Ask the Experts
In each issue of NESC's drinking water magazine, On Tap, we ask members of the On Tap Editorial Advisory Board to answer a drinking water-related question. We then print as many responses as space permits. The opinions expressed in the "Ask the Experts" section are not necessarily those of NESC.
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- All articles are from On Tap (OT) magazine. For the full issue, please see our OT page.
- Water vs Profit: OT Fall 2009 - "Do we have a moral obligation to supply people with drinking water at the lowest possible price, overriding the Wall Street impulse to make a profit? Or does investing in water offer benefits that may not be obvious?
- Imagine No Water: OT Summer 2009 - "The availability of clean, safe drinking water is something most of us take for granted. In the years ahead, though, we will face unprecedented stress on this vital resource. What are some simple—but effective—steps drinking water systems can take to communicate the value of water to their customers?"
- Tap vs. Bottled Water: OT Spring 2009 - "Bottled water sales have leveled off or even dropped.Do you think consumers have lost their fascination with bottled water? Do you think the public now has more confidence in tap water?"
- Energy Costs: OT Winter 2009 - "Be it the price of gas at the pump or the cost for heat and power, energy costs are on everyone's mind these days.What are some simple ways that water utilities can save money on energy?"
- Community Resilience: OT Fall 2008 - "With the prospect of a new federal administration, what do we still need to do, as a nation, to attain community resilience, and what role do you see for your organization and others?"
- Funding Infrastructure Improvements: OT Summer 2008 - "What are some good ways for the U.S. to fund needed improvements to our aging infrastructure?"
- Hiring An Operator: OT Spring 2008 - "When a small water system needs to hire an operator, what are the most important qualities they should consider in a candidate for the job?"
- Preparing for First Operator Certification Exam OT Winter 2008 - "If you knew someone who was preparing to take his or her first operator certification exam, what advice would you offer?"
- Total Coliform Rule: OT Fall 2007 - "Do you believe that cross connections pose a serious threat to public health threat? If so, should cross connections be addressed in a revised Total Coliform Rule?"
- Small Systems and Latest Technologies: OT Summer 2007 - "What are the key barriers small systems face in using the latest technologies? What are some ways to aid small systems in this area?"
- Water System Mergers: OT Spring 2007 - "Are water system mergers happening more often in your region? Does this trend help small communities?"
- Water Rates: OT Winter 2007 - "Which is more difficult: raising the rates or getting the increase approved by the state public service commission? What are some ways to make implementing rate increases easier?"
- Emergency Preparedness: OT Fall 2006 - "Why should a water system be prepared for an emergency? What kinds of emergencies should they be prepared for?"
- Working With Watershed Groups: OT Summer 2006 - "Do drinking water professionals work with watershed groups in your area? What do you see as being most beneficial about this approach?"
- Mandatory Board Training: OT Spring 2006 - "Several states now require mandatory board training for water board members. Should these mandatory training programs be adopted more widely?"
- Water Conservation: OT Winter 2006 - "What are some ways that utilities and other groups can encourage more responsible use among water customers?"
- Environmental Educational Materials: OT Fall 2005 - "How do we know it's making any kind of difference? What methods of evaluation do we have in place?"
- Workforce Retirement: OT Summer 2005 - "What are some things your organization is doing (or is planning to do) to prepare for this exodus?"
- Communicating With The Public: OT Spring 2005 - "How do you communicate complicated details to people who may not fully understand all of the intricacies of the situation?"
- Improving Infrastructure Security and Protecting Drinking Water Supplies: OT Winter 2005 - "By the end of 2004, most systems had completed vulnerability assessments and revised their emergency response plans. What are the next steps water utilities should take to continue improving infrastructure security and protecting drinking water supplies?"
- Adding Fluoride to Drinking Water: OT Fall 2004 - "In your opinion, are there reasons to avoid adding fluoride to drinking water? If so, what are they, and why do you believe fluoride should be avoided? Or do you think fluoridation works? Why?"
- Business Practices: OT Summer 2004 - "For several years, we've heard different organizations encourage utilities to run their operations "like a business." In your experience, what is the most important business practice small systems could adopt that they aren‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö¬•t currently doing? Why is that particular business practice so important?"
- Regionalization: OT Spring 2004 - "Regionalization is fast becoming a hot topic in the drinking water industry, and many organizations and individuals have very different opinions about it and if it works. Are there situations in which regionalization can or cannot work?"
- Resources OT Winter 2004 - "Running a water system correctly can be a complicated endeavor. If a new operator or board member came to you seeking advice, what are some resources you'd suggest to make the job a little easier?"
- Groundwater: OT Fall 2003 - "What groundwater contaminants or other groundwater problems does your community or system encounter? What are the solutions?"
- Water Theft: OT Summer 2003 - "How does your utility handle water theft generally and, more specifically, how do you deal with unauthorized use of fire hydrants or contractors who bypass meters when building?"
- Privatizing Drinking Water Systems: OT Spring 2003 - "Are there ways that privatizing drinking water systems could be beneficial? Why or why not?"
- Public Notifications and Consumer Education: OT Winter 2003 - "From time to time, water quality violations can occur. In these incidences, how should utilities handle the mandatory language in public notifications (such as a boil water advisory) and consumer education (such as the annual Consumer Confidence Report mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act) so that the public doesn‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√ë‚àö¬•t lose faith in their water supply ?"
- Safety Training: OT Fall 2002 - "With the known risks of working in a drinking water treatment facility, how important is it for drinking water systems to provide safety training to their employees, and why?"
- Valve Exercising: OT Summer 2002 - "How important is a valve-exercising program and how often should you implement such a program?"
- Spare Parts: OT Spring 2002 - "Many small water system operators report that they have trouble convincing the powers that be that certain items are essential in their inventory. With this in mind, what mechanical and spare parts do you recommend that small systems have on hand at all times?"
- Terrorist Assault: OT Winter 2002 - "Do small water systems need to be prepared for a possible terrorist assault?"
- Water Hammer: OT Fall 2001 - "For those working with water distribution systems, water hammer is a very serious problem. What steps does your system take to prevent water hammer from occurring?"
- Delaying Contaminant Standards: OT Summer 2001 - "How does delaying contaminant standards, such as the recent arsenic rule, affect drinking water systems?"
- Cross Connections and Backflow: OT Spring 2001 - "What is your system doing to minimize the dangers associated with cross connections and backflow?"