IWSH & UA Local Union 68 Team Up for “Safer Water for Nome”
In her four decades of living in Nome, Texas, Rose Anderson has never been able to drink the water that comes straight from her tap.
“I’ve been here about 39, 40 years,” Anderson said, “and we could never drink the water here. Never.”
Anderson is not alone. Water quality problems have long plagued the community of about 500 people. The problems were compounded when Hurricane Harvey damaged and exacerbated the city’s water treatment plant in August 2017 from recent winter storms.
IWSH & UA Plumbers Local Union 68 Collaborate on “Safer Water for Nome”
Inspired by a student leadership initiative at nearby Hardin-Jefferson High School that sought to identify local water quality problems and possible solutions to them, The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) and UA Plumbers Local Union 68 are teaming up to focus on and address those problems. Read also : Handwashing responsible for bacteria in sinks, largest non-hospital study shows.
Thanks to their two-phase project, “Safer Water for Nome,” residents can have certified journeymen plumbers perform water quality risk assessments on their homes for free. IWSH and UA Local 68 will then collaborate on planning and corrective action for affected homes and local public facilities.
The project began in March 2021, with 25 journeymen plumbers – nine of whom were contractors – achieving certification in ASSE 12060/12061: Professional Qualifications Standard for Water Management and Infection Control Risk Assessment for Building Systems. The Houston Area Plumbing Joint Apprenticeship Committee (HAPJAC) organized the training classes with a qualified instructor and each participant took a third-party administered exam from ASSE International.
“By training and certifying our contractors and plumbers in water quality risk assessment programs, our contractors will lead the way in Southern industry,” said Jeremy Pavlich, director of marketing and recruiting at Plumbers Local 68. -option – and help lead the way – so that public, industrial and residential communities have good water quality programs. This will give our area confidence that the plumbing industry is taking proactive measures to improve their quality of life.”
UA Local 68 held a town hall meeting on April 9 to educate residents about the pilot project and give them the opportunity to sign up for the free assessments. Pavlich led a discussion about water quality, infrastructure and programs available to residents.
“We will get feedback from citizens and information from anyone willing to participate in our free water assessment,” he said. “Then we will actively go to them – and come to their homes, their homes, their businesses – and give them a free assessment of their water, how it is, and possibly give a good corrective action on how we can fix this situation. .”
“IWSH is such a valuable part of this coalition because of their influence on an international stage and the attention and resources they can bring to our small community,” Pavlich added.
Training specialist Rich Benkowski and National Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator Laura Ceja, both of the UA Department of Education and Training, contributed to the project planning.
“Behaviours and techniques learned through the ASSE 12000 certification process provide a repeatable and reliable method of risk assessment for all piping systems,” said Ceja. “This project illustrates a commitment of time and money to labor and management to protect a community from unwanted waterborne pathogens. We will also coordinate trade women and other diverse stakeholders and trade workers in the area and provide the expertise needed to address any water quality issues.”
Pavlich, Benkowski and Ceja were joined — virtually and in person — by representatives from IWSH and IAPMO Field Services for the training at HAPJAC.
“Days of Action” brings water quality solutions to the people of Nome
So far, two rounds of assessment have taken place – referred to locally as “Days of Action”. The first round of April 17 consisted of seven homes and was for residents who had registered at the town hall meeting. Read also : U.K. Home Services Market Size and Growth Opportunities with COVID19 Impact Analysis. Nine additional assessments were carried out on 1 May; these were requested after the first round.
Ashley Behn also had an estimate of the water entering her family’s home.
“I hope to find out how safe or unsafe it is,” she said. “We cook a lot; often we use water from the sink, and
I want to know if that’s okay or not.”
She said she would “absolutely” recommend that other Nome residents follow suit.
“I spoke to Jeremy (Pavlich) and he got back to me very quickly, and we agreed a time for an assessment,” she said. “They came in, did what they had to do and walked out. It was easy.”
“It was great to see elected officials and the community come together to hear about the risk assessment program and how we plan to implement it,” said IAPMO Field Services Manager John Mata, who attended the certification process and City Hall meeting. from April 9. “The collaborative work between the City of Nome, UA Plumbers Local 68 and IWSH illustrated the commitment to making Nome’s water safe for its citizens.”
IWSH North American Projects Director Jed Scheuermann oversaw the development of the project.
“Risk assessments and sampling show that Nome’s water situation is complex,” said Scheuermann. “Based on the results of the community’s first day of action, additional testing was conducted at five sites. All partners will continue to work together to make Nome’s water safer.”
Anderson looks forward to the day when tap water will be safe for her family.
“It’s bad enough that we have to cook with it; you have to boil it before you can cook with it, or we use bottled water,” she said.
Nome resident LaDonna Pounders said her home was tested for chemicals, including nitrite, nitrates, lead and arsenic.
“I love it,” Pounders said. “I think it’s really great to know that someone is looking out for communities with their water.”
Follow the IWSH social media channels for updates on the “Safer Water for Nome” (#SaferWater) pilot project. Visit www.plu68.com for more information on UA Plumbers Local Union 68. Visit www.iwsh.org for more information about The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation.