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President's Message (C Factor)

Willing and Able
By Mike Darrow
Posted on 2/2/2018 5:57 AM
The logo of FWPCOA is “Willing Water and Able Sewage” and it was adopted many years ago by our association. It shows water and wastewater figures together with a map of Florida on a shield-style background.

I’ve done a little detective work to find out about its origin and it’s unclear what year the logo was designed and by whom. Willing Water was a character developed in the 1940s to promote the water supply industry by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). One of the most popular uses of Willing Water was on the ubiquitous "Water at Your Service" logo from the 60’s and 70’s. It was used all over the United States by various water utilities, so thanks to AWWA for letting us use Drinking Water Willie! In the 1980s, AWWA quietly discontinued his use and decided to let the copyright lapse as well. That means that water utilities are free to use him as they see fit.

Able Sewage was developed in-house at FWPCOA, but there’s not much else I could find on it. Some members of the association have informed me that Ready Sewage was a possible name, but at the time Willing and Able were names that projected strength through service, so this was the choice that was made. Some others have told me that the logo was fashioned after Pokey and Gumby, the popular green-clay figure and his dopey horse from the 50’s and 60’s. In the television show, Pokey and Gumby worked together to solve different predicaments in various environments. I remember fondly watching them when I was a youth, which is probably why I really like the logo! It shows Willing shaking Able’s hand; it maybe a cross connection, but I still enjoy the characters. Still, I’ve heard some ask: Should drinking water really be touching wastewater? Is that a good idea? Well, according to most of our members, is shows teamwork! 

In some representations of the logo there appears a black devise between the two characters that perhaps is a backflow prevention device or neoprene sampling gloves. No one really knows, at least to those that I’ve talked too. In any case, one thing is clear to me: it shows cooperation of water and wastewater professionals working together to achieve goals at their utility and in the environment, and teamwork is where it’s at! 

If you have any further information on our logo, and Willing and Able, please email me at

Now with that said, I have seen disregard for this cooperation at various utility departments or at training classes where there is some sort of friction between the two areas of the industry. Some of this talk is done in humor, but when it’s real, or is bad gossip, it does not do any good for the utility, employees, or customers. Some vendors have also commented on this poor behavior as well. “How come the water department can’t work with the wastewater department?” is usually the question.

Our logo is relevant to the call of cooperation. Organizations could (and do) fall into this mindset, when the departments for water and wastewater do not work directly together in the complex, facility, or during some of the shifts, and see the importance of each role. Remember, we are doing the same functions, just at different ends of the cycle. We need all employees to do their tasks to accomplish the mission of continued operation and service to our customers, whether it be water reclamation, potable drinking water, stormwater, utility maintenance, customer service, industrial pretreatment, collection systems, or water distribution conveyances. Do your best to cooperate in the spirit of the logo, the spirit of teamwork! Our logo of Willing and Able encourages this togetherness for the good of our environment on our industry.  

So, I encourage you to work alongside your brothers and sisters to be professional operators and technicians to accomplish this goal. We’re not two separate entities, but one family working together with a common item that everyone needs: water.

As you all know, Florida is facing challenges for the future of source water. Reclaimed water and the search for new source water is a big issue today. Again, our shield logo with Willing and Able is relevant to our coming together to form the water cycle and one water concept of reuse! Yes, reuse is the current and future source water for sustainability, growth, and expansion options for communities when cheaper water sources are gone. The association is looking at reuse training options, operations, and licensing requirements. Most of us see that dual-certified operators are more likely positioned for this advanced treatment where wastewater is treated to potable water standards and either directly used or injected in an aquifer for use for potable needs.

Remember, working together achieves more. We’re not wastewater versus drinking water—we’re all one unit working together for water. So here’s to teamwork! 

Thanks to the input of our members who helped with this research. We could not do it without you!

A Regulatory Update 

I want to remind water utilities across our wonderful state that the next set of unregulated contaminants is due to start sampling in 2018 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act amendments require that once every five years EPA issue a new list of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems (PWS).

The fourth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 4) was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 20, 2016. The UCMR 4 requires monitoring for 30 chemical contaminants between 2018 and 2020 using analytical methods developed by EPA and consensus organizations. This monitoring provides a basis for future regulatory actions to protect public health.

The PWS will monitor for 10 List 1 cyanotoxins during a four-consecutive-month period from March 2018 through November 2020. The PWS will monitor for 20 List 1 additional contaminants during a 12-month period from January 2018 through December 2020.  This information is collected in EPA’s central data exchange and is used for new or possible maximum contaminant levels and regulations.

By now, PWS serving more than 10,000 people are required to report contact information to EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Accession and Review System (SDWARS) website and PWS serving more than 10,000 people are required to review, and if necessary, revise sampling location information and monitoring schedule in SDWARS. 

For PWS under 10,000 people, EPA has contacted 800 utilities across the U.S. to coordinate water sampling with them. Hopefully your organization is on track with these requirements. As a side note, don’t forget to contact contract laboratories for price quotes, so you can get your laboratory budget request funding in accordingly. 

 Happy sampling, and here’s to another successful compliance year for your organization.