Sources of Technical and
Financial Assistance for
Small Drinking Water

Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (4606M)
July 2002
                                                                                           > Printed on recycled paper

A Quick Reference to the Guide

Sources of Technical and Financial Assistance for Small Drinking Water Systems	1

Technical Assistance

National Rural Water Association (NRWA)	3

Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP)	5

National Environmental Services Center (NESC)	7

EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline	9

American Waterworks Association (AWWA)	9
Web site:
  Note: This document does not substitute for EPA regulation, nor is this document regulation itself. Thus, it cannot impose legally binding
  requirements on EPA, states, or the regulated community, and may not apply to a particular situation based upon the circumstances.

Financial Assistance
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)
Web site:
Rural Utilities Service (RUS)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant
Program	14
Web site: and

CoBank	16
Web site:

Sources  of Technical and Financial Assistance for  Small
Drinking  Water Systems
Ensuring that a water system has proper technical, mana-
gerial, and financial capacity is key to the success of the
water system. Each component complements the next to
form a well rounded water system capable of providing
high-quality drinking water to its customers. Being aware
of external resources, such as technical and financial
assistance, is a key element of managerial capacity.
Managers who are aware of these opportunities can
improve the overall capacity of a water system by access-
ing technical assistance from a technical assistance
provider, or by securing or acquiring adequate funding to
make needed infrastructure  improvements.

If you are looking for technical or financial
assistance to address some of the drinking water
challenges facing your small public water system (PWS),
this brochure will help you get started.

The first section of the  brochure identifies major sources
of technical assistance that are available to water
systems like yours. It provides contact information for
each organization and describes the relationship each
has with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

It also lists each organization's mission statement and
activities, and provides real-world examples of how this
assistance has  been used by small water systems to
improve protection of public health and to meet the objec-
tives of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

The second section provides the same type of information
for the major sources of financial assistance that are
available to small water systems and rural communities.

It is important to remember that the list of assistance provid
ers that follows is not all-inclusive. Other sources of infor-
mation and assistance exist at the national, regional, state,
and local levels. Use the information provided in this bro-
chure as a starting point in your search for help. Be sure to
ask any national organizations you contact about
regional and local sources of assistance that  may be

It is also important to remember that this brochure pro-
vides information only. It is up to you, as a small PWS or
community, to contact the various sources of  technical or
financial assistance available. Be proactive-these agencies
and organizations exist to help you!

 Technical >
National Rural Water Association (NRWA)
            Address:   2915 South 13th Street
                       Duncan, OK 73533-9086
            Telephone: (580) 252-0629
            Fax:        (580) 252-4896
            Web site:
For specific State Association contacts visit
EPA Affiliation: The NRWA receives grants from EPA, as well as the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and
various state environmental and health departments, to carry out its mis-

Mission: The NRWA's mission is to support State Rural Water Associa-
tions, which have more than 20,000 water and wastewater systems as

Activities: Each State Association offers a  wide variety of state-specific
programs, services, and member benefits. Each provides training programs
and on-site assistance in areas such as drinking water utility operation and
maintenance. In addition, the State Associations have trained over 40,000
water and wastewater system personnel each year for two decades and
provided over 60,000 on-site technical  assistance visits per year.
                                                     The NRWA is a source of on-site assistance for
                                                     small rural drinking water systems.

      NRWA State Associations offer a wide array of on-site
      technical assistance and educational programs in areas

      4  Regulatory compliance
      +  Operator certification
      4  Wellhead protection planning
      +  Leak detection
      4  Source water protection
      4  Backflow/cross-connection control
      4  Chlorination
      A  M«I  -    ^rt t\^  ,         	  ••                         Chlorination is one of the areas in which NRWA State
         Meters and flow measurements                        Associations offer technical assistance to small drinking
                                                              water systems.
      In addition, with the help of the NRWA and State Rural
      Water Associations, over 2,600 ground water protection plans have been adopted by local communities across
      the country,  and another 2,300 are in the process of being adopted.

 Technical >
Rural Community Assistance  Program (RCAP)
                   Address:    1522 K Street, NW, Suite 400
                               Washington, DC 20005
                   Telephone:  (202)408-1273
                   Fax:        (202) 408-8165
                   Web site:
Regional RCAP office information is listed on the next page.
EPA Affiliation: RCAP receives funding from EPA and RUS.

Mission: RCAP's mission is to assist people in rural America to improve
the quality of life in their communities.

Activities: RCAP provides training and technical assistance to help small
rural communities with safe drinking water, wastewater treatment, and solid
waste issues. The RCAP National Office serves as the hub of a national
delivery network that includes six affiliated regional RCAP organizations,
each of which covers a multi-state area. This grassroots network draws
upon the expertise of more than 180 field-based rural development profes-
sionals who provide training and technical assistance to help small rural
communities achieve or remain in compliance with the SDWA and protect
their drinking water resources. Technical assistance  includes facilities development, management and finance, opera-
tions and maintenance, planning and development, and on-site training workshops. Workshop topics include afford-
able treatment technologies, operation and management issues, operator training, and SDWA requirements.
                                                            Technical assistance from RCAP professionals
                                                            can help small systems protect their wells from
                                                            contamination by livestock and other sources.

       Small, rural communities are often referred to RCAP by their state primacy agency for training and technical
       assistance. These communities' water systems often face a wide range of challenges including old and poorly
       maintained facilities and equipment, unprotected wells, and a lack of disinfection or other standard practices.
       An RCAP technical assistance provider can help a community address its specific needs.
  RCAP is operated through six regional affiliates:

  RHI/Northeast RCAP, 218 Central Street, Winchendon, MA 01475
  Tel: (978) 297-5300 • Fax: (978) 297-2606 • E-mail:

  Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc., P.O. Box 2868, Roanoke, VA 24001
  Tel: (540) 345-1184 • Fax: (540) 342-2932 • E-mail:

  Great Lakes
  WSOS Community Action Commission,Inc., P.O. Box 590, 109 S. Front Street, Fremont, OH 43420
   Tel: (419) 334-8911  • Fax: (419) 334-8919 • E-mail:

  Community Resource Group, Inc., 2423 E.  Robinson Ave., Springdale, AR 72764
  Tel: (501) 756-5583 • Fax: (501) 756-1905 • E-mail:

  Midwest Assistance Program, P.O. Box 81, New Prague, MN 56071
  Tel: (952) 758-4334 • Fax (952) 758-4336 •  E-mail:

  Rural  Community Assistance Corporation, 3120 Freeboard Drive, Suite 201, West Sacramento, CA 95691
  Tel: (916) 447-2854 • Fax (916) 447-2878 •  E-mail:

 Technical >
National Environmental Services Center (NESC)

Address:   West Virginia University
           P.O. Box 6064
           Morgantown, WV 26506-6064
Telephone: (304) 293-4191 or (800) 624-8301
Fax:       (304) 293-3161
Web site:
EPA Affiliation: NESC receives funding from Congress, EPA, and BUS. It is made up of four national environmental
programs and one state program.

Mission: NESC's mission is to help small and rural communities prevent pollution and provide a cleaner, healthier
environment to their citizens.
Activities: The five NESC organizations help small communities with drinking water, wastewater, solid waste man-
agement, and training needs.  The organizations with drinking water program activities are as follows:

   •  The National Environmental Training Center for Small Communities (NETCSC) develops and delivers
      drinking water, wastewater, and solid waste training customized for small communities.

   •  The National Drinking Water Clearinghouse (NDWC) assists small communities by collecting, developing,
      and providing timely information relevant to drinking water issues.

      West Virginia Technical Advisory Program (WVTAP) is a collaborative initiative to support economic growth in
      West Virginia with a commitment to clean water and community health.
      NESC coordinates community drinking water and wastewater
      engineering assessments by NESC staff or a cadre of na-
      tional experts. These comprehensive assessments provide
      options and solutions for present and future needs of the

      NESC programs produce four national quarterly publications:
      two water and wastewater magazines, a wastewater newslet-
      ter, and an  environmental training newsletter for a combined
      list of more than 75,000 readers. NESC also offers hundreds
      of free and  low-cost brochures, booklets, books, manuals,
      technical papers, and videos.
Often, systems lacking a safe, reliable water source
must develop alternative sources. Here, an operator
drills a well to access a new water source. NESC
produces several publications, including NDWC's free
newsletter On Tap. On Tap offers articles and tips
focusing on a variety of important source water issues.

Technical >
EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline: (800) 426-4791
**The Hotline can be reached Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM EST
                         EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline is available to help the public, drinking water suppliers,
                         and state and local officials understand the regulations and programs developed in accor-
dance with the SDWA. This includes information about drinking water requirements, source water protection programs,
underground injection control programs, guidance, and public education materials. The Hotline also provides contact
information for resources such as state-certified labs and EPA regional offices.

American  Water Works Association (AWWA)
Address:   6666 W. Quincy Avenue
           Denver, CO 80235
Telephone: (800) 366-0107 (Small  Systems Helpline)
Web site:

AWWA is a  nonprofit organization  dedicated "to the  promotion of public health and welfare in the provision of drinking
water of unquestionable quality and sufficient quantity." It is the  largest organization of water supply professionals in
the world, and its membership includes more than 4,000 utilities that supply water to roughly 180 million people in
North America.  It offers an "online  bookstore," which contains a wealth of resources including archived issues of
Journal AWWA; the  AWWA Small  Utility Network, a  problem solving/information service dedicated to small water
systems (call the toll-free helpline for more information); and frequent technical workshops and conferences.

 Financial >
Drinking Water State  Revolving Fund  (DWSRF)

Address:    U.S. EPA
            Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water
            1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
            Washington, DC 20460
                         Web site:
        For specific state and regional contact information visit
EPA Affiliation: EPA administers this program through capitalization grants to the states.

Mission: The 1996 SDWA Amendments established the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to make
funding available to drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. EPA provides these funds to
states in the form of capitalization grants; states, in turn, provide low-interest loans to drinking water systems.

Activities: States must make funds available to small systems and can establish provisions for disadvantaged com-
munity assistance as  part of their DWSRF programs. Through its disadvantaged assistance program,  a state may
provide additional subsidies such as principal forgiveness, or extend loan repayment periods to up to  30 years. The
DWSRF program also encourages the use of funds for programs that use pollution prevention  to ensure safe drinking

      Several states have developed programs to provide DWSRF loans
      from state set-aside funds for source water protection projects.
      These projects include fencing cattle and other animals from sensi-
      tive areas, restricting public access to critical areas in source water
      protection areas, evaluating agricultural practices and providing
      instruction in best management practices, installing signs at bound-
      aries of zones or protection areas, and building structures to protect
      the source by diverting contaminated runoff.
                                                                         DWSRF funding helps improve the quality of
                                                                         drinking water for small communities such as
                                                                         this Alaska native village where drinking water
                                                                         must be hauled from a community tap.

Financial >
                           Rural Utilities Service (RUS)

                           Address:    Mail Stop [see links to national and state staff below],
                                       Room [see links to national and state staff below]
                                       1400 Independence Avenue, SW
                                       Washington,  D.C. 20250
                           Telephone:  See links to national and state staff below
                           Web site:
         For specific mailing and contact information for the national office visit
         For specific mailing and contact information for state offices visit

EPA Affiliation: Not applicable.

Mission: RUS is the federal agency responsible for providing rural infrastructure assistance in electricity, water, and
telecommunications. As a federal credit agency in the USDA, RUS provides leadership, loans, and technical guidance
to the rural utilities industries. The public-private partnership forged between RUS and these industries results  in
billions of dollars in rural infrastructure development.

Activities:  RUS's Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) provides loans, grants, and loan guarantees for drink-
ing water, sanitary sewer, solid waste, and  storm drainage facilities serving  up to 10,000 persons in rural areas and in
cities and towns. Public bodies, non-profit organizations, and federally recognized Indian tribes may qualify for assis-
tance. WEP also makes grants to nonprofit organizations to assist rural communities with water system technical assis-
tance and training.

      In FY 2001, WEP obligated $1.2 billion in direct loans and grants to fund 968 projects to develop water and
      waste disposal facilities in rural areas.

       BUS provides funding for on-site technical assistance to help ensure cost-effective operation of rural water
      systems.  BUS has assisted rural water systems, via contracting, with day-to-day operational, financial, and
      management problems. The assistance is
      provided at no charge and may be re-
      quested by officials of rural water systems
      or by Bural Development personnel.  It
      complements supervisory assistance pro-
      vided by Bural Development personnel.

      BUS funds are also used to create unique
      partnership opportunities between nonprofit
      water associations and tribal governments.
      Projects such as these help individual
      counties meet pressing needs for high-
      quality drinking water while benefitting low-
      income communities.
                                                RUS works with rural communities and with tribal governments to provide
                                                high-quality drinking water to remote villages such as this one atop a mesa.

 Financial >
  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  Community Development Block Grant Program

   Address:   451 7th Street, SW
              Washington, DC 20410
              For specific contact information visit:
   Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202)708-1455
   Web site:
For specific state contact information visit:
EPA Affiliation: Not applicable.

Mission: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) mission is to provide a decent, safe, and sani-
tary home and suitable living environment for every American. HUD creates opportunities for homeownership; provides
housing assistance for low-income persons; works to create, rehabilitate, and maintain the nation's affordable housing;
enforces the nation's fair housing laws; helps the homeless; spurs economic growth in distressed areas; and helps local
communities meet their development needs.

Activities: HUD provides Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs) to states, which distribute grants to small
towns and rural counties. Since 1975, about $82 billion has been allocated for this purpose. For the past few years,
about $4.2 billion has been available annually. The primary purpose of the CDBG program is to improve communities
by providing decent housing, healthy living conditions, and economic opportunities—all principally for lower-income
people. Projects funded by CDBGs must clear two hurdles. First,  the project must be one the law considers "eligible."
Second, the activity must either benefit lower-income people, or help to prevent or eliminate "slums and blight."

      HUD, through its Community Development Block Grants, provides small rural water systems with the funds neces-
      sary to improve compliance and overall drinking water quality. In the past, systems have used HUD grants to meet
      state and federal regulations by: developing new water sources; improving treatment techniques; constructing
      production wells, backup wells, and pump stations; and replacing distribution system pipes.
                                                         Among the uses of HUD Community Development Block Grants is
                                                         funding the replacement of pipes that distribute drinking water to
                                                         the customers of small rural systems.

 Financial >

       National Office: P.O. Box 5110
                       Denver, CO 80217
       Telephone:     (303) 740-4000 or (800) 542-8072, ext. 4310
       Web site:
For regional contact information visit
EPA Affiliation: Not applicable.

Mission: A leading lender to some of America's most successful busi-
nesses since 1916, CoBank specializes in cooperative, agribusiness,
rural utility, and farm credit association financing. It provides services
through  13 offices throughout the United States. The Bank is owned by
its customers—approximately 2,600  U.S. agricultural cooperatives, rural
communications and energy systems, agricultural credit associations,
and other businesses that serve rural America.
Activities: Currently, CoBank loans money to 100 water and wastewater utilities in the United States. CoBank pro-
vides assistance to water and wastewater systems in unincorporated areas or systems in incorporated towns with
fewer than 20,000 people. Loans can be used for a variety of activities including debt refinancing, new construction,
improvements to an existing system, system acquisitions (assets), water rights purchases, and interim construction
financing.  The minimum loan size is $1 million and the term will normally not exceed 20 years.

      CoBank provides funds to systems in unincorporated areas and systems in
      communities of fewer than 20,000 inhabitants to make improvements in
      water treatment and system components. Using CoBank funding, systems
      have improved water quality with the addition of treatment technologies,
      including lime softening. Systems have also used the funding to make  inter-
      nal system improvements, including the addition of storage towers, control
      systems, hydraulic systems, and new distribution lines to reach more cus-
                                                                             Standpipes such as this one are an
                                                                             example of the types of projects to
                                                                             benefit small drinking water systems
                                                                             that are eligible for CoBank funding.

STEP Guides
EPA is producing a series of Simple Tools for Effective Performance
(STEP) documents for small drinking water systems. The currently
available STEP documents can be obtained from EPA by calling the
Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 and requesting the
document by its publication  number. To check on the availability of STEP
documents listed below as under development, go to

Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Regulation Overview Brochure for Small
This brochure summarizes SDWA regulations that currently exist, are proposed, or are under development, and which
affect or will affect small water systems. The brochure emphasizes how the regulations relate to each other. It explains
the multi-barrier approach to protecting against microbial and chemical risks and how SDWA regulations fit into this
type of framework. The brochure also emphasizes how most small systems can achieve compliance through process
optimization and more efficient system management.  Publication number EPA-816-R-02-004

Small Systems Guide  to the Total Coliform Rule (TCR)

This workbook is designed to help small systems understand the TCR and the mandatory monitoring required under
the rule. The workbook provides  sample worksheets to help systems organize and track TCR monitoring data, and
provides appropriate follow-up actions should monitoring show a positive presence of coliform. Publication number

Arsenic Rule STEP and Small Entity Compliance Guide
This guide is designed to help systems understand and achieve compliance with the Arsenic rule.  The guide provides
sample worksheets to help systems organize data, and provides guidance for small systems on their selection of
appropriate compliance options.  Publication number EPA 816-R-02-008A
Disinfectants/Disinfection By-Products (D/DBP) Rule Workbook
Publication number EPA816-R-02-007A
Strategic Planning Workbook
Publication number EPA 816-R-02-005
Asset Management Workbook
Publication number EPA 816-K-02-006