders in their area or are changing from chloramines to free chlorine, but you should also include the small brewery companies in your town.
Craft beer is becoming an increasingly popular trend. With beer being over 95% water, the chemistry of the water not only affects the taste but also the brewing efficiency. The fluctuations of pH, alkalinity, fluoride, chlorine, hardness are all important to the color as well as the taste of the beer. Not only is brewing an art, but also a chemistry, to achieve a good taste.
Then the dialysis centers shared with us how water quality plays a very important role in their process of filtering waste products from the blood. They know a lot about the water treatment by having two tanks with GAC to remove the chlorine, a reverse osmosis system, because even slight chlorine will be detrimental to the patients; pH is very important and may require a softener, a DI system, Ion Exchange as well as a Backflow Prevention Devices installed on all their equipment. The similarities of the two speakers with the importance they stressed on water quality and their knowledge of water treatment was very impressive. Thursday had ~150 in attendance with a good variety of information to absorb!
A couple of updates Mike Crumly, IEPA Compliance Assurance Manager, shared at Giant City Lodge included: They are hoping to roll out, by the end of the year, an Operators Certification Program that will allow you to enter your training online. The Advisory Board is considering having an "Operator in Training” certificate. This would allow you to take the operators test (A, B, C, and/or D), pass it, and receive a certificate instead of a license. Then one may have a better chance to be employed at a water plant to gain the experience needed to receive the license. Also, many proposed rule changes (TCR, Lead/Copper, Perchlorate, etc.) won't be done until sometime in 2013, due to this being an election year. USEPA CCR Committee is looking at an electronic distribution, which would be a cost savings to the water systems.
Also, many have started or will be starting DBP Stage 2 testing, which is a challenge to parent supplies to juggle the sampling schedule with their satellites or just water systems in general. Schedule 3 and 4 systems will be doing monitoring plans now, so make sure you pick sites that are available at any time. Again, if you have questions, call Mary Reed. I cannot stress enough how important it is to COMMUNICATE with your satellites and with Mary Reed at the IEPA to avoid problems the month of or week of sampling.
In September the 81st Annual Illinois Potable Water Supply Operators Association Conference that was held in Springfield had record attendance of ~750 and continues to grow. The ISAWWA Annual Regulatory Update had a good attendance of over 130 with lots of good information to share. The afternoon provided three breakout sessions which was something new and went very well.
Just when we have been blessed with rain and winter is around the corner, one would think the drought is over, but just the contrary. Some areas of Illinois are still in a drought and have to conserve water! This definitely has been a challenging year for us all.
Visit our website at http://www.isawwa.org/ and check out the Latest News and Calendar to keep up to date on what is happening in the water world.
Remember to network with your fellow operators, professionals in the water industry, and IEPA folks to make your life easier.