New York Rural Water : News

March 2, 2015

Mayor Joe Keegan from Castleton-on-Hudson Testifies before Congress

Category: Events, General, Legislative, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:42 AM

On Friday, February 27, 2015, Congress held a hearing on “Drinking Water Challenges Facing Small and Rural Communities (link).”  Four rural water members, Mayor Everette Hill (MS), Mayor Joe Keegan (NY), KT Newman (MS), and Bobby Selman (MS), represented all small communities before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.  The rural water representatives told the well-attended committee hearing that all small and rural communities depend on the on-site technical assistance provided by state rural water associations for compliance, training and operations & maintenance.  The committee initially convened the hearing to review the Grassroots Rural Water and Small Community Drinking Water Assistance Act, but expanded the hearing’s scope to cover drinking water related issues including the state revolving funds, USDA grants & loans, and EPA regulations.  We are grateful for excellent representation provided by all the rural water witnesses (video of the hearingtestimonyphotos of the hearing).

The New York Rural Water Association thanks Mayor Joe Keegan for his participation in the hearing and for standing up for all small and rural drinking water systems.

February 26, 2015

Great Water Story – Study conducted by Students

Category: Achievements, Events, General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 4:20 PM

Schalmont students share plan for Rotterdam water system
February 25, 2015

By Ned Campbell
Gazette Reporter

High school students who studied the town of Rotterdam’s water system found vast improvements to the 60-year-old infrastructure of pipes are needed — and two separate ways to approach the problem.

Full Article…

February 23, 2015

Regulatory Advisory – Need Small System Input

Category: Events, General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 3:30 PM

Regulatory Advisory

Who: AWWA and NRWA
What: LCR revisions survey
When: Available now to complete

AWWA and the National Rural Water Association are asking drinking water utilities to complete a brief survey related to proposed revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule.

April 2 is the deadline to complete this survey. It should take approximately 10 minutes.

The survey will inform recommendations put forth by the National Drinking Water Advisory Council Work Group, which is organized by EPA. The NDWAC Work Group is considering recommending an alternative rule structure that relies more on water quality parameters (i.e., pH, alkalinity, etc.) than on current in-home lead and copper compliance monitoring.  Data collected through the survey will be provided to the NDWAC Work Group process.

The survey requests information that water systems should have readily available. A PDF version of the survey is available for utility members for reference when completing the survey.

Information about the NDWAC Work Group is available on EPA’s website. Information about the LCR is available on AWWA’s Legislation & Regulation page.

Questions regarding this survey and EPA’s work to revise the LCR can be directed to Steve Via in AWWA’s Government Affairs Office, at202.326.6130.

February 17, 2015

Federal Agencies Open Manufacturing Community Investment Competition

Category: Events, Funding, General — New York Rural Water @ 2:50 PM

Last week, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce announced the opening of the round two designation competition of the  Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP). The competition is an Administration-wide initiative coordinated by the U.S. Commerce Department that rewards communities that demonstrate best practices in attracting and expanding manufacturing by bringing together key local stakeholders and using long-term planning that integrates targeted public and private investments. The initiative is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide. The IMCP designation elevates communities in consideration for $1.3 billion in federal dollars and assistance from 10 federal departments and agencies. In addition, each designated community will receive a federal liaison and branding and promotion as a designated Manufacturing Community to help attract additional private investment and partnerships. The Secretary of Commerce announced the  first 12 communities to receive a designation under IMCP in May 2014. The deadline for receipt of the latest round of applications is April 1, 2015. More information is available in the federal register here.

January 30, 2015

NYRWA Founder’s Scholarship Application Deadline Quickly Approaching

Category: Achievements, Events, Funding, General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 11:45 AM

To all NYRWA Members – Scholarship applications are due February 12, 2015.  If your child wishes to participate, go under Resources on the toolbar here on our website, then Downloads, you will find the application  on the right side.  Please print and have them submit before the deadline.  Be sure to include their transcripts.  This is open to all children in your water/wastewater district.  If you could provide this application to your local high school guidance office, they could copy and distribute it to their students.  Be sure to fill in the system member, which would be “the village of……” or town, city of.

As you know, this is a member benefit.  Our one time grant of $500 will be made to one student from each region (Capital, Northeast Central, Finger Lakes, Buffalo and White Plains Region) in New York State to help defray the cost of tuition, books, or room and board at an accredited institution of higher learning approved by the New York Rural Water Association.  Disbursement of the money will be made upon presentation of winner’s college invoice as proof of enrollment.  Applicants must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States, a resident of the State of New York and reside on a water/wastewater system that is a member of the NYRWA.  In order to be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must complete the application form in its entirety and return it to the NYRWA by the entry postmark deadline, February 12, 2015.  Please read the offiicial rules on the back of the application.

Great Lakes Action Agenda Public Workshop

Category: Events, General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:17 AM

You’re Invited! Attend a Great Lakes Action Agenda Public Workshop

New York Sea Grant and NYSDEC’s Great Lakes watershed program are hosting a series of public workshops across New York’s Great Lakes basin to provide information on the Great Lakes Action Agenda, to discuss the proposed strategy for implementing the Agenda, and to seek input on priorities for achieving watershed health across the region.

Please join us for one or more of the following workshops:

  • WATERTOWN — Wednesday, January 28th, 3-5pm*
    Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County
    203 North Hamilton Street
    Watertown, New York 13601
  • AUBURN — Thursday, January 29th, 3-5pm*
    Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County
    248 Grant Avenue, Suite I
    Auburn, NY 13021-1495
  • EAST AURORA – Wednesday, February 4th, 3-5pm*
    Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County
    21 Grove Street
    East Aurora, NY 14052-2345
  • CANANDAIGUA — Thursday, February 5th, 3-5pm*
    Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County
    480 North Main Street
    Canandaigua, NY 14424

*An optional discussion and networking session will be held from 5-6pm, following each of the workshops.

Please register!
There is no cost to attend these workshops but pre-registration is required with NY Sea Grant or 315-312-3042.

DRAFT workshop agenda:

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • New York’s Great Lakes Action Agenda
    • Implementation plan
    • Funding approach and opportunities
  • Strategies to Move Forward
    • Design and operation of regional workgroups
  • Optional: A networking reception will be held from 5-6pm

January 26, 2015

Beer from Wastewater Plant Effluent

Category: Achievements, General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 10:07 AM

There are disturbing aspects to Theera Ratarasarn’s home brew.

The name: Activated Sludge. The label: That is a radiation symbol. The ingredients: It’s brewed with purified Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District wastewater plant effluent.

But it tastes great.

To Ratarasarn, making beer with water that hasn’t gone through the final cleaning process was a mission.

“I wanted to get people talking,” he said “There’s a potential use for what we discharge into lakes and streams.”

A wastewater engineer with the state Department of Natural Resources by day, Ratarasarn, 39, has been home-brewing beer for nearly two years, usually at night after his two young sons are in bed.

It’s a simple enough process — mash, boil, add hops, cool, add yeast and ferment. Unless the water is suspect. Then add a half-dozen more steps.

Ratarasarn chlorinated, dechlorinated, filtered, distilled, tested and added nutrients to the water before beginning to make 5 gallons of Activated Sludge, a wheat ale with 5.15% alcohol by volume.

After all those steps, Ratarasarn wasn’t worried about the beer’s safety. Neither was a taste panel at Lakefront Brewery, where Activated Sludge went head-to-head with Lakefront Wheat Monkey.

Panel members smelled their sip of beer. They cracked wise.

“It looks like a good urine sample,” said John Rinson.

Then they tasted.

“No pathogen known to man that can grow in beer,” said brewery president Russ Klisch, who praised Ratarasarn’s Activated Sludge for its golden color. His down note was the beer’s carbonation and lack of body.

Another taster, Mitchel De Santis, graded the beer a 7 on a 10-point scale, giving Ratarasarn two points for creativity. “It’s one of the better home brews I’ve ever had.”

Ratarasarn wanted to prove a point by using the water.

“I wanted to raise awareness of the quality of plant effluent,” he said.

Think Bill Gates and the steam-powered sewage processor he’s touting. Gates’ processor burns solid waste for water and electricity. The water Ratarasarn worked with was clean water, just not clean enough for drinking, said Bill Graffin, MMSD public information officer.

Activated Sludge wheat ale is a similar concept but on a smaller scale.

Arid communities struggle for clean drinking water. Ratarasarn wanted to see what he could do based on the “knowledge that I have.”

He also has a sense of humor about it. A PowerPoint presentation Ratarasarn made illustrating the steps he took is themed “A little bit of me, a little bit of you.”

Ratarasarn chose to brew a wheat beer because he likes them and he’s made them before. He said he steered clear of darker beers such as porters or stouts “so people wouldn’t associate the beer with wastewater.”

The hard part, he said, is getting the water profile correct for each beer he brews. This one, with the substandard water, proved to be the most difficult. Ratarasarn wanted to send the treated MMSD water out for testing and requested the $200 test as a Christmas present.

“My wife asked me what I wanted, and I said a water test,” Ratarasarn said. “She just rolled her eyes and said ‘yes.’”

The tests came back nearly perfect, with less than a trace of silica, likely from the final filter in the distillation unit.

Don’t run to the liquor store just yet. Ratarasarn made Activated Sludge wheat beer for his own consumption. Based on the curiosity factor, Ratarasarn won’t be able to keep his home inventory for long.

“Everybody I talk to wants one,” he said.

Kathy Flaniganauthor thumbnail
Tap Milwaukee reporter Kathy Flanigan covers entertainment news, events and our beer culture. She is the author of Weekend Guide, a newsletter with best bets for weekend activities.

January 23, 2015

Great Opportunity for Elected Officials and Water/Wastewater Personnel

Category: Events, Funding, General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 2:27 PM

A Community Economic Development Funding Forum is planned for Wednesday, March 28, 2015, at the Columbia Greene Community College located at 4400 Route 23 Hudson, New York 12534.  This event will run from 9:00 am —2:00 pm.  On behalf of the U.S Department of Agriculture / Rural Development, they invite you to join us at SUNY Columbia/Greene Community College for a full day funding forum that will be discussing and exploring public/private partnerships for statewide community economic development. Join state and federal agencies and departments, industry experts and commercial lenders who will be on hand to present on a number of valuable programs including: available funding, application deadlines, program details, as well as, answering your questions!  Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in morning and afternoon breakout sessions, covering topics that include: 1) Housing & Community Facilities 2) Business 3) Agriculture/ Energy 4) Infrastructure (Water) 5) Infrastructure (Broadband).   To RSVP go to by close of business on Friday March 13th, 2015. Questions?   Please contact

January 22, 2015

Funding Will Help Great Lakes Basin Communities Increase Resiliency to Extreme Storm Events

Category: Funding, General — New York Rural Water @ 2:16 PM

In partnership with New York Sea Grant, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced $89,000 in grants for four projects that will help Great Lakes coastal communities to increase storm resiliency and protect water quality.

“New York remains vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially from more frequent severe storms,” said Commissioner Martens. “Each project receiving funding has proposed a solution to address these problems locally, to ultimately reduce risk to communities and ecosystems and will help our communities become stronger and more resilient.”

“New York Sea Grant looks forward to administering these awards and working with the recipients to ensure that the documents produced, data generated, and lessons learned are available to all of our Great Lakes communities and stakeholders,” said New York Sea Grant Associate Director Katherine E. Bunting-Howarth.

Coastal communities along 700 miles of New York Great Lakes’ shoreline are vulnerable to storm surges, flooding, shoreline erosion, and the impact of overdevelopment. Inland communities also experience flooding and erosion as a result of wetland loss and degradation, improper stream management, and excessive development of floodplains.

Grants will be awarded to the following organizations:

  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper: $24,482 to improve coastal resilience and community stewardship along Grand Island’s shoreline by engaging shoreline property owners and municipal officials through a combination of technical assistance, and public outreach and education. Program activities will target stretches of shoreline experiencing significant erosion and habitat degradation problems.
  • Wayne County Soil & Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Village of Sodus Point: $25,000 to use a combination of natural vegetation and rock to stabilize an eroding section of shoreline and protect nearby at-risk sewage infrastructure in the Village of Sodus Point. Ultimately, this project will strengthen coastal resiliency by protecting wastewater infrastructure and reducing vulnerability to erosion and coastal storm impacts.
  • Oswego County Soil & Water Conservation District: $25,000 to use an ecosystem-based management approach to identify and assess available shoreline management methods for the North Pond inlet and coastal dune barrier of Eastern Lake Ontario. The project’s findings will be used to inform an inlet management plan that balances the needs and uses of the local community, while achieving ecological stability within this unique barrier-pond ecosystem.
  • Stony Brook University: $14,985 to investigate the potential impact of seiches–standing waves commonly caused by wind–on beach erosion along New York’s Lake Erie shoreline. This project may have important resiliency implications for coastal engineering practices, which have not typically considered seiches in shoreline protection design.

New York’s Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program is a project of the state Environmental Protection Fund’s Ocean-Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Program. Grant projects support the goals of an Interim NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda, a plan for applying ecosystem-based management to complex environmental problems in order to conserve, protect and enhance our irreplaceable Great Lakes natural resources.

For more information on the Interim NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda, visit DEC’s website. For more information on the grant projects (Offsite Link), go to

January 20, 2015

Instructional Videos for Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law

Category: General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 9:10 AM
  • YouTube Videos: Instructional videos for Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law notifiers and general public:DEC has created an instructional video and manual for individuals authorized to report sewage spills through the NY-Alert system. Links to the video and manual are on the Sewage Discharge Reporting Toolbox webpage.

    DEC has also created instructional videos to help the public sign up to receive notifications from NY-Alert and learn how to customize their NY-Alert account to receive sewage spill notifications. Links to these videos are on the Sewage Pollution Right to Know webpage. DEC is currently processing applications from municipal sewer systems to use the NY-Alert system and full use of the system is expected within the next few months.

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