New website about drinking water issues available to small communities

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2 November 2009 – MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A new website featuring free articles and educational resources designed to increase awareness about crucial water and wastewater issues is now available.

The website, located at www.nesc.wvu.edu/waterwedrink, is part of “The Water We Drink: Small Community Outreach Campaign,” which offers information about maintaining safe, sustainable, and secure water supplies in small and rural communities.

The campaign is a joint effort by the Rural Community Assistant Partnership (RCAP) and the National Environmental Services Center (NESC), located at West Virginia University, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

RCAP’s Director of Training and Technical Services Joy Barrett, Ph.D., says, “The materials present practical, doable steps that local leaders and small water utility board members can take to address day-to-day challenges, such as aging infrastructure, workforce shortages and water pollution, that can threaten local water sources and services. Our main message is that local leadership is essential in protecting and maintaining these critical services, and there are many options for taking action.”

Sandra Fallon, NESC training specialist, adds, “The website’s articles encourage local leaders to be proactive and work with their water systems to address infrastructure problems and labor shortages by, for example, implementing an asset management program or partnering with local high schools and colleges to introduce students to water industry careers. The educational resources address keeping pharmaceuticals and personal care products out of our waterways by educating residents about proper disposal methods and starting a community-wide prescription drug collection and disposal program.”

The website offers newsletter articles, brochures, a PowerPoint presentation and fact sheets that are available free to download for educational and nonprofit uses, such as reprinting in newsletters or magazines, distributing via e-mail or Internet, or using for training or public presentations. Additional resources will be added throughout the coming year.

For more information about the campaign or website, contact Fallon at 1-800-624-8301, ext. 5582, or at sfallon@mail.wvu.edu.

RCAP is a federally funded nonprofit organization that provides free water and wastewater training and assistance to rural communities and tribes. For more information about RCAP, call (800) 321-7227 or log onto www.rcap.org.

Housed at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy, NESC is a federally funded program that helps small and rural communities with their water, wastewater, management, and infrastructure resilience challenges. To learn more about NESC, call (800) 624-8301 or visit www.nesc.wvu.edu.