18th Annual EPA Drinking Water Workshop: Small System Challenges and Solutions
Date and Time
11:00 am - 5:30 pm EDT
The web-based agenda and a PDF file of the agenda with training and session summaries and presenter and trainer bios is available for downloading. Once available, session recordings will be posted to the online agenda.
EPA's free annual drinking water workshop, held in partnership with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), was held virtually again this year. The workshop provided in-depth information and training on solutions and strategies for handling small drinking water system challenges with a focus on monitoring, distribution, source, and treatment topics.
Training and Networking Opportunities
The workshop speakers and group leaders are experts in their fields from EPA and other federal agencies, state and local agencies, tribes, academia, NGOs, and private industry. The workshop agenda included the following networking and training opportunities:
- In-depth training
- Technical presentation sessions
- Breakout discussion groups for primacy agencies (State/Territory/Tribal)
- Plenary sessions with guest speakers
The technical sessions of the workshop included presentations related to pathogens, PFAS, corrosion and lead, source water quality and quantity, disinfectants and disinfection byproducts, equity, resiliency and emergency response, contaminant removal, monitoring, risk communication, implementing innovative treatments, distribution system best practices, and system oversight. In-depth training options included corrosion, modeling with EPANET, sanitary surveys, and managing legacy manganese in distribution systems.
The workshop is primarily designed for state primacy agency staff responsible for drinking water regulations compliance and treatment technologies permitting; however, others benefit from participating, including territory, tribal, and local primacy staff, water system operators, academics, design engineers, technical assistance providers, and consultants.
Attendees had the option of receiving training course credit hours for technical sessions listed on the agenda. We are currently with Ohio EPA to offer official course numbers approved in Ohio. Acceptance of certificates with Ohio course numbers is contingent on your state and/or organization as they may have different requirements—EPA cannot guarantee acceptance of certificates. It will take around two weeks to receive your certificate via your email provided at registration. Closed-captioned recordings of the sessions will be posted to the online agenda for later viewing and as a training resource; certificates cannot be provided for viewing recordings.
To support the efforts of state and local officials to assist small systems, EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) and Office of Water (OW), in cooperation with ASDWA, has held an annual workshop for the past 17 years to provide timely information on a variety of drinking water topics relevant to small systems. When the first workshop was held in 2004, it was by invitation only and designed as an educational opportunity for state staff working with small communities to install arsenic treatment technologies.
In 2008, at the encouragement of state agencies, the workshop was opened to the public and expanded to include multiple small drinking water system topics, including treatment technology options, infrastructure challenges and solutions, regulation implementation, compliance issues, and emerging contaminants.
In 2020, the workshop was held virtually for the first time in the workshop's history. See the highlight box on the right for details and session recordings.
About Small Systems
As of Quarter 4 of Fiscal Year 2020, there are 147,327 active public water systems in the United States (including territories). Of these, 95% (139,618) are considered small systems under the Safe Drinking Water Act, meaning they serve 10,000 or fewer people.
- Small systems serving 3,301-10,000 people: 5,246
- Small systems serving 501-3,300 people: 18,654
- Small systems serving 500 or fewer people: 115,718
While many of these active small systems consistently provide safe, reliable drinking water to their customers, many face a number of challenges in their ability to achieve and maintain system sustainability. Some of these small system challenges include lack of expertise to choose, operate, and maintain systems; lack of financial resources; aging infrastructure; limited options for residual disposal; and state agencies with limited resources to support the large number of small systems.
EPA's small systems research is developing tools, technologies, and approaches to help small systems lower costs and provide safe drinking water now and in the future. In addition to the annual workshop, EPA also holds a free monthly small systems webinar series to provide training and foster collaboration and dissemination of information. This series provides a forum for EPA to communicate directly with state personnel and other drinking water small systems professionals, which, in turn, provides state agencies with the information and resources they need to communicate the latest scientific advancements and current guidance to their small systems. The webinars are also providing EPA with invaluable information from the states on the problems they are currently encountering in their interactions with small systems. EPA scientists and engineers can then modify their research to solve real-world small system problems.
- Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series
- Drinking Water Training
- Learn about Small Drinking Water Systems
- Technical, Managerial, and Financial Capacity Resources for Small Drinking Water Systems
- ASDWA Small Systems Section
For questions about the workshop, contact the Cadmus Group (contractor to EPA) at 18thAnnualDWWorkshop@cadmusgroup.com.