On Tuesday, February 4, 2020 SERCAP’s Regional staff, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) Office of Drinking Water (ODW), delivered a day-long training session entitled Rural and Small Systems Sustainable Utility Management Workshop, to the Mayor and Town Council of the Town of Monterey in Highland County, VA. The Town operates both the water and wastewater treatment facilities that serve its citizens and a number of county residents in close proximity. The Town’s relatively new, but motivated Town Council is facing several issues, including: aging infrastructure, limited resources, and a history of limited action in addressing these challenges. SERCAP and VDH: ODW have been working with the Town to implement both policy and operational changes, and to apply for funding.
The Rural and Small Systems Sustainable Utility Management Workshop is designed: 1) to help utilities address the challenges associated with maintaining a sustainable system, and 2) capture improvement opportunities for sustainable utility management. The Workshop is built around ten key management areas, including: financial viability, operational resiliency, employee and leadership development, water resource adequacy, community sustainability and economic development, infrastructure stability, product quality, customer satisfaction, stakeholder understanding and support, and operational optimization. Participating in the training provided the Town leadership with a blueprint for setting priorities and creating action plans that will support the water and wastewater systems into the future.
In the long-term, the positive impact of SERCAP delivering this training to the Town of Monterey, VA, will be the improved Quality of Life for the community and its residents through the provision of fully functioning, environmentally sound, and sustainable water and wastewater treatment facilities. Working with the community to ensure that its water and wastewater facilities are run properly, will allow the community to provide long-term water and wastewater service to its residents, which in-turn will improve the Environmental Health and Economic Self-sufficiency of the community and its residents. Establishing sustainable water and wastewater facilities will allow residents to, 1) maintain their Environmental Health by decreasing their risk of waterborne illnesses, which can be caused by failing water/wastewater systems, and 2) maintain their Economic Self-sufficiency by minimizing the financial burden that can occur when water/wastewater costs are unaffordable. Additionally, the Economic Self-sufficiency of the community-at- large will be maintained, or even improved, through the provision of a sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure solution, which will enable the Town to support small business growth and economic development into the future.
*Funding for SERCAP’s Regional Department is made possible by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Community Services’ (OCS) Grant, USDA RD’s Technitrain Program, the Drinking Water Compliance Grant through the EPA, and the EPA Private Well Grant. Additionally, all of SERCAP’s programs in Virginia, are leveraged by a Budget Appropriation from the Virginia General Assembly, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD).