HITTING THE MARK

Posted By: Christian Jensen Rural Life Stories ,

Becoming a regulated water system is a process that can be hard to navigate if you are going at it alone. Brian Pattee, RWAU Compliance / Training Specialist, is available to help those on the journey of compliance. His desire for the success of water systems coupled with years of experience make him useful to those who need his help.

A small water system needed help when they were notified by the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) that they were now large enough to become a public water system. The system in need was a connection off of a larger regulated system but had not been big enough to be regulated on its own. This transition included an official “Welcome to the Club” letter, detailing the steps that needed to be taken in order to meet compliance with their newfound public water system status. This process, which can take up to 18 months or more, includes countless hours of on-site training and instruction to ensure systems will be successful on into the future. The DDW understands the magnitude of such a transition and provides the tools necessary for systems to complete it.


Brian Pattee was notified by DDW to assist the small system in this transition, as he works on the state contract. This contract gives him the ability to help systems regardless of their membership status at RWAU. The small system was not an RWAU member at the time. Brian contacted a representative of the system on-site and met with them to establish a game plan to tackle the long list of requirements. His contact at this system was new to the water industry and running a water system was a small portion of their overall responsibilities. This made clear and concise instruction very important. While the list of requirements is the same for everyone, a uniquely tailored game plan takes into consideration specific problems different systems may have in the transition. Brian worked with them to tackle Monthly bacteriological sampling, Weekly pouring residual samples, Lead and copper sampling, Sanitary survey, Cross-connection control program certification, and Operator certification.


Many types of sampling are required to ensure the quality of drinking water. The system jumped right in, starting with monthly bacteriological sampling. Brian met with system representatives and helped them create a bacteriological sample site plan. He also went over how to take samples and how to prevent contaminating them before submission to the lab.


Brian continued the one on one training, explaining how to take weekly pouring residual samples. Given that the water coming from the larger system was chlorinated, they were required to do three chlorine residual samples per week or 12 per month, followed by a submission of those samples quarterly. Brian taught them how to quarterly report those findings and encouraged them to purchase a chlorine residual fabric sample kit to aid in this process. He also instructed the operator with taking lead and copper samples / DBPR samples.


A sanitary survey, which is a review of a public water systems capability to supply safe drinking water, was completed by one of the drinking water representatives and assisted by Brian. Certifications are a hurdle every operator must overcome. Brian’s main contact became a certified water operator and completed all the cross-connection control elements.


Over the course of 18 months, Brian put in 40+ hours on-site. This was all one on one tutoring, and counseling. They also went to many trainings at RWAU including Operator Certification.


The arduous process of becoming a regulated water system could not have been done alone. The amount of training needing to be done would have been extremely difficult had they tried to do everything on their own. A task that would have involved a massive amount of time be allocated to this process. With another system now in compliance, Brian (and the other RWAU field staff) look to help wherever they may be needed.


We would like to take this opportunity to announce that Brian Pattee is now working for the Division of Drinking Water. Brian has been an integral part of this organization over the past 6 years. We thank Brian for his hard work, commitment, and dedication. He will be missed, but we know he is taking his work ethic over to DDW, and will continue to serve the people of Utah. Meanwhile, Terry Smith will take over the Compliance Circuit Rider position. Terry is an incredible asset to our team and will continue to work his hardest at this new position.


Like this story? Good news, there are more on the way! Our monthly newsletter and the Rural Life Stories section of our webpage will be updated with stories happening all over our state. Stay tuned, good things are in store.
 
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