September - 2017
The Source for ND Rural Water News
ND Rural Water Holds Strategic Planning Retreat
Leaders from the NDRWSA gathered at Lake Metigoshe on July 27 to update the Association’s Strategic Plan & Goals. The specific purpose of this activity was to establish broad goals and objectives to guide association activities for a five-year period. This plan is dynamic and should be reviewed and/or revised annually. Scott Fry from the Consensus Council, Inc. facilitated the planning meeting. Special thanks go out to AE2S, the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District and Wold Engineering for helping defray some of the meeting expenses. Thank you for your support of NDRWSA!
NDRWSA’s Current Vision is: None
NDRWSA’s Current Mission is: To educate, support, and lead its members in providing quality service to their customers.
NDRWSA's Current Goals:
  • Member Services: To enrich and meet our member's needs.
  • Financial Stability: To diversify and strengthen the stability of the association's finances.
  • Legislative and Regulatory: To provide a unified voice at the state and national levels.
  • Public Relations: To improve and promote the image of the association and its member systems.
  • Operation and Governance: To enhance the capabilities of the association.
  • Education: To educate water and wastewater systems in supplying North Dakotans with the highest quality water and services at the lowest cost.
The revised Vision, Mission and Goals of the NDRWSA will be finalized at the Annual Meeting on December 6, 2017 in Bismarck. Contact Eric Volk, Executive Director, with any questions.
The NDRWSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, independent corporation governed by an elected board of directors. The association was formed on July 9, 1974, to coordinate rural water system programs on a statewide basis. The NDRWSA exists to enhance the quality of life in small communities and in rural areas by providing training and technical, managerial & financial assistance to North Dakota water and wastewater utilities.
Don't Miss The Excitement
  The 32nd Annual Water Expo will be held February 13-15, 2018 in Fargo, ND
Burgum appoints seven members to State Water Commission
BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today appointed seven members to the State Water Commission, bringing a broad variety of experience in flood protection, water supply and other water issues to the board.

The nine-member State Water Commission consists of Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring as an ex-officio member, and seven members appointed by the governor, with one member each from the seven major drainage basins in North Dakota.

“Water is a critical component of everything we do in North Dakota, from daily life and recreation to business, agriculture and industry. These commissioners possess the backgrounds and breadth of expertise to manage and develop our water resources in a way that improves the quality of life and strengthens the economy for the benefit of all North Dakotans,” Burgum said.

Schedule your service today!
Sewer Camera Service
Sewer systems are susceptible to deterioration, blockage, and possible collapses. To help detect potential problems, we utilize a state of the art camera to provide a video of what is inside the sewer lines. 
Smoke Testing Service
Smoke testing is a cost-effective way to locate defects in the main sewer line and the service lateral that connects to a resident. Harmless, artificially produced smoke is introduced into the sewer system to detect where the defects may be occurring.
Gate Valve Exercising
It is critical to exercise gate valves on a routine basis. With the use of our electric valve exercisers, valve exercising has never been easier. They deliver the performance you need for routine maintenance, as well as for operating stubborn, hard-to-turn valves 
  A nominal maintenance fee is assessed for each one of these services. 
Contact our office today for more details!
 Operator Certification Review
Answer - C

Hydrants: On a standard fire hydrant, how many openings are there, and what are the sizes of those openings?

A. Two - 2" and One- 4"
B. .Two 4.5 "and One 2"
C. Two 2.5" and One 4.5"

Check you Answer below the Staff Spotlight Section

Cyber Security Awareness
Utilities and organizations can face significant financial loss and damaged consumer confidence when a cyber attack occurs. All employees must be proactive about cybersecurity to keep an organization secure. Use free Department of Homeland Security resources to discuss safe online habits in your office.

 National Rural Water Systems and ND Rural Water Systems have partnered to provide cyber security insurance. This exclusive program offers a unique insurance, loss control and risk mitigation service that notifies and protects the customers of utilities that have suffered a data breach. Contact NDRWSA to learn more.  Continue Reading
Upcoming Events and Training
September 18-20:  National Water Pro Conference , Reno, NV
February 6-8: Rural Water Rally , Washington DC
February 13-15: NDRWSA EXPO , Fargo, ND
Rate Setting Training

September 13: Park River, ND
September 14: Mapleton, ND

Operator Certification Review Sessions

NDRWSA will be holding two Review Sessions prior to the Operator Certification Examinations in October the during the Pollution and Control Conference. This is a fantastic opportunity to refresh your math skills, prepare for the Operator Certification Exams, and earn CEUs

October 11: Lincoln, ND
 October 12: Mapleton, ND 
 Farewell to Rodney Stroh, PhD
Rod Stroh has been a dedicated employee of North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association for 17 years. Rod has been very active in the Water Education Festivals in Bismarck and Dickinson. 
After high school I attended Valley City State College for a year.  I did some running on VCSC’s cross country and track teams. I took a break from education and helped the folks/neighbors with farm work, served in the ND Army National Guard Unit in Lisbon as a SP5 Cook, and set out a trap line during the fall months. In the late 70s I went back to college as an older than average student. I earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees at North Dakota State University in Fargo. I spent the summer of 1980 camping in Alaska. While attending NDSU I met Marci, who (she may have a different view) still loves me despite my shortcomings. We enjoy going for walks, taking in movies, reading books, and gardening in our leisure time. 

My job history includes the positions of NDSU Extension Horticulturist (Master Gardener Program Instructor), NDSU Research Assistant (Native Woodland Research), and Fargo Tree Inspector (Tree Health Inspections). 

In 1999, I began employment with ND Rural Water Systems Association. My work with the Association was comprised of assisting small rural water systems throughout the state provide a domestic water supply that is palatable, reliable, and safe. This was accomplished through developing planning documents for water systems on the topics of ground and surface water protection, water system vulnerability assessments, emergency response plans, water conservation plans, and drought management plans. Fellow staff are like family to me and I have developed friendships with water system personnel across the state. I often share with people that my job was enjoyable in that I got a mixture of both traveling across the state with getting to stay at home to do office work I have been challenged with Parkinson’s since 1997. It is a progressive affliction presenting me with increasing limitations, but I am still able to work. Marci and I took in some sightseeing during water conferences in other states. I am now retired and looking forward to a new adventure. 
Rodney K. Stroh, Ph.D.
Telephone: 701-220-2232
Staff Spotlight  
NDRWSA would like to help our members get to know our staff. This quarter we are featuring our Western Circuit Rider - Ward Heidbreder. Ward travels thousands of miles a year assisting water systems with technical issues - including hydrant repairs, communicating with city councils, and numerous other things that water operators face on a daily basis. 

What is your professional background?
Marine Corp, oil exploration, construction, human services, law enforcement, wastewater technician, municipal services.

How many years have you been in the water/wastewater industry? 
12 years with a septic and sewer jetting company, maintaining onsite wastewater systems and municipal/industrial wastewater systems. 9 years with the City of Stanley as water and wastewater operator and city coordinator. 3.5 years as circuit rider.

How long have you been with ND Rural Water? 
3.5 years, started in June, 2013.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
I would have to say the people. From the dedicated water system operators, system support staff, boards and city councils, they all show a level of dedication to their consumers, that I believe is unequaled by any other industry. I must include in this category, my co-workers at NDRWSA. The level of professionalism and loyalty to our members is a constant reminder to strive to have the same work ethic and performance goals as they do.

What are your hobbies? 
Spending time with family, camping, fishing, reading(my wife says I read too much), metalworking.

  Operator Certification Answer: C - Two 2.5" and one 4.5" openings  

Need More review? Operator certification training sessions will be available this fall! 
Be Prepared to Take Action in an Emergency
Tools to Help Prepare Your Utility

Water utilities face many threats—and in North Dakota, the natural disasters alone include flooding, severe winter storms, tornados and drought. By knowing what resources are
available and preparing in advance you can place your utility in a better position for any emergencies that come along. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has developed resources to help you prepare for emergencies and mitigate the potential for future damages. In the following paragraphs, I will introduce you to three tools that can help your utility become more resilient.
The U.S. EPA’s Route to Resilience Tool is an ideal first step for learning how to become more resilient to all hazards and identifying the resources that can help prepare your utility for emergencies. This tool walks users through five major areas: Assess, Plan, Train, Respond and Recover. In each of these areas, the tool offers videos that illustrate what it means to achieve basic and advanced levels of resilience. After answering a few questions about your utility’s capabilities and needs, you will receive a customized list of resources that will help your utility prepare for, respond to, and recover from an emergency. Download the tool to start building resilience today:
When your utility is facing an emergency, you can use the U.S. EPA’s Response On-The-Go Mobile Application to respond in real time and while on the go. Using this interactive tool, you can track severe weather, contact response partners, identify actions to take, and inform incident command, all from your mobile phone. For example, if your service area is experiencing extreme cold and winter storms, you can use the App to follow a preloaded incident action checklist, find regularly updated contact information for response partners, and track the storm via the Storm Prediction Center. Download this free tool from your favorite App store or check it out online at
The Hazard Mitigation Guide for Natural Disasters: A Starter Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities is designed to help utilities use their local communities’ hazard mitigation process to identify and complete hazard mitigation projects. Mitigating against the impacts of disasters is always less expensive than rebuilding from scratch after the event occurs. The guide includes useful links to additional resources, such as Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities and the Incident Action Checklist for Flooding . In addition, the guide provides examples of mitigation projects for flooding, tornados and other hazards that North Dakota water utilities might face. The guide also includes information on funding sources. By integrating your mitigation planning into the local community plan, you may be eligible for federal grants or loans. Download the guide at r to start identifying hazard mitigation projects today"
With the help of these tools, you can ensure your utility provides safe and reliable services to customers during emergencies. Visit to access these free preparedness tools – and more – from the U.S. EPA.

By Khin Cho Thaung, U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Courtney Ferraro and Mariya Ho Owens, CADMUS Group
Eric Volk - Executive Director
Lisa Schatz - Finance Manager
Kathy Berg - Admin. Assistant
Chuck Mischel - Op Cert Program
Jeremy Sheeley - Circuit Rider-East
Ward Heidbreder - Circuit Rider-West
Les Sigette - Wastewater Tech
Bailey Elkins - Source Water Specialist
Board Members
President - Jon Nelson
Vice President - Jack Hancock
Secretary - LaVonne Althoff
Treasurer - Joe LaFave
National Director - Michele Schommer
Managers' Representative - Larry Kassian
Past President - Keith Nilson
Director at Large - John Bearman

North Dakota Rural Water Systems Association
 701-258-9249 |