May 2024 O&M Newsletter

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MAY 2024

In this issue:

Cyber Incident Response Guide for the Water and Wastewater Sector.


In January 2024, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in conjunction with the EPA and FBI, published the Cyber Incident Response Guide for the Water and Wastewater Sector.

With contributions from 25+ Water and Wastewater (WWS) Sector organizations spanning private industry, nonprofit, and government this joint guide provides incident response best practices and information on federal resources.

The WWS Sector has been impacted by various cyber events, including unauthorized access, and ransomware. Continued compromises or failures of the WWS Sector could cause cascading impacts across critical infrastructure. The guide outlines how water utility owners and operators can expect to work with federal partners as they prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the impact of a cyber incident.

This guide aims to enhance WWS Sector cybersecurity by:

  1. Establishing clear guidance for reporting cyber incidents,
  2. Connecting utilities with available cybersecurity resources, services, and no-cost trainings,
  3. Empowering utilities to build a strong cybersecurity baseline to improve cyber resilience and cyber hygiene, and
  4. Encouraging utilities to integrate into their local cyber communities.

The guide walks utilities through cyber incident response activities, including preparation, evaluating affected systems and networks for adversary behavior, detection, reporting cyber-attacks, analysis and support, containment, eradication and recovery, and post-incident activities.

The guidance also discusses resources to raise the organization’s cyber baseline and improve cyber hygiene. The guidance can be found at this link:

For more information, visit

MRWA Welcomes New Staff Members.


MRWA is pleased to announce two new members of its team serving water and wastewater professionals throughout the state.

Peter Joslin

Peter Joslin is the Education Director at Maine Rural Water Association. Over the past 18 years, he’s held various Learning and Development roles within the financial industry. He is new to the water industry and is very eager to learn and contribute to the team.

Originally from Haverhill, Massachusetts, Peter recently made the move to Maine, envisioning it as his future retirement destination. He currently resides in Mt. Vernon with his husband Doug, two dogs and two cats. Peter’s interests include painting, cut paper mosaics, reading, gardening, hiking, and enjoying lakeside moments. 


Ken Johnson

Ken is the Apprentice Coordinator for MRWA and brings 15+ years of environmental research experience to the position.  In addition to his work at the University of Maine as lab and field coordinator, he was also faculty at Husson University for 10 years, focusing on health applied and analytical chemistry.  Ken focuses on the apprentice program at MRWA building on its history to provide quality apprentice opportunities throughout the state.

When Ken is not on the road, meeting with apprentices or mentors, or in his office, you can find him in the mountains of Dedham.  He spends his down time hiking with his two beagles, tenting around New England, or up to camp.

CISA Proposes Cybersecurity Incident Reporting for the Water/Wastewater Sector.

On April 4, 2023, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to require critical infrastructure organizations to report cybersecurity incidents, a move intended to provide the federal government with better insight about breaches that affect highly sensitive entities, such as water and power utilities. 

That concern is heightened by recent warnings from U.S. national security officials that China is carrying out increasingly aggressive operations targeting American critical infrastructure.

Under the rules, companies and organizations will have to report incidents less than 72 hours “after the covered entity reasonably believes the covered cyber incident has occurred” and ransomware payments within 24 hours of being made, unless payment is accompanied by an incident, in which case the organization has 72 hours.

Who is Covered by the Rule?

The rule covers critical infrastructure sectors who will be required to report incidents that impact safety or lead to a disruption of services. The 16 critical infrastructure sectors are specified as: Chemical; Commercial Facilities; Communications; Critical Manufacturing; Dams; Defense Industrial Base; Emergency Services; Energy; Financial Services; Food and Agriculture; Government Facilities; Healthcare and Public Health; Information Technology; Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste; Transportation Systems; and Water and Wastewater Systems.

Water and Wastewater Systems are designated by CISA as critical infrastructure because:

  1. Safe drinking water is essential to public health and all human activity, and properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment.
  2. EPA has recently noted that water systems are increasingly facing cyberattacks, and has found that the ‘‘water supply is known to be a target for malign actors.
  3. Other critical services, such as fire protection, healthcare, and heating and cooling, are dependent on, and would be disrupted by, the interruption or cessation of drinking water services. This criticality to other sectors is reinforced by water having been designated one of four designated lifeline functions, indicating that the sector’s reliable operation is so critical that a disruption or loss of this function will directly affect the security and resilience of critical infrastructure within and across numerous sectors.

Does this New Reporting Requirement Cover all Systems?

No. The reporting requirement only applies to “any entity that owns or operates a Community Water System…or a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs)... that serves more than 3,300 people.”

How Would I Report an Incident?

The Rule would require covered entities who have experienced defined cyber incidents to complete a report through the web based CIRCIA Incident Reporting Form available on CISA's website.

What is a Reportable Cybersecurity Incident?

CISA defines reportable cybersecurity incidents as: attempts to gain unauthorized access to a system or its data, unwanted disruption or denial of service, or abuse or misuse of a system or data in violation of policy.

How do I find more information on the proposed rule?

Information on the proposed rule can be found at this link: []

How Do I Comment on the Proposed Rule?

This draft regulation is open for public comment for 60 days from the publication of the draft rule in the Federal Register (until June 3, 2024). Comments may be submitted at the link above.

For more information about Cybersecurity the Water/wastewater Sector, including Resources & Tools, visit

Certification and Training Update.

Bangor Testing Site Opened Tuesday and Thursdays

The Bangor - Northeast Technical Institute (NTI) test center has re-opened. They are available for testing on Tuesdays and Thursdays only.

Other locations where operators can take the wastewater exam include Auburn, Farmington, Portland, Presque Isle, South Portland, and Portsmouth, NH.

Questions? Contact Spring Connolly, for more information.

Save the Date for the Return of Lagoon Day!

After a long hiatus, MRWA is pleased to announce the return of Lagoon Day 2024! This year’s event will be held on May 30 in Caribou in coordination with the Caribou and Fort Fairfield Utility Districts.

This is an all-day event with four sessions, including a tour, and a provided lunch. As the program solidifies, MRWA will update the event page on their website, which is linked below.

Registration is opening soon! For questions about registration, please contact the MRWA Training Department at (207) 737-4092 or email

JETCC Offers In-Person Training:

Intro to Point Repairs in the Field May 1, 2024 in Brunswick

This training will help attendees learn how to install their own point repairs. Topics include: · An introduction to point repair technique and materials · Review of equipment and trailer setup used by local wastewater utilities to install their own point repairs · Demonstration of installation of a point repair in a controlled environment · Installation of a point repair in the field, including site preparation, division of tasks among staff, pipe inspection, and repair installation.

For more information go to or call 207-253-8020.

Submersible Pumps with Tear Down & Assembly - May 14, 2024 at the York Sewer District

This class will provide a comprehensive look into the world of submersible pumps, the history of their evolution and what the future has in store. The class will focus will be on the principles of operation and maintenance of submersible pumps. The afternoon will feature the teardown and reassembly of Flygt brand pumps to demonstrate proper procedures. Students will have the opportunity to participate during the afternoon demonstration. Limited space is available, so register soon by visiting or call 207-253-8020.

Free FOG Training Available in Saco, Maine

You are invited to participate in eight hours of free training focused on fats, oils, and grease (FOG) in the wastewater conveyance and treatment system. It is offered by the Western States Alliance (WSA), a project of PPRC and is funded by an EPA grant.  

The Maine session will be held at 15 Phillips Spring Rd, Saco, ME 04072, on May 22, 2024, from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM CST. Participants will receive 8 wastewater TCHs.  

The session will cover:

  • What Does FOG Cost and Why Do We Care?
  • Operations & Maintenance Cost, Staff Cost, and Data Acquisition & Management.  
  • Program Development: Stakeholders, Legal Authority, planning to build the program.  
  • Pretreatment, Grease Removal Devices, Inspections, and Preferred Pumper Program.  
  • Contaminants of Emerging Concern – PFAS, Phthalates, and Endocrine Disruptors. 

To register, go directly to: Register Now. If you have any questions, please contact Jean Waters at 402.250.0999 or  

For more information regarding classes and schedules, as well as a comprehensive selection of tools developed by WSA staff and others, please go to FOG Training for class registration opportunities, or the National Resource Reference Guide for tools and tips.     

NEIWPCC Offers Management May Training Series

NEIWPCC is offering a Management May training series for operators, technicians, supervisors, and managers at all levels. The series is sponsored by NEIWPCC in conjunction with the EPA. This training can act as a refresher for managers and leaders while also acting as a great introduction for future leaders in the wastewater industry.

All sessions are 3 hours in length and taught by Bill Patenaude, who worked for many years with the RI DEM. The training sessions are accepted for Management TCHs for wastewater CEUs. The 3 sessions are described below.

Introduction to Management and Leadership - May 1, 2024. The course examines the different elements and overlap of both managing a team and leading it. Often used interchangeably, these terms describe different skillsets with different aims, even as they are employed within all levels of an organization.

Team Building in the Water Industry - May 8, 2024. Building a strong team of operators, engineers, technicians, and managers is essential for the smooth operation of your facility. This training examines group dynamics throughout and with all organizational functions. We will also discuss task-oriented teams deployed for short-term or ongoing purposes.

Basic Communications: Tips for Water and Wastewater Professionals – May 22, 2024. For much of their existence, wastewater utilities have made a massive effort to operate in plain sight, drawing as little attention as possible. Today, however, the landscape has changed. The public is more engaged than ever in what is happening at their local utility, and it is important for wastewater professionals to know how to communicate with them clearly.

Continuity of Operations: How to Manage Growing Challenges – May 29, 2024. With growing threats from cybercriminals, climate change, labor shortages, and other challenges, wastewater professionals have to expand their toolkits to ensure that their workplace does not fall victim to new challenges. Rather than examining these threats individually, this training will act as a practice session to build plans to respond to and recover from these threats.

For more information, visit

NEWEA Spring Meeting & Exhibit

Join NEWEA for the Spring Meeting & Exhibit on May 19-22 at the Viking Hotel in Newport, RI. This annual three-day technical meeting is a place where water quality professionals in the wastewater industry can network with colleagues, see the latest technologies from exhibitors and learn the latest trends in technical sessions, and earn Training Contact Hours (TCHs).

NEWEA expects about 300 engineers, consultants, scientists, operators, and students to attend the technical sessions, exhibit displays, networking opportunities, Operations Challenge and more.

For more information, go to

Monthly Training Calendar and Training/Certification Resources.

The monthly training calendar, which lists training by not-for-profit organizations, is emailed to certified operators each month. It can be found at the DEP’s certification website under the Additional Materials section.

The NEIWPCC/JETCC website, provides information on signing up for an exam, training classes, and certification renewal.  Contact Spring Conolly at or call 207-253-8020 for more information.

Triennial Review of Maine's Water Quality Standards.


Maine's water quality standards designate appropriate uses for waterbodies, such as recreation or fishing, and specify which criteria and antidegradation measures are in place to protect those uses.

The federal Clean Water Act §303(c)(1); 40 CFR Part 131.20 requires that states hold public hearings at least every three years (triennially) for the purpose of reviewing water quality standards and, as appropriate, modifying and developing standards. Maine Statute contains similar language in 38 M.R.S.§464.3.B. This process is known as the Triennial Review.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) is now embarking on a Triennial Review, which is expected to extend into 2026 for any required legislation. You are invited to submit proposals to the Department for changes to existing water quality standards, including the water quality classification of specific surface waters. Proposals for new standards may also be submitted. 

Proposals are due by the close of business on Thursday, June 27, 2024, and should be submitted to

To learn more about the Triennial Review, including how you can submit information to be considered, please use the following link to the Department’s web page dedicated to the triennial review.

Questions? Contact Susanne Meidel, 207-441-3612.

Maine Rural Water Association – Apprentice Program - April 2024.

Maine Rural Water Association’s (MRWA) Apprentice program is nationally recognized and focuses on preparing beginning professionals and newly graduated students for careers in the water and wastewater treatment industry.  Our curriculum consists of classroom and online instruction, to prepare the apprentices with technological knowledge, and on-the-job training (OJT) to enable them to apply that knowledge on site.  The apprentice is paired with a resident mentor from their utility to provide the leadership and support necessary for their success and growth in their careers.

The coursework is delivered in a hybrid format through a combination of self-study and online personalized instruction, which offers the apprentices the freedom necessary to work full-time while completing the course requirements.  The OJT is delivered at the apprentice’s home utility in collaboration with their mentor, who supervises the training while providing instruction and feedback.

In addition to formalized classroom learning and OJT, apprentices are encouraged to join training through MRWA gaining experience in training areas that may not be available in their home districts or are needed before OJT is appropriate.  One example would be confined space training, which is provided in collaboration with E.J. Prescott of Gardiner, Maine.  These training opportunities prepare the apprentice with the knowledge before they need it.

We also team up with utilities throughout the state to help the apprentices gain experience with treatment systems they do not have regular contact or experience with.  We just led an educational tour with professionals at the Brewer Water District’s treatment plant at Hatcase Pond in Eddington.  The apprentices followed the plant manager through all the systems and processes from intake pump operation to finished water storage, while learning about UV/ozone disinfection techniques and technology, which none of them utilize in their own plants, a new experience for all.

MRWA’s apprentice program provides the mentorship and direction necessary to help the apprentices grow their base knowledge and skills while preparing them for certification in water and wastewater treatment.  Our program also helps to prepare the apprentices for the ultimate goal of acquiring their license at the end of the program and beginning a fulfilling career in the utility industry.

For more information, contact Ken Johnson, Apprentice Coordinator, (207) 530-4405,

Analytical Methods for PFAS: Method 1633 and Method 1621.

by Justin Pimpare, USEPA New England

The EPA has published two final analytical methods for PFAS: Method 1633 and Method 1621, fulfilling a commitment in its October 2021 PFAS Strategic Roadmap. These analytical methods will be used by laboratories to test samples for PFAS in a consistent and reliable way.

The agency collaborated closely with the Department of Defense to validate Method 1633, which measures 40 PFAS compounds and is suitable for use in various applications, including compliance monitoring. Method 1621 measures adsorbable organic fluorine in wastewater, a surrogate for measuring the total amount of PFAS, which will also help detect fluorine-containing pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

These methods are a significant step forward in efforts to identify what PFAS are present in environmental samples, and at what levels, enabling EPA, states and Tribes, wastewater facilities, and other entities to monitor a range of different effluents and media for PFAS, including under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program.

Before the publication of these methods, communities, NPDES permit authorities, and facilities relied on methods that were less rigorously tested, provided less consistency, and were not as widely available. With this action, EPA is providing methods for analyzing PFAS that have been tested in a variety of wastewaters. Method 1633 measures PFAS compounds in other matrices, too, including: surface water, ground water, biosolids, sediment, landfill leachate, soil, and fish tissue.

Both methods were developed in accordance with the required quality assurance and control procedures specified for EPA Clean Water Act methods in the Code of Federal Regulations. EPA encourages laboratories, regulatory authorities, and other interested parties to review and use these methods, and EPA recommends their use now in NPDES permits.

As a next step, EPA expects to propose both methods for adoption in the Code of Federal Regulations, a necessary step for them to be nationally required for Clean Water Act use. That formal promulgation process will include public comment.

Both methods and their multi-laboratory validation study reports are available on the Agency’s Clean Water Act Laboratory Methods website,

DMR-QA- 2024 Preview.

As of the writing of this article Maine DEP has not received an update from EPA on the schedule for the 2024 DMR-QA program.  Based on previous years, we expect the opening date to be in early to mid-May.  

All facilities enrolled in the DMR-QA program will receive an email from EPA announcing the opening of the study, along with an announcement letter. Please review the letter carefully as it contains important forms that must be filled out along with due dates for results. Be sure to check your email spam folder periodically as the announcement email from EPA may end up there.

If your facility is enrolled in the DMR-QA program and does not receive the announcement letter by the end of May, contact the Maine DEP NetDMR coordinator to get a copy of the announcement letter. You can also go to the EPA website, to download the letter when available.

You do not need to wait until you receive the letter to order your DMR-QA supplies and begin analysis of the samples. Make sure that you choose DMR-QA and/or Water Pollution (WP) studies that are valid during the DMR-QA study period, typically January 1st through July or August, actual dates will be listed in the EPA announcement letter.

If you have any questions or need to update your contact information, please contact Brett Goodrich at or call (207) 450-5590.

For Practice.

1. The term pathogenic means –

a. Aerobic bacteria
b. Anaerobic bacteria
c. Fecal forming
d. Disease causing

2. The horizontal distance between pressure water mains and sewer must be a minimum of _____ feet?

a. 1 foot
b. 5 feet
c. 10 feet
d. 15 feet

3. An important step in testing a sample for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) is –

a. Settling the sample
b. Filtering the sample
c. Incubating the sample
d. Burning the sample

4. The Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) of a sample is based on –

a. pH readings
b. Measuring Total Suspended Solids (TSS) of a sample
c. Measuring the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) used
d. Measuring the anaerobic decomposition
e. Measuring total detention time

5. The results of a Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) sample taken at a treatment plant tells the operator –

a. How the plant is currently operating
b. How the plant was operating 5 days ago
c. How will operate 5 days in the future
d. The number of aerators to put online

6. Which of the following dangerous gas is likely to be present in lift stations and/or manholes?

a. Nitrogen
b. Hydrogen sulfide
c. Methanine
d. Gaseous chlorine

7. A preferred hydraulic method of cleaning sewer lines is –

a. Cable & Auger
b. Continuous Roding Machine
c. Hydro Jet Cleaner
d. Bucket & Belt Press

8. You need to have a chlorine dosage of 2.0 mg/L at the head end of your chlorine contact tank. How many pounds of chlorine do you need each day if the contact time is 15 minutes and the flow is 875,000 gpd?

a. 1.74
b. 3.65
c. 14.6
d. 58.4


1. (d.) Disease causing

2. (c.) 10 feet

3. (b.) Filtering the sample

4. (c.) Measuring the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) used

5. (b.) How the plant was operating 5 days ago

6. (b.) Hydrogen sulfide

7. (c.) Hydro Jet Cleaner

8. (c.) 14.6

Use the pounds formula: Concentration, mg/L X Flow, MGD X 8.34

2 mg/L X 0.875 MGD X 8.34 = 14.6 pounds per day