Water Quality

One Water Webinar

One of the most exciting paradigm shifts in One Water management is the integration of smaller onsite systems that collect, treat, and reuse water within individual buildings or at the local scale. As an emerging innovation, the success of onsite non-potable water systems depends on strong collaboration between municipal utilities and public health agencies to ensure projects protect public  health and meet water quality standards.

SepticSmart Week

SepticSmart week icon: technician with clipboardSepticSmart Week

NEHA is raising awareness for SepticSmart Week from September 17 - 21, 2018, alongside the U.S. EPA. 

SepticSmart Week is focused on getting homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. If you or your community is trying to find a credible waste water system installer, look no further than the NEHA CIOWTS credential holder list.

Through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), NEHA has worked with various partner groups to develop a national credential to certify installers of onsite wastewater treatment systems. The credential covers all forms of installation and will be offered at both a basic and advanced levels.

NEHA offers extensive information on wastewater and septic systems as well as provides educational resources for those interested in learning more. 

Available Wastewater Resources & Programs

 

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Clone of Private Drinking Water

Glass of water with ice - Private Drinking WaterPrivate Drinking Water Systems

A majority of U.S. residents receive drinking water from federally regulated systems that are equipped with advanced technologies to ensure clean water standards are met under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  However, nearly 15 percent of Americans rely on unregulated drinking water systems (UDWS) that are not protected by the SDWA. UDWS are systems that serve fewer than 25 people or have less than 15 connections. They are typically private wells but also include springs, cisterns, and hauled water systems.

Because the lack of required testing and monitoring, UDWS pose a unique public health challenge. 

NEHA Resources:

New! Private Well Course

NEHA is proud to announce a new, no-cost, online education opportunity!

The Private Well Class is being provided to NEHA at no-charge by the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center at the University of Illinois. The funding for the Private Well Class program comes from the USEPA through a cooperative agreement with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. Originally intended for well owners, this course has proven to be a resource for EH professionals for basic well and groundwater understanding. The class consists of 10 courses that can be taken in sequence or individually and are eligible for one (1) CE each from NEHA.

To take the course, visit , http://nehacert.org/.

 

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Legionella

Introduction

In 2015, there were approximately 6,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported, according to the CDC. Additionally, the rate of legionellosis cases reported quadrupled from 2000 to 2014. Because the disease is often underdiagnosed, this number is most likely an underestimate of the true number of cases. Legionella is bacteria that is naturally-occurring in fresh water aquatic systems and becomes a risk when it enters human-made water and plumbing systems. It thrives in warm water environments and is known to grow in hot tubs, spas, pools, fountains, ice machines, and faucets.

The Legionella bacteria was first discovered in 1976 in Philadelphia during an American Legion Convention. Many participants at the convention became ill with a type of pneumonia, which was later found to be caused by the respiration and inhalation of water droplets containing the Legionella bacteria.

The respiration or inhalation of water droplets or aerosols containing the bacteria can lead to community-acquired pneumonia, or Legionnaires’ disease along with Pontiac Fever which is a milder form of legionellosis that presents flu-like symptoms. There are over 60 species of Legionella, with six different serogroups that can cause disease in humans but most cases of legionellosis are caused by Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1, the pneumonic form of Legionella.

 

Environmental Health Significance

Because Legionella is a recently-emerging environmental health issue, the resources and materials available to address the concerns presented by the bacteria are insufficient. The significant increase in reported legionellosis cases over the last two decades results in a demand for more comprehensive public and environmental health programs to target the risks associated with Legionella. In addition, further education and training for public and environmental health professionals around building water systems and premise plumbing is necessary to develop programs for preventing and mitigating these risks.

NEHA is conducting a nationwide environmental scan of existing Legionella programs in health departments at both the local and state levels. NEHA would like to gain more information about current programs in place, the components of effective programs, and the resources and tools that programs are currently lacking. Ultimately, this information will be used to develop methods for best practices and to design a model Legionella program. A survey has been created to gather more information about Legionella programs. If you are a part of a health department or organization that addresses Legionella or has an interest in developing a program, please take NEHA’s Legionella program survey to aid us in our environmental scan. 

 

CDC Legionnaires' Disease Factsheet

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