Operating at a Deficit: Solutions to a Water and Wastewater Operator Shortage

Written by: Daniel Willems, Research Assistant, Environmental Finance Center at UNC Across the country, communities are dealing with a shortage of water and wastewater treatment plant operators. This shortage –  largely due to retirements occurring in an aging workforce – is leaving many municipalities in need of immediate replacements or short-term transition plans.  Without qualified individuals to ensure state and federal …

Four Words that Forward-Thinking Utilities Should Rethink

Written by: Leslie Kimble, Marketing Coordinator, Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center Each quarter, the Oxford English Dictionary adds new and revised words to the official dictionary. The latest update included more than 650 new words, senses, and subentries, including: “fake news,” “xoxo,” and “Jedi mind trick.” Out of the roughly 172,000 words in the dictionary, there are four words …

Metrics and Methods to Determine Principal Forgiveness Eligibility: Highlighting EPA Regions 9 and 10

Written by: Claudia Flores In 2018, the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) published findings from a study that assessed the metrics and criteria used to determine principal forgiveness eligibility in the state revolving funds (SRFs) in EPA Region 4. To complete a more comprehensive analysis, the EFC conducted interviews with program managers/directors and reviewed intended use plans in EPA Regions 9 and 10[1]. The methodology used in this …

What to Include in a Successful Interlocal Water and Wastewater Agreement

Written by: Erin Riggs Co-authored by: Liz Harvell Across North Carolina, population shifts, flooding and drought, changes in industry and manufacturing, and the continuous move toward a reduction in overall water use has continued to create partnership opportunities for large and small water and wastewater systems alike. For large systems anticipating future growth, increased and more economically-savvy water supply may …

Strengthening Utilities Through Consolidation: The Financial Impact

Written by: Erin Riggs and Jeff Hughes Click here to download the report A synthesis of the financial implications of consolidating water utilities based on the experience of eight communities. The US Water Alliance and the UNC Environmental Finance Center are committed to advancing fact-based, common-ground solutions to our nation’s most pressing water challenges. Currently, the water sector is extremely …

RDOs: Supporting Water Infrastructure and Improving Quality of Life

Written by Brett Schwartz, Associate Director, NADO Research Foundation This blog post is a condensed version of a more detailed article, available here. Every day, regional development organizations (RDOs) are working to improve the lives of residents in communities across the country.  Known locally as councils of governments, regional planning commissions, economic development districts, and other names, RDOs provide various …

This Week in Water Affordability News (and Perspectives)

Written by Jeffrey Hughes, Director of the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Interested in the challenge of protecting public and environmental health without losing sight of the burden those goals may place on some segments of our society?  The affordability challenge sits at the intersection of efforts to assure adequate investment in critical …

Becoming a Water Utility Operator: Test-taking Strategies

  Written by Matt Ziegler Are you interested in where our drinking water comes from, or how our cities and towns handle all of the wastewater that is generated by our modern society? Do you care about the health of your community and its future? Are you looking for a career that pays well with the potential for growth? If …

Partnerships and Regionalization – A Real Life Situation

Written by: Tom Roberts, Community Assistance Manager, EFC at UNC Did you know there are over 250 publicly owned small water systems serving less than 1,000 connections in North Carolina? In the case of water and wastewater utilities, bigger can often mean better. The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was asked earlier this …

Water as a Service

At a recent conference, we asked utility managers and operators to tell us about their everyday communication challenges. Again and again, we heard that communicating with customers about the value of the service their utility provides was difficult, because too often, customers think about water as a good rather than a service. Customers see water all around them (even falling …