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Operator Outreach

BACKGROUND

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to fund and support drinking water treatment system assistance programs under Section 104(g) of the Federal Clean Water Act and Sections 1419 and 1420 of the Safe Drinking Water Act. These programs are designed to improve technical, financial and managerial capability of water systems.

In Pennsylvania, the Drinking Water Outreach Assistance Program is administered by the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Division of Training, Technical and Financial Assistance delivers this on-site assistance through peer water operators employed by the Department. These assistance providers are actual practicing operators and administrators in local systems.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this program are to assist water system operators and administrators with:

  • Preventing pollution;
  • Protecting and conserving water resources;
  • Protecting the public health; and
  • Preventing, correcting and eliminating compliance problems before the need for enforcement by improving the technical, managerial and financial capabilities of the water system.

ON-SITE ASSISTANCE

Below is a partial list of the assistance services in which the program offers hands-on on-site services:

  • Facility Auditing
  • Utility Management
  • Process Control
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Pre-Treatment
  • Collection System Operations
  • Distribution System Operations
  • Record Keeping and Reporting
  • Safety
  • Solids Management
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Leak Detection
  • Chlorine Minimization
  • Computerization
  • Asset Management

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS

The DEP Drinking Water Outreach Assistance Program uses peer-based trainers to provide assistance to water systems. The program employs the services of the best municipal drinking water professional operators in the state. Many of these certified operators have extensive knowledge and experience in specific treatment areas. Here is how the program typically works:

  • When a request for assistance is received, program staff visit the site and determine the type of specialists needed to work directly with system personnel.
  • An assistance program is designed for the site.
  • Assistance services are usually provided on evenings, weekends or pre-arranged dates.

A request for assistance can be made through your regional DEP office or by contacting the program directly at the address or telephone number provided below.

IS THERE A COST FOR THIS SERVICE?

There is no cost for providing technical managerial or financial assistance services. However, in order to improve the system's operations, some expenditures may result from implementation of program recommendations.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF ON-SITE ASSISTANCE

In addition to helping communities achieve or maintain regulatory compliance, the Drinking Water Outreach Assistance Program can provide assistance in:

  • Identifying any need to repair or construct new facilities necessary to comply with existing or future permit requirements.
  • Recommending ways to improve preventative maintenance programs for equipment and structures.
  • Suggesting ways to reduce energy and chemical costs through more efficient operating methods.

The Drinking Water Outreach Assistance Program helps operators and local elected officials understand the importance of working as a team to solve their treatment problems.

The goal of the program is two-fold. First to expand operators' knowledge of their treatment system and second, to make elected officials more aware of the financial and managerial needs of their water system staff.

ELIGIBILITY

Any public or privately owned drinking water system is eligible for the Drinking Water Outreach Assistance Program. The program is totally voluntary and only provides services upon request.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

Please contact Catherine Port with the Operator Outreach Program at:

PA - Department of Environmental Protection
909 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA17110
work -717-705-4913