water flowing from faucet to glassWhere: Fallon, Nevada

Problem: A small water system required residents to purchase and maintain point-of-use filters in their households but had no process set up to track and verify compliance. The system risked failing to comply with the state regulatory agency.

Solution: RCAC partnered with the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP) to create systems to bring the system back into compliance

In the American Southwest high desert regions, naturally occurring minerals like arsenic and uranium often contaminate groundwater. The small community of Old River lies just outside Fallon. The community has approximately 150 connections and its own municipal water system. The town’s small size precludes it from constructing a treatment plant, which can cost millions of dollars. Instead, residents must install and maintain point-of-use (POU) filters on their taps. These filters require periodic maintenance, such as replacing filters. Unfortunately, the city had no processes in place to ensure that this maintenance was conducted. The relatively high cost to homeowners to update these filters also deterred residents from complying.

NDEP contacted Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) to help the community develop systems to verify that community residents had and regularly maintained their POU filters. A rural development specialist worked remotely (due to COVID-19) with the Old River water operator and board members to write a standard operating procedure that included electronic logs and contact information gathered from the community. RCAC also wrote a memorandum of understanding so city officials could legally enter households to place and maintain the filters on private property.

Old River adopted the new procedures and is working to comply with NDEP rules.