Archive by Author | Michele Swanson

MAP and RCAC Begin New Partnership

MAP is pleased to announce a partnership between MAP and our RCAP sister organization, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to provide technical assistance to communities in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming starting October 1, 2012.  The high quality of technical assistance will continue to be the same, as MAP staff currently serving these states are now RCAC employees.  This collaboration with MAP’s regional partner organization was developed to allow expanded support to these rural communities in this time of decreasing resources.

MAP looks forward to working more closely with RCAC and all the RCAP regional partners to improve and expand our technical assistance for rural communities!

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Rural Grants Available

The Laura Jane Musser Fund wants to encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities that will help to strengthen their towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements, and education.  Their Rural Initiative Program has funds available to communities in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wyoming.  Deadline to apply is November 7, 2012, and funding decisions will be announced in February, 2013.  To learn more, please visit their website:  http://bit.ly/pviUTm.  

Minnesota’s Infrastructure – in trouble??

An article by Jeremy Dennison recently published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune brings to light the fact that “Most sewer and sanitation systems last between 30 and 50 years.  Many of Minnesota’s are as old or older, and they could fail at any point.”  The work that MAP does in Minnesota communities, as well as our eight other states, deals directly with helping to fix this very issue.  Why wait for these systems to fail?  Let’s act now.  Click here to read the article in its entirety, and if you’re a small community in need of assistance, visit the MAP website to see how we can help.

Math Tools for Small Systems

Mathematical calculations can be one of the most challenging, but also most important, tasks performed by a water or wastewater operator. With Internet-enabled computers available in an increasing number of facilities, operators can lean on calculation tools to double-check their math.  A recent SmallWaterSupply.org blog post features a list of math tools for small systems that was put together by the Missouri Rural Water Association.  In addition to some interactive tools, it also features applications for your Smartphone.  Check it out here!

Major Advance Made in Generating Electricity From Wastewater

A recent news release announces that Engineers at Oregon State University have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity.  Researchers say this could eventually change the way that wastewater is treated all over the world, replacing the widely used “activated sludge” process that has been in use for almost a century. The new approach would produce significant amounts of electricity while effectively cleaning the wastewater.  This could have an impact around the world, save a great deal of money, provide better water treatment and promote energy sustainability.  The findings have just been published in Energy and Environmental Science, a professional journal.

Click here to read the news release in its entirety.

Do you find this as exciting as we do?  We would love to hear your comments!

Water begins to flow from awaited Lewis and Clark line….. and the timing couldn’t be better!

From the Associated Press:  TEA, S.D. – Water started flowing through the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System on Monday after more than two decades of planning and construction.

A treatment plant near Vermillion began producing water for distribution to 11 of the 20 member cities and rural water systems, including Sioux Falls.

The regional water system was incorporated in January 1990 with the goal of supplying 300,000 people in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa with water from the Missouri River.

“With our members unfortunately experiencing critical water needs in the face of a crushing drought, we are extremely pleased that Lewis & Clark is able to begin producing water just in the nick of time,” said Board Chairman Red Arndt, of Luverne. “This project has been an enormous undertaking. Words cannot express the range of emotions of finally reaching this point.”

The $462 million project is not expected to be finished for several years, and federal funding for construction is uncertain due to budget cuts.

“We continue to work tirelessly to ensure the remaining nine members are connected as soon as possible,” Arndt said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the treatment plant is scheduled for Aug. 21 — the nine-year anniversary of the Lewis & Clark Water System groundbreaking.

Conserving Water During This Record-Breaking Drought

A whopping 63.5% of the USA is now in a drought, the nation’s highest percentage since the 1950s, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.  “Unrelenting heat and lack of rain continued the downward spiral of drought conditions” in the Great Plains and Midwest this week, climate scientist Richard Heim of the National Climatic Data Center reported in the Drought Monitor (see map).

First of all, it’s important to define a drought.  A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. Groundwater, which is found in aquifers below the surface of the Earth, is one of the nation’s most important natural resources.   Groundwater is the source of about 38 percent of the water that county and city water departments supply to households and businesses (public supply). It provides drinking water for more than 97 percent of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them from a county/city water department or private water company.

Such droughts have two major impacts on small community water systems: water supply is reduced (surface waters and shallow groundwater) and water demand increases. The combination of these impacts can result in major stresses on the ability of water systems to meet demand.

Given the recent drought and lower than average rainfall in the US, many of us are looking at ways to save water. Conserving water not only benefits the environment, but also lessens the impact on your wallet.  Although there are hundreds of water saving tips, below are some easy ones to get you started:

  • Repair any leaks around your home. Leaking toilets, dripping faucets, and other leaks in pipes can waste over 10,000 gallons of water every year!
  • Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth or shaving. As soothing as the sound of running water may be, it is a complete waste and easy fix!
  • Take short showers. It’s as simple as that.
  • Scrape food waste into the garbage and NOT the garbage disposal. Not only does this save water, but you will make your city and wastewater operator very happy!
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until its cool. 
  • Only wash full loads of laundry and only use the dishwasher when it’s fully loaded.
  • Get water efficient appliances with the WaterSense label. Water efficient dishwashers, clothes washers, showerheads, toilets, etc. are 20 percent more water efficient than other traditional products on the market.
  • Water lawns and plants during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation. Also, check your water hose for leaks!
  •  When landscaping, choose native plants that are appropriate for your region. Native plants not only use less water, but are more resistant to pests and diseases.
  • Use a rain barrel.   Position the rain barrel under a rain gutter outside your house to water plants. This is an extremely easy, green, and attractive way to conserve water!
  • Lastly, use a bucket with water to wash your car. Not only are you conserving water, but it’s a better workout than using a garden hose.

For hundreds of water saving tips click here. We must all do our part to conserve water.  Do it because it’s the right thing to do!

MAP Project Celebrates a Milestone!

Back in 2006, MAP Field Manager, Harold Reynolds, became involved with a project that would become the WAU-COL Regional Water System.  The Wausa and Coleridge (WAU-COL) project area in northeast Nebraska had several small villages with either a quantity or quality problem with their drinking water.  Wausa and Coleridge had a sufficient source of good quality water that could provide enough water to supply the six villages and themselves.

MAP staff, USDA-RD, Northeast Nebraska RC&D, Nebraska Health and Human Services and the Natural Resource Districts in the area formed an advisory coalition to assist the communities in forming the District.  The scope of the project included the development of a new water source for the communities of Magnet, McLean, Belden, and approximately 15 rural users.  Phase 1 of the project was recently completed, and the milestone was celebrated to provide special recognition to those who were instrumental to the project…..(view the full story on our website)

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