Educational Resources for Small Utilities
Disclaimer: The content supplied or identified as a small utility resource is provided as a public service by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) for informational purposes only. The IURC is not responsible for the views, interpretations or recommendations made in any program that was developed by a source other than the Commission, including by Commission staff. The IURC does not endorse any particular product or service discussed herein. Distribution of the information does not constitute acceptance by the IURC. Every possible effort is made to keep the content accurate and current, but the user assumes the risk of verifying any materials used or relied on. Nothing supplied or identified as a Small Utility Resource should be interpreted as legal advice.
The Big Guide for Small Systems: A Resource for Board Members
This is an excellent publication developed by Rural Community Assistance Partnership (“RCAP”) as a comprehensive reference for utility board members and community decision makers. The main section covers water and wastewater treatment basics, regulatory responsibilities, board business, and financial duties and responsibilities. The appendices include sample standard operating procedures, job descriptions, and policy statements, all of which are available below in Microsoft Word files so you can adapt the policies to your utility.
Management Training Manual for Board Members
Mississippi law requires water utility board members to obtain training. This comprehensive publication was developed by the Mississippi State Department of Health for that purpose.
A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems
The RCAP guide explains in simple, everyday language the technical aspects of drinking water utilities from source to tap. The various components and operations involved in small drinking water systems, including source, treatment, and distribution to the customer’s home, are described. A great orientation and background guide for new board members and community decision-makers.
A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Waste Water Systems
This RCAP guide explains in simple, everyday language the various components/operations of small wastewater systems from when the customer flushes the toilet through collection, treatment, and return to source. A great orientation and background guide for new board members and community decision-makers.
Talking To Your Decision Makers: A Best Practices Guide
A short two-page bullet point summary prepared by the EPA.
Water System Owner Roles and Responsibilities: A Best Practices Guide
A short two-page bullet point summary prepared by the EPA.
Record Keeping Rules: A Quick Reference Guide
A four-page bullet point, quick reference guide prepared by the EPA.
Getting Your Project to Flow Smoothly: A Guide to Developing Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
A comprehensive RCAP guide on all the steps a project owner (governing body of a utility) should go through in planning, designing, and constructing infrastructure. The publication provides a detailed how-to on all phases of the process including pitfalls to avoid and a discussion about the roles and responsibilities of the parties in a project: owner, engineer, inspector, contractor, etc. The guide also includes a discussion about securing funding, how to stay organized, and how to maintain control of a project.
Strategic Planning: A Handbook for Small Water Systems
This EPA guide presents basic concepts on strategic planning for small water systems and explains how this process can help improve your technical, managerial, and financial capabilities. It provides background information on the process of strategic planning and a series of worksheets from which you can begin to develop a written strategic plan.
Ten Tips to Help Communities Hire an Engineer
A handy RCAP tool to guide the engineer selection process for projects.
The Basic of Financial Management for Small-Community Utilities
Another excellent publication developed by RCAP, this guide provides an overview of financial management for small utilities from developing a budget to collecting revenues. The guide explains in simple, easy-to-understand terms how to read and interpret financial statements so more informed decisions can be made. This guide also provides sample financial-management policies, which are available in Microsoft Word below, so you can adapt the policies to your utility. You also will find information on financial planning, budgeting, and financial performance.
Financial Management Handbook for Small Community Water Systems
A publication developed by Midwestern Assistance Program, the Midwestern RCAP, this guide provides an overview of financial management for small water utilities from developing a budget to auditing.
Running Your System Like a Good Business
The On Tap magazine is published by the National Environmental Services Center and produces excellent articles too numerous mention but worth the time to read. The six-page article highlighted here is well described by its title. Kemp-Rye, Mark (Summer 2004, Volume 4, Issue 2). “Running Your System Like a Good Business.” On Tap, 18-23.
USDA Rural Utilities Service Borrower’s Guide: A How-to for Water and Wastewater Loans from USDA Rural Development
This guide summarizes the managerial and financial requirements for communities that are receiving U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Services (RUS) loan funds for their water or wastewater utility. It focuses on the requirements for submitting management reports and financial statements and walks borrowers through the steps of completing the forms and submitting the reports and statements. Blank forms also are available at this web link as well as sample forms. (Do not submit sample forms to the USDA.)
IURC Small Utility Accounting Manual
The IURC’s Water/Wastewater Division developed this manual to address common accounting errors and accounting that is unique to utilities; for a more detailed and thorough utility accounting guide, the NARUC Uniform System of Accounts (USoA) is a great reference. The IURC’s Accounting Manual explains how the USoA can be obtained.
Small System Guide: Understanding Utility Financial Statements
This document prepared by Community Resource Group will help you analyze your utility’s financial statements so you are more able to manage your system’s finances.
Asset Management: A Best Practices Guide
A four-page, easy-to-read bulleted description of asset management prepared by the EPA.
Asset Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems
This EPA guide provides information about how asset management can improve your system’s financial health and ability to provide safe drinking water, how asset management fits into the development of an overall plan for your system’s future, and how to complete a five-step asset management process.
A free, easy-to-use, asset management tool developed by the EPA for small drinking water and wastewater utilities. CUPSS will help you develop a record of your assets, a schedule of required tasks, an understanding of your financial situation. and a tailored asset management plan. You will be able to download the free CUPPS Software and Users Guide from this website or obtain information about how to order a CUPSS Kit.
Taking Stock of Your Water System – A Simple Asset Inventory for Very Small Drinking Water Systems
This EPA guide provides information and worksheets that will help you prepare an asset inventory and develop an asset management plan.
Creating a Useful System Manual Documenting Standard Operating Procedures Ensures Continuity
The On Tap magazine is published by the National Environmental Services Center and produces excellent articles too numerous mention but worth the time to read. The four-page article highlighted here is well described by its title. McKenzie, Caigan, (Winter 2010, Volume 9, Issue 4). “Creating a Useful System Manual Documenting Standard Operating Procedures Ensures Continuity.” On Tap, 27-30.
Preventive Maintenance Program - Guide for Small Public Water Systems Using Groundwater
This guide prepared by the Washington State Department of Health provides a narrative of daily, weekly, monthly, and annual O&M tasks, troubleshooting guides organized by system component, and recommended O&M schedules created by organizing the O&M tasks by system component.
Protecting Water Quality by Optimizing the Operation and Maintenance of Distribution Systems
This RCAP publication provides background information on how to maintain water quality in drinking water distribution systems and treated-water storage facilities by concentrating on common problems and challenges and identifying potential improvements and solutions.
Cross-Connection Control: A Best Practices Guide
This EPA guide discusses the importance of controlling cross-connections and preventing backflow occurrences from unprotected cross-connections in the water system.
Sustainable Infrastructure for Small System Public Services: A Planning and Resource Guide
This RCAP guidebook provides information, worksheets, examples, case studies, and resources on water conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy resources for small utilities. This planning and resources guide provides a step-by-step process for utility decision makers, staff, and community members wanting to operate increasingly efficient utilities.
Drinking Water Security for Small Systems Serving 3,300 or Fewer Persons
This EPA guide presents basic information and steps you can take to improve security and emergency preparedness at your water system. It explains why security improvements are important and discusses Vulnerability Assessments and Emergency Response Plans--tools you can use to improve security at your system.
This guide, prepared by the National Rural Water Association, is designed to help small water systems determine possible vulnerable components and identify security measures that should be considered. A “vulnerability assessment” is the identification of weaknesses in water system security, focusing on defined threats that could compromise its ability to provide adequate potable water, and/or water for firefighting.
Using Technical, Managerial, and Financial Capacity to Improve System Security – Suggestions for States
This short, two-page document prepared by the EPA shows that capacity development activities can help systems assess their potential vulnerabilities, take steps to reduce risk of serious consequences from a security breach or other emergency, enhance their resiliency, and otherwise address system security issues.
10 Ways to Prepare for a Drought-Related Water Shortage
A summary from RCAP that lists steps that can be taken for drought preparation.
Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities
With a user-friendly layout, embedded videos, and flood maps as guidance, EPA's Flood Resilience Guide is a one-stop resource to know a flooding threat and identify practical mitigation options to protect critical assets.