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DRINKING WATER

Experience shows that the costs and difficulties a community will confront if its water supply becomes contaminated will be much greater than those it will incur if it takes a preventative approach. George Weber, Inc. Environmental can help you with a range of activities protecting your drinking water supplies.


SOURCE WATER ASSESSMENT AND PROTECTION

We can help you develop ‘source water assessment and protection’ (SWAP) and ‘wellhead protection’ (WHP) plans. The U.S. Congress requires states to develop and carry out SWAP in its reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 (SDWA). The federal program requires source water assessments for every public water system, and reporting of results to each system’s consumers. Follow-up activities to develop and carry out a source water protection program at the community level is prudent and a natural follow-up to the assessments. National Pilot Source Water Assessment: Fort Collins, Colorado Cache la Poudre Source Water
Click here to view larger image
National Pilot Source
Water Assessment:
Fort Collins, Colorado
Cache la Poudre Source Water

National Pilot Source Water Assessment:
Fort Collins, Colorado Cache la Poudre Source Water

Weber developed a Source Water Assessment (SWA) as a National Pilot Project for the U.S. EPA Office of Drinking Water and Ground Water.

In conjunction with the ‘National Pilot’, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment appointed Weber to its Source Water Assessment and Protection (SWAP) ‘Design’ and ‘Technical Advisory’ teams. The teams advised department staff as they developed the state program. Weber also served as ‘Technical Advisor’ to the effort developing source water assessments for public water systems in Wyoming, for the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The ‘National Pilot’ supported EPA in carrying-out the SWAP Program nationally, and particularly in the Rocky Mountain West. The project addressed the Cache la Poudre source water area of Fort Collins, Colorado. The area, located in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming, is representative of many other Rocky Mountain source water areas.

The assessment was conducted within the framework of the Colorado Source Water Assessment and Protection Plan, and represents the first attempt to test the method the state submitted to EPA for approval. The assessment involved: (1) delineating the source water assessment area (SWAA); (2) identifying contaminants and potential sources of contamination (PSOCs); and (3) analyzing the susceptibility of the water system to the identified PSOCs.

The assessment can be expanded to include: (1) additional data, potentially including that derived from on-site inspection; (2) focus on areas within the source water area that may be of special interest (e.g., areas closer to the water intake and stream banks, areas containing PSOCs) at a larger cartographic scale (e.g., 1:24,000); and (3) areas of the North Fork serving the City of Greeley water system. Feedlot Adjacent to Water Supply Canal
Click here to view larger image Feedlot Adjacent to Water Supply Canal

Related to the ‘National Pilot’, Weber applied his stakeholder assessment and mobilization approach for building collaboration (see Stakeholders) to identify source water stakeholders in the upper Cache la Poudre (Colorado and Wyoming) and assess their potential for working together to protect source water quality. Based on assessment results, he developed a strategic plan for facilitating them to protect source water quality. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Fort Collins and Greeley water systems funded the effort. The success of this effort is manifest by the fact that public water systems, municipalities, water developers, state and county health departments, national forest, environmentalists, and other stakeholders funded a second phase of the project to address the entire watershed and water quality comprehensively. (See Stakeholders – Applying Approach on a Watershed Basis: Cache La Poudre Water Quality.)

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Colorado Communities Guide to Wellhead Protection (WHP)

Weber developed a detailed planning process for developing community WHP plans for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The process is an example of cutting-edge risk communication practices that emphasizes treating stakeholders as partners in problem-solving and decision-making, in addition to conducting effective and efficient communication and consultation among stakeholders generally.

The planning process consists of two tracks. One involves the technical planning activities, and the other a robust process for involving affected and concerned stakeholders. Using the guidebook produced by the project, we can develop plans using the technical track, or develop them also by supporting the stakeholder involvement component. (See Stakeholders – Network Mobilization Model.)

Weber managed teams of citizens, local and state officials, and university faculty, staff, and students in applying and testing the guide in four Colorado communities with different issues and settings. Highland Lakes and Woodland Park are growing communities located in the mountains of Teller County. Monument is located in the rapidly growing Urban Front Range north of Colorado Springs. Calhan is located in the rural agricultural plains, in El Paso County.

The project won the Colorado Governor’s 1996 Smart Growth Award for Pollution Prevention, the Colorado Chapter American Planning Association 1996 award for ‘Best Student Project’, and Renew America’s National Awards for Environmental Sustainability 1997 ‘Certificate of Environmental Achievement’.

Colorado Governor Romer Awarding Smart Growth Award for Pollution Prevention
Colorado Governor Romer Awarding Smart Growth Award
for Pollution Prevention

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Developing a Collaborative Source Water Quality Monitoring Program for Three Drinking Water Utilities

George Weber, Inc. Environmental (GWE) completed a project in January 2007 that is helping the City of Greeley, Tri-District, and City of Fort Collins utilities develop a design and strategic implementation plan for a comprehensive collaborative water quality monitoring program of the Cache la Poudre River (CLP). The CLP is a significant source of raw water for these utilities that provide drinking water for most of the Urban North Front Range, Colorado.

The utilities reached agreement on the project and scope of work after meetings over a period of several months, several of which GWE helped organize and facilitate.

GWE began with a presumption that framed the currently independent and potential future collaborative CLP water quality monitoring programs as ‘information systems’ — ones that develop, maintain, analyze, and use water quality data to support decision making by each of the three water utilities. GWE adapted and used a systems approach that Weber developed and applied in the past for understanding an existing information system, identifying the unmet needs of its users, and developing a preliminary design for a new or refined system and implementation plan for meeting users’ needs.
(See Planning & Implementing Information Systems)

In general terms, the approach frames the information system of interest as a whole, and examines and characterizes the system components, processes, and relationships among them in order to develop an understanding of how the system works. System components include the context and organization within which the information system resides, and involved staff, hardware, software, and data. System processes encompass the activities of data development, maintenance, and analysis, and presentation and use of the information produced to accomplish specific functions and decision-making achieving the organizational mission.

Specific technical achievements of the Project include:

  • Identifying, naming, and prioritizing numerous CLP water quality data sets of all three utilities;
  • Developing an overview characterizing each general phase of CLP water quality data activity for each high priority data set developed by all three utilities (Tri-District 2, Greeley 7, Fort Collins 12);
  • Mapping locations of sampling sites for each high priority data set, for each utility, as well as, comparatively for all three together;
  • Developing a ‘rough draft’ matrix identifying all water quality parameters the three utilities are monitoring and the parameters each high priority data set is monitoring at general locations in the CLP source water area; and
  • Developing additional analytical observations and questions to guide subsequent decision-making by the utilities.

Important general accomplishments of this first iteration Project include:

  • Developing the characterization of the three currently separate programs sufficiently to potentially enable a scope of work for subsequent actions to develop a collaborative program to be more focused, definable, and manageable;
  • Determining that minimum prerequisites (including NO significant barriers) are present for collaboration to occur among the three utilities; and
  • Developing consensus among the three utilities on a general substantive scope for a collaborative Program, and strategies for its development, administration, and funding.

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DATA SUPPORTING WATER QUALITY PROTECTION:
DIRECTORY OF COLORADO WATER QUALITY DATA

George Weber, Inc. Environmental can help you develop the data required for protecting water quality. We are familiar with the type of data that SWAP, WHP, and other water quality protection programs require, and issues associated with accessing and using it. In addition to experience with accessing and using data required by the drinking water protection projects described above, Weber has assessed sensitive political, management, and technical issues related to improving access to water quality data in Colorado. Then, he developed and revised the Directory of Colorado Water Quality Data for the Colorado Geologic Survey.

Weber also managed development of computer GIS maps of ground water classification areas for inclusion in Colorado water quality regulations.

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OUTREACH AND TRAINING IN SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT REGULATIONS

Weber has conducted outreach and training programs for water system operators and other stakeholders in safe drinking water.  The training conferences are examples of cutting-edge risk communication practices in that Weber involved a representative group of stakeholders in planning, sponsoring, and conducting the events.

He developed and conducted training for Wyoming water system operators in carrying out the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Lead and Copper Rule (see  Stakeholders) for the Wyoming Direct Implementation and Enforcement Program, Region 8 EPA.

In addition, he developed and conducted outreach and training for utility, labor, business, educational, and government personnel in carrying out the SDWA “Lead Ban” (see Stakeholders) for the Safe Drinking Water Program, Region 8 EPA. The project was cited to the EPA National Administrator as the best stakeholder mobilization project nationally in 1988.

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