Everyone in the United States should have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water and sanitation, but some communities are disproportionately burdened with water-related problems. These communities, often small water and wastewater systems, including those in Indian Country, commonly struggle with maintaining compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act regulations. Specific challenges include retaining staff, obtaining resources required for upgrades and maintenance, understanding monitoring and reporting requirements, and meeting maximum contaminant levels in drinking water and pollutant limits in their wastewater effluent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contracted with ERG to provide support for developing and implementing a program to provide hands-on, face-to-face compliance assistance to operators of small wastewater and drinking water systems to help correct operational and technical issues that may be causing or contributing to noncompliance.
Through the Compliance Advisor Program, ERG supports EPA in providing technical support to operators of small drinking water and wastewater systems to help them achieve or maintain compliance with the SDWA and CWA. The program is designed to provide sustained support to each system for up to 18 months, during which time ERG identifies compliance problems and discusses potential solutions through conference calls and site visits. During the first three years of the program, ERG supported over 200 small systems in preparing plans, tools, and resources, such as standard operating procedures, asset management tools, emergency response plans, and operation and maintenance manuals. Because many small communities struggle with how and when to conduct sampling, one of the most requested tools has been a monitoring and sampling plan. The program’s goal is to provide these communities with resources that will enable them to maintain safe, clean drinking water and sanitation now and in the future.