SE-TAC Projects Enhance Capacity of Small Public Water Systems

Geosystems Research Institute
March 3, 2004

With all their differences, many small public water systems share significant problems in attaining or maintaining compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and corresponding state regulations. The Southeastern Regional Small Public Water Systems Technical Assistance Center (SE-TAC), administered by the GeoResources Institute, is one of eight Technical Assistance Centers (TACs) funded through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to help develop the managerial, financial, and technical capacity of small systems needed to consistently provide safe drinking water.

SE-TAC's goal is to build partnerships and collaborative relationships between universities, USEPA, state primacy agencies, and technical assistance provider organizations in 11 southeastern states by granting seed money for training, technical assistance, and pilot projects that will improve the ability of small systems to meet ever-increasing SDWA requirements.

SE-TAC has funded two types of projects since its establishment in September 2000. A competitive grant program has awarded a total of $760,000 to 21 projects over three funding cycles. An additional $275,000 in 4th cycle awards was made in November. Noncompetitive demonstration projects were funded a total of $158,000 in the first three cycles to encourage university Water Resources Research Institutes to strengthen state-wide partnerships in finding ways to better apply university training, research, and outreach resources to small system issues.

The SE-TAC effort is steered by an advisory board comprised of representatives from state drinking water primacy agencies, state rural water associations, and other technical assistance provider organizations. The advisory board plays a critical role in identifying regional priorities, developing SE-TAC's Request for Proposals, broadly distributing the RFP, and evaluating the proposals based on their day-to-day knowledge of the challenges facing public water systems in our region.

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