Trophy and Luncheon Awarded Water Taste Test Winner!

Missouri Rural Water Association awarded a trophy and provided a pizza luncheon for officials from the City of Humansville in Polk County Friday, May 6th. The honors came as part of the “spoils of victory” for the winner of the annual water taste test.

The City of Humansville bested four other finalists April 20th in order to capture the title of “2016 Best Tasting Water in Missouri.” During the May 6th gathering, Humansville City Superintendent John Hopkins admitted, “I just did it (submitted a water sample) on a whim.” This water system manager said that he did not expect to win.

That is not to say that Hopkins or other city representatives were overly surprised by the result. With modesty to deflect credit away from himself, Hopkins described the local water quality as historically good. A natural spring is what enticed Founder James Human to settle the area in the early 19th century.

From left to right, City Clerk Linda Kenney, Utility Clerk Tracy Mason, Mayor Paula Jonson holding the MRWA trophy, City Superintendent John Hopkins holding the House Resolution from Representative Sue Entlicher, North Ward Alderman Betty Mashburn, South Ward Alderman Dennis Janssen, and City Employee Robert Hudson. Not in picture is North Ward Alderman Loretta Clark.

From left to right, City Clerk Linda Kenney, Utility Clerk Tracy Mason, Mayor Paula Jonson holding the MRWA trophy, City Superintendent John Hopkins holding the House Resolution from Representative Sue Entlicher, North Ward Alderman Betty Mashburn, South Ward Alderman Dennis Janssen, and City Employee Robert Hudson. Not in picture is North Ward Alderman Loretta Clark.

While the town now receives its drinking water from two deep wells, it still boasts water quality reminiscent of that natural spring.

Furthermore, this is not the only feature unique to this community. Mayor Paula Jonson said that it is the only town in the world with the name of Humansville.

State Representative Sue Entlicher has provided the community a House Resolution commemorating its taste test victory, and State Senator Mike Parson is drafting a Senate Resolution. Hopkins and his wife, Carma, visited both state legislators following the event.

Hopkins or another city representative will fly to Washington, D.C. next February with a water sample from one of the town’s wells. The community will represent Missouri in the National Rural Water Association’s Great American Water Taste Test.

The MRWA, a non-profit organization serving water and wastewater utilities, believes that Missouri has superior water quality. Each year, the Association sends the state winner’s water sample to the nation’s capitol in hopes of capturing 1st place honors. Perhaps Humansville’s water will achieve this goal. If so, it will boast the best tasting water in the country.

MRWA sponsors its yearly water taste test as a way of spotlighting the great quality of water that we Missourians enjoy. The event also highlights the tireless work of water specialists who ensure that this vital resource continues to flow from the tap.

Missouri Rural Water Association appreciates the efforts of these water specialists; their long hours; frequent interruptions from sleep or family time; and the undesirable conditions under which they serve, whether fixing water main breaks during a deep freeze or responding to low pressure issues during summer when demand for water is at its peak.

Growing Interest in Proper Drug Disposal!

Following the April 30th Pharmaceutical Drug Take-Back event, the Missouri Rural Water Association has determined that more people are supporting the cause of disposing of drugs properly. This assessment seems to include the number of people dropping off unwanted drugs and the number of sites for such disposal.

With an estimate of almost 1.5 tons of collected pharmaceuticals at about 40 sites, MRWA Source Water Protection Specialist Eric Fuchs declared that this is “Almost double” (the quantity of drugs collected during the previous event); and he added, “We also almost doubled the numbers of participating agencies.”

Both increases follow a temporary suspension of this event a year ago before funding was restored by Fall 2015. These numbers reflect volumes associated with the MRWA coordinated effort, typically public water systems.

As Fuchs has indicated, MRWA’s interest stems from water quality concerns. Pharmaceuticals flushed down toilets make their way into wastewater treatment facilities. Unfortunately, these treatment plants are not capable of removing these substances, which eventually make their way into receiving streams.

Of the estimated 2,854 pounds collected, one community actually counted individual drugs: Cole County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 4 Manager Will Humphrey reported 16,500 pills and 1.5 liters of liquid medicines. Jackson County PWSD 2 Manager Pat Ertz sent totals from Sergeant Dyon Harper of the Raytown Police Department for that community’s collection effort: 658 pounds collected from three sites.

Cole County PWSD 4 collection effort.

Cole County PWSD 4 collection effort.

Fuchs believes the event will continue to grow. In fact, he ambitiously concluded that “We want to double (our efforts) again next year.” Maybe this will happen more quickly than expected. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency plans another event this fall.

“It’s a nice opportunity,” as Fuchs described it, “to dispose of unwanted drugs in an anonymous way, to clear medicine cabinets of clutter, and to safeguard drinking water sources.”

The MRWA provides promotional flyers and banners for participating water systems. These systems, in cooperation with local law enforcement authorities, host collection sites.

MRWA is always seeking to spread its message about protecting drinking water from unnecessary contamination. These drug take-back events remind everyone that flushing drugs or tossing them in trash receptacles is not an acceptable method of disposal. They also offer an easy way to participate, with two events scheduled each year.

If your community would like to participate as host site for one of these events, encourage your public water system representative to contact Eric Fuchs at 573-429-1383 or efuchs@moruralwater.org.

Water Taste Test Finals, Open House, and Legislative Visits Fill the Week!

The City of Humansville has the best tasting water in Missouri for 2016, according to a panel of judges who made this determination April 20th.

Humansville City Superintendent John Hopkins holds 2016 Best Tasting Water trophy.

Humansville City Superintendent John Hopkins holds 2016 Best Tasting Water trophtermination April 20th.

The Missouri Rural Water Association assembled judges during its annual Legislative Open House and Fish Fry to determine the best water sample from a slate of five finalists. Judges included Trudy Ziegelhofer of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development; David Lamb, Public Drinking Water Branch Chief of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; and Lyn Woolford, Chief of Police and acting City Administrator for the City of Ashland, Missouri.

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From Left to right, David Lamb, Trudy Ziegelhofer, and Lyn Woolford sample water.

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From Left to right, Finalists William Smart of Ionia; John Hopkins of winning system Humansville; Mike Hedrick of St. Francois County PWSD 2; Melinda Piper of Barton, Dade, Cedar & Jasper C-PWSD 1; and David Hawthorne of Puxico.

Other contenders for the title of Best Tasting Water were the cities of Ionia in Benton County and Puxico in Stoddard County; St. Francois County PWSD 2 located in Park Hills; and Barton, Dade, Cedar and Jasper Consolidated PWSD 1, with its office in Lamar. The final three in this list were finalists in 2015 as well.

Woolford said that, unlike a wine tasting test, water samples with less bouquet had better taste. In fact, this judge indicated that smell as a process of elimination, rather than taste, was the key factor in selecting the best water.

City of Humansville Superintendent John Hopkins said that the community’s superior water quality originated with the discovery of a natural spring by City Founder James Human, who decided to settle the area in 1908. Two groundwater sources serve the town’s drinking water needs today. However, Hopkins cited the abundance of limestone in the area, which enhances the taste of the water supply, much as it did with the original spring.

Additionally, Humansville has a celebrated past. Native Zoe Byrd Akins won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1935. She was a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. “Uncle Joe” of Petticoat Junction fame was also born here. His real name was Edgar Buchanan. He appeared in more than 100 films and in numerous television shows.

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Legislative Open House participants enjoy good food and company.

Removed from the glamour of Hollywood, the MRWA Legislative Open House brings together persons of significance for public water supplies. Representatives of many of these supplies convene to discuss topics of interest and concern with the Missouri DNR, the organization which regulates these utilities and provides financing for upgrades; USDA Rural Development, a partner in targeting improvements at utilities for the wellbeing of rural Missourians with its share of financial assistance; legislators who consider proposed bills which can affect these utilities; and MRWA staff members who provide technical assistance.

The Open House is a casual affair. Fried fish, hush puppies, potatoes, and cobblers are some of the regular food items. MRWA Resource Conservation Circuit Rider Wayne Roderman has a real knack for food preparation, and his cooking is partly responsible for the great success of this event each year. Approximately 90 people participated in this outdoor eating experience.

This social occurs on the eve of a more formal event, the annual MRWA Jefferson City Day. This is an opportunity for water and wastewater system representatives to express support or rejection of proposed bills at the State Capitol with their legislators.

The morning begins with a breakfast meeting. The April 21st guest speaker was Representative Rocky Miller from District 124. Not only is Miller a state representative; he is certified in water operations and has overseen permitting of a great number of sewer districts, while managing 45 such districts through family-owned Miller Companies. He spoke about legislative issues; addressed challenges resulting from federal and state regulations; and answered questions.

MRWA Legislative Liaison Harry Hill briefly addressed those gathered. He provided pointers for getting an audience with legislators and traditionally interprets legislative language so that everyone understands the intent and potential impact of proposed bills.

MRWA Executive Director John Hoagland speaks at Jefferson City Day breakfast.

MRWA Executive Director John Hoagland speaks at Jefferson City Day breakfast.

MRWA Executive Director John Hoagland summed up the primary strategy at this year’s event: emphasis on local control. “I can pretty well guarantee you that every legislator in the Capitol ran on a platform to eliminate government control in our lives; then they get elected and start considering bills that will essentially take control away from local communities.” Hoagland has consistently said that water and wastewater utility boards are the best qualified, and not the state, to determine rules governing these entities.

Following breakfast, the group comprised of approximately 50 participants, dispersed for the Capitol. Meanwhile, MRWA employees began preparations on the Capitol’s third floor rotunda where they would distribute 650 deli lunches to legislators and their staffs.

That same morning, John Hopkins and his wife, Carma, received recognition for their water system’s achievement in the taste test. They met with State Senator Mike Parson of District 28 who introduced them on the Senate floor. Afterwards, District 128 Representative Sue Entlicher introduced them on the House floor.

MRWA has requested Senate and House resolutions attesting to this victory. At a later date, MRWA will sponsor a luncheon for city officials and employees to further commemorate the honor.

Disposing of Drugs Responsibly!

The Missouri Rural Water Association reminds people to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in a responsible manner. That opportunity will take place at the upcoming Drug Take-Back event April 30, 2016. Unwanted or outdated drugs will be collected at facilities around the state from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

During the past several years, the national Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and local law enforcement agencies have teamed up in an effort to remove these substances from circulation.

“While the DEA and law enforcement are primarily concerned with potential abuse of controlled substances, the MRWA’s interest lies in protection of drinking water sources,” explains MRWA Source Water Protection Specialist Eric Fuchs.

Increasing concern arises from the impact of these drugs in waterways, as Fuchs elaborates. “Most think pharmaceuticals are removed during the process to make clean drinking water. Wastewater treatment facilities are unable to remove pharmaceuticals. When medications are flushed down the toilet, these treatment plants eventually return these products to receiving streams: rivers, creeks, and lakes.”

In addition to the human element associated with drinking water, Fuchs outlines other potential dangers. “It is also important to protect the wildlife in our rivers and streams. Many species are sensitive to the products that are dumped or flushed, which end up in our streams.”
Occurrence data indicate the detection of antibiotics, anti-depressants, veterinary drugs, birth control hormones, and other drugs in waterways across the United States.Picture 1

Research suggests that hormones found in pharmaceuticals may cause abnormalities in the reproductive cycles of fish. Antibiotics in the environment may also contribute to the development of drug resistant germs.

Proper disposal involves incineration, overseen by the DEA. Drugs may be dropped off anonymously at all collection sites.

Even tossing remaining drugs in the trashcan doesn’t lessen the threat. “When thrown in trashcans,” Fuchs says, “pharmaceuticals eventually make their way to landfills. These products pose a threat here as well, since leaching substances can make their way into groundwater sources.”

To support this effort, the MRWA provides promotional flyers and banners; educates water specialists about measures to protect drinking water, including community involvement; and offers guidance about potential contaminant sources.

Although communities around the country have rallied behind this cause, federal dollars to support this campaign were briefly eliminated in the recent past. “The DEA had cancelled funding for this event,” Fuchs says, “but due to interaction from local communities who supported the program, funding was reinstated.”

A search through one’s medicine cabinet will likely find expired drugs or substances no longer needed following recovery. Aging parents or grandparents might have simply forgotten such products exist, allowing them to accumulate, potentially for years. The MRWA encourages individuals to inspect pharmaceuticals to see if they are still needed and to properly dispose of those which are not.

“We need to dispose of them properly to keep them out of our water supplies,” Fuchs emphasizes. “The MRWA encourages public water utilities to host collection sites and hopes to continually increase interest in this worthy cause.”

People are urged to check for local collection sites and take an active role in combating this problem.

Missouri Water Taste Test Finals Combine with Open House and Legislative Work!

Five water systems will vie for the title of Missouri’s best tasting water April 20, 2016, at the Missouri Rural Water Association annual Legislative Open House and Fish Fry. The event is a casual affair held on the parking lot of the MRWA office at 901 Richardson Drive in Ashland. The social gathering officially kicks off at 5:00 p.m.

Finalists for the water taste test include the cities of Humansville, Ionia, and Puxico; St. Francois County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 2 in Park Hills; and Barton, Dade, Cedar and Jasper Consolidated PWSD 1 in Lamar. These systems bested nearly 25 rivals from a wide range of geographic areas in the state.

Judges analyze samples.

Judges analyze samples.

Representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Ashland local government will be judging samples on the basis of three criteria: clarity, bouquet, and taste. With a 10-point spread for each category, finalists will be hoping for the highest score.

Other members of these organizations and representatives from water systems will gather to meet new people, reacquaint themselves with familiar faces, and enjoy what MRWA staff members claim as the best fried fish and Dutch oven baked cobblers west of the Mississippi! Resource Conservation Circuit Rider Wayne Roderman knows his way around the deep fryer, and those who have previously attended this event look forward to his scrumptious food styling.

This social takes place on the eve of the MRWA annual Jefferson City Day. That event brings water and wastewater system representatives together to visit the State Capitol and speak to their legislators about issues potentially affecting their public utilities. The day starts with a full breakfast at the Doubletree Hotel in Jefferson City where participants receive a briefing about proposed legislation and how various House and Senate bills could influence their local control.

As participants scout out the offices of their legislators, MRWA staff members set up tables on the 3rd floor Rotunda where they will provide 650 lunches to legislators and their office staffing.

Meanwhile, the winner of the statewide water taste test visits the Senate and House floors and, time permitting in these legislators’ schedules, is introduced before each body of lawmakers.

The winning system will enjoy a free luncheon on home turf following this event, accepts a trophy in recognition of this accomplishment, and will later escort a water sample to Washington, D.C. to represent Missouri in the National Rural Water Association Great American Water Taste Test. That event will take place next winter.

Two Changes Will Affect Missouri Public Water Systems April 1st!

A courier scheduling change and major revisions to an existing drinking water regulation will begin April 1, 2016. Both changes will directly affect Missouri public drinking water systems.

The Missouri State Public Health Laboratory will be using the services of a new provider to transport monthly bacteriological water samples to the lab, according to a memorandum from Acting Director Peter Lyskowski of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. STAT Courier, Incorporated, will run most of the same routes as the existing courier service; but its pick up times will vary in some locations.

Water operators should check to see if pick up times for their county locations have changed. Courier arrival times are available on GIS and county maps for easy reference, with links to these maps found at the bottom of this site: http://health.mo.gov/lab/courierservices.php.

The new route schedule will be updated April 1st. Until then, schedules related to the existing courier will remain posted.

Another change for water systems, which also relates to their monthly water sampling, is the revision to the Total Coliform Rule. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has implemented revisions to the existing rule, effective April 1st.

Although many strains of coliform bacteria are harmless to human health, the USEPA has long ago selected this entity as a general indicator of water quality. Given the fact that this is a hardy strain, many pathogenic species are inactivated or killed more easily. Therefore, absence of coliform usually means absence of other bacteria, including harmful varieties.

Water samples testing positive for coliform can trigger follow up actions from water operators. Revisions include, but are not limited to, an assessment of the system, its water sources, sampling points, any unusual circumstances, and changes in operator maintenance practices.

When exceeding the limit for E. coli bacteria, a strain considered automatically harmful to human health, public water systems must provide a more thorough assessment. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) will conduct these assessments. Furthermore, systems must notify their customers of this threat in a timely manner.

Although the revisions to this rule involve many minor changes, the primary focus is centered upon these assessments. By reviewing components and practices, water operators may discover the true cause of problems and be better prepared to take corrective measures.

This proactive approach will further ensure the safety of drinking water, a goal shared by the USEPA, the MDNR, and your local public water system.

Operators may contact their MDNR regional office for more details. They may also contact the Missouri Rural Water Association at 573-657-5533 for help with either of these changes.

MRWA Offers Scholarship Opportunities

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

The Missouri Rural Water Association Scholarship Committee will award four (4) college scholarships for the 2016-2017 school term. Two scholarships will be awarded to enrolled college students and two to graduating high school seniors. The scholarships will be awarded to children, stepchildren or dependants of a full-time employee of either an Active Member System or of MRWA. The two scholarships awarded to enrolled college students are designated the James Farley Scholarship in honor of James Farley, a longtime attorney in the water industry. Mr. Farley was instrumental in drafting many of the laws which govern rural water districts in the State of Missouri and was legal counsel for many water districts which were formed in Northwest Missouri. He was a longtime supporter of MRWA, dating back to the beginning of the Association, and served as legal counsel for MRWA from 2000 until he retired from practicing law in 2014.

Application must be postmarked no later than May 2, 2016, and mailed to:

Missouri Rural Water Association
901 Richardson Drive Ashland, Missouri 65010

Complete application and rules can be found HERE

Utility Conference’s Big Give-Away, Awards, Fun, and Training!

The Missouri Rural Water Association marked its 50th year of service during its annual Technical Conference and Trade Show at Branson, Missouri, March 1st through March 3rd. The event attracted several hundred participants from water and wastewater utilities, industry service and product providers, financial assistance organizations, and regulatory agencies.

Rebekah Morrison of Greene County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 6 won the grand prize: a 1966 Volkswagen painted with a racing stripe and the number 53, a full-sized and fully operational replica of Herbie the Love Bug from Walt Disney Pictures. The Volkswagen’s age is reminiscent of the year when MRWA was established.

Leading to this final event, the conference buzzed with activity. Another highlight involved award presentations before a packed crowd on the Branson Belle Showboat March 1st. MRWA Deputy Executive Director Randy Norden announced scholarship winners, presented trophies to six recipients, and provided a gift in recognition of employment service.

Jeff Newell, City of Alton in Oregon County, received the Dell Cornell Award as water operator; and Kerri Peters, City of New Hampton in Harrison County, received the Randy Johnson Scholarship as wastewater operator. Both scholarships defrayed conference registration and hotel costs for dedicated utility representatives whose small systems would not have been able to afford to send them otherwise.

Johnson County PWSD 3 earned Newsletter of the Year recognition. Its publication cites current news within the district, references related stories as they affect other systems, and provides helpful tips and timely suggestions for customers. Nominees included the City of Urich in Henry County and PWSD 1 of DeKalb County.

Representatives of Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission accepted the award of Source Water Protection System of the Year. This large water provider works to ensure that its water source remains free of human-made or accidental contamination events.

The Outstanding Service Award is only given when someone has performed truly exemplary work. Recipient Mary Lou Rainwater, City of Truesdale, earned the award as a result of her extraordinary efforts regarding Drug Take-Back events. When they were recently suspended, she wrote her congressional representative, placed telephone calls, and persisted with written communication until she could no longer be ignored. Rainwater’s perseverance proved instrumental in re-instating this worthy cause.

Micro-Comm earned the Associate Member of the Year award. This digital control technology provider has shown itself a loyal supporter of the Association through its consistent participation at events and sponsorship of activities. This year, Micro-Comm helped sponsor the fireworks display during the showboat excursion.

The City of Milan in Sullivan County captured the title of Wastewater System of the Year. The other nominee was Reeds Spring in Stone County. The Village of Kingdom City in Callaway County accepted the Drinking Water System of the Year award. Other nominees included the cities of Cassville in Barry County and Odessa in Lafayette County. These awards merit systems which have performed due diligence in regulatory compliance, managerial oversight, and operational efficiency.

Member Services Secretary Saem Yem received a gift bag in recognition of her 10-year anniversary of employment with MRWA. Among her many duties, Yem corresponds with member and non-member systems, updates membership lists, addresses questions from systems and staff members, and processes monthly logs from employees.

The crowd applauded recipients and enjoyed entertainment onboard the Branson Belle. The evening festivities included a complimentary meal and drinks, a show consisting of comedy and music, and a fireworks display.

There were still other winners during the conference. Cash prizes went to the three top scorers in the Excavation Rodeo: Jeff Stockton of the American Water Company with a time of 2 minutes, 4 seconds; Dakota Enton, City of Greenfield, finishing in 2 minutes, 37 seconds; and David Blankenship, City of New Haven, completing the course in 2 minutes, 43 seconds. As the top two finishers, Stockton and Enton earned a place as semi-finalists for the MRWA Fall Operation and Maintenance Symposium Grand Master Excavator Rodeo during which they will compete for the $1,000 cash prize.

For those not winning awards or timed contests, there was ample opportunity to win other prizes. The exhibit hall was full of service and product providers displaying the latest in industry technology. Breaks between training sessions offered attendees the chance to mingle with each other and company representatives, enjoy refreshments and meals, and capture prizes.

Educational forums were divided into different categories: drinking water, wastewater, management, advanced, and special. Training sessions offered such diverse topics as emergency response, advanced sludge treatment, data security, nitrification, and employee protection. The conference included a full-day training seminar for decision makers, including district boards and city council members.

Conference-goers also participated in regional caucuses. Directors from the MRWA Board of Directors led their respective meeting for each of the seven regions within the state. This process gives everyone a chance to discuss matters of interest unique to their geographic area and elect directors to the MRWA board. Two directors ran unopposed and were reelected for another three-year term: Region I Director Roger Barker and Region V Director Kathy Voyles.

The conference concluded at mid-day March 3rd with raffle drawings and prizes, including that grand finale prize: the 1966 Volkswagen.

March Conference Marks 50th Year of Service!

The Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) will convene water and wastewater utility representatives March 1st through March 3rd at its 50th annual Technical Conference and Trade Show. The event will take place at the Branson Convention Center.

“This year’s event marks a milestone for the Association: 50 years by anyone’s measure is a testament to the dedication of the Rural Water professionals of Missouri,” states MRWA Executive Director John Hoagland.

This 50th year of service culminates November 30th. On that date in 1966, Governor Jay Nixon’s father, Jeremiah Nixon, acted as attending attorney for the launch of the Association.

To mark the anniversary, MRWA will raffle off during its March conference Herbie the Love Bug, a 1966 Volkswagen marked with the number 53 and a racing stripe running from front to rear. This replica looks like the original but will not perform wheelies and other magic feats like the movie version. The MRWA will also treat participants to a night out on the Branson Belle Showboat, replete with dinner and refreshments.

In addition to the big raffle, lots of other prize drawings, and entertainment, conferences provide professional development through formal training seminars. Sessions will be divided among drinking water, wastewater, advanced topics, and management. This will ensure that training addresses the diverse needs of utility employees, whether they serve in managerial, clerical, or field work positions.

A few of these sessions will include topics such as emergency response, easements, sludge treatment, permitting, and nitrification. Subjects will range from basic concepts for those newly engaged in this work to advanced procedures for veteran operators wishing to further their knowledge.

Conferences, with hundreds of people in attendance, create the perfect forum for honoring the work of some noteworthy individuals as well as the achievements of exceptionally managed utilities. Awards will include Dell Cornell and Randy Johnson scholarships, Water System of the Year, Wastewater System of the Year, Source Water Protection System of the Year, and exemplary Newsletter.

The scholarship program ensures that individuals intent upon advancing their knowledge in the industry are not left out of this educational experience. Scholarships are awarded a water operator and a wastewater operator whose small system would be unable to afford the costs of conference registration and hotel. Scholarships defray these expenses.

Award nominees for water and wastewater systems of the year and for newsletter include the following list for each category:
• Water – City of Cassville in Barry County, City of Odessa in Lafayette County, and Village of Kingdom City in Callaway County;
• Wastewater – City of Milan in Sullivan County, City of Reeds Spring in Stone County, and City of Winona in Shannon County;
• Newsletter – City of Urich in Henry County, Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 1 of DeKalb County, and PWSD 3 of Johnson County.

Kicking off the three-day event will be nationally recognized Motivational Speaker Randy Frazier. His message will undoubtedly raise participants’ spirits through insightful appreciation for their public service.

In addition to traditional training sessions, the event will include a one-day seminar for local decision makers. The March 2nd Board Training will include topics relevant to governance, such as Sunshine Law, board member responsibilities and liabilities, personnel issues, financial management, and Chapter 247 of the state statute pertaining to water district requirements. These sessions fulfill training requirements for water district board members who wish to receive payment for their participation at meetings.

Hoagland describes an element which has remained constant throughout the organization’s long history of conferences. “While over the years conferences have changed, the main focus remains the same … sharing experiences and interacting with peers to improve skills needed to provide safe, clean drinking water for the public.”

Conferences bring together industry experts who provide services and products. These vendors display their wares in the convention center where conference participants learn about latest technologies, process control measures, and troubleshooting methods. Amidst the informal gathering, with snacks and refreshments, this environment offers its own opportunity for learning about the industry.

“I hope our members statewide will take a few days out of their busy schedules to join us in celebrating this milestone in our Association’s history,” Hoagland urges.

2016 Water Taste Test

It’s time to consider water sample submission for entry in the MRWA 2016 Water Taste Test.
Submission is easy. Just call the MRWA Office at 573-657-5533 by Friday, February 26th, provide your name, telephone number, and the name of your public water system. MRWA circuit riders will collect a water sample from the first 24 member systems to call.

If you prefer, collect and deliver your own water sample at either the annual MRWA Technical Conference and Trade Show in Branson March 1st-3rd or the MRWA Office, 901 Richardson Drive, Ashland, MO 63645.

Hand-delivered samples should be brought no later than Friday, March 25th to allow time for anonymous labeling of jars prior to the preliminary judging. If delivering your own sample, collect it in a glass jar such as a canning jar, label it with your system’s name, and keep the sample out of sunlight and away from heat sources.

Preliminary judging by the end of March will narrow the field to the top five best tasting samples. MRWA will contact these semi-finalists and request another sample be brought to our April 20th Legislative Open House and fish fry. Final judging that day will determine the 2016 Best Tasting Water for Missouri.IMG_3355

MRWA provides a free stay that evening at the Double Tree Hotel in Jefferson City for one representative from each of these semi-finalist systems. These individuals also enjoy a complimentary breakfast during the following morning.

The winning system receives a plaque and free luncheon at a later date, and participating representatives will be escorted to the system’s Senate and House chambers at the capitol during the following day’s Jefferson City Day activities, provided that these legislators can spare a little time for introductions.

Most important of all is the fact that the winning water sample represents Missouri at the National Rural Water Association’s Great American Water Taste Test. This event occurs during the following February and includes free air fare, hotel accommodations, and meals for a system representative.

MRWA is still looking for a water sample that will awaken the taste buds of judges on that national panel and earn Missouri a place among the best tasting water nationwide. Missouri has earned the bronze status a couple of time in recent history, but it’s time that this state’s water quality moves up in ranks to capture gold.

Does your system have what it takes to place Missouri on the map at the national level? If so, submit a water sample. Better yet, let MRWA collect it for you. How simple can it be!

Call to put your name on the list, and we’ll see you in March when we collect your sample.