Water Infrastructure Investment
Water Systems - Assistance Going Forward
The water systems analyzed according to the Development Capacity Analysis benchmarks serve the largest communities in the two-county region. The users of all systems studied comprise 30% of the population of Washington County and 42% of the population of Aroostook County.
The water systems assessment gives a snapshot of how these water systems are doing according to 2011 data and 2013 follow up with managers.
So what next? How can the analysis and/or some outside assistance help with both water system improvements and preparations for growth?
Technical Assistance to the Water Systems
Water systems throughout the region, whether part of the analysis of the larger systems or not, could benefit from technical assistance in the following ways:
- Development of a preventative maintenance budget to enhance the Operations & Maintenance budget. Associated with this budget is creation of a reserve account for such tasks.
- Generate a complete asset list including a replacement/repair cost schedule. Associated with this is creation of a critical asset subset. We suggest using the import spreadsheet template from the Environmental Protection Agency Check Up Program for Small Systems (EPA/CUPSS) software for standardization of data and output. This will facilitate better regional analysis.
Outreach & Communications with Decision-Makers in & beyond the Water System
Water systems operate in communities and in context. The actions and decisions of Board members, neighbors and other municipal officials affect water systems in many ways. The following measures can help:
- Presentations to board, trustees or elected councils of Repair and Replacement cost schedules and how reserve accounts might be implemented including a brief analysis of user rate impacts.
- Source protection best management practices that identify the need to consider decentralized wastewater management planning in areas where geographic or water quality issues exist and there is no municipal system present. This would insure water quality is protected as the cost of contamination and clean up would deter economic development activities.
- Community outreach trainings addressing decentralized wastewater treatment (septic /cesspool / leach field). See also Decentralized Wastewater Systems - A Resource Manual for Municipal Officials and Developers on the GROWashington-Aroostook web site.
Follow up Analysis for Individual Systems
When systems have unaccounted for water greater than 12%, this may indicate aging pipe that requires a leak detection program. It may also reflect that the meters should be calibrated. The latter should be performed prior to any leak detection.
Grades assigned in the matrix of the drinking water systems data for each system follow the benchmark tab; there were no weighting factors in the analysis presented. However, because certain factors may be considered more important, further analysis could weight the following "Grade Columns" by a factor of 2
- Plant Capacity: reward for oversized plant meaning more capacity for growth
- Unaccounted for water: reward for low water loss in system
- Water Users as a Percentage of Town Population: reward for servicing more of the town
- No Asbestos or Transite Pipe: reward for no old pipe so that replacement costs are relatively lower
- Rate/Median Household Income: reward for higher rates which will better qualify system for improvement grants from Rural Development/State Revolving Fund