Water Online

November 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

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Lessons Learned With firsthand experience of how flooding can be detrimental to water supplies and confidence that the threat only stands to get stronger, Mattapoisett has taken some direct action to better prepare itself in the future. "The town has been actively working to make sure its drinking water and community are resilient," the EPA spokesperson said. "It has procedures prior to storms to stop drinking water production wells from pumping to reduce the likelihood of salt water intrusion into the aquifer. In addition, certain parts of the community's drinking water distribution system are shut off two to four hours before a storm." Town managers are also aware that hazardous materials can be leaked into groundwater due to extreme weather events. There are concerns about how fuel and gas tanks that aren't properly secured might pollute drinking water supplies. Mattapoisett's best practices for mitigating these threats have been documented in an informational video (available online) to better serve other communities that can benefit. "One of the outcomes from this project is a video about preparedness," the spokesperson said. "This informational video, created by the town's cable station, features town officials explaining how to prepare for extreme weather." 4 Best Practices The decades of climate stress and extensive collaborative work with the EPA have been boiled down to a list of best practices that, if applied appropriately, can make a world of difference for water systems that might not be as prepared as Mattapoisett's. 1. Work smarter, not harder: When you begin a flooding preparedness project, conduct an assessment to identify local priorities and champions. 2. Solicit buy-in: It's critical to have town leaders' support. They can bring in the right people and make projects happen. 3. Utilize your community's strengths: Piggyback on community resources like the cable television station, the library, schools, and city council. 4. Share success: Communicate results in various ways to get the word out to the community. By developing these best practices, collaboration between the EPA and Mattapoisett has created benefit beyond what was reaped by either entity. While Mattapoisett bolstered its resiliency and the EPA helped mitigate fallout from the coastal community's next great storm, communities all over the country and world now have a project to point to for confidence that flooding can be protected against, as well as actionable steps to take for themselves. Altogether, it makes a small town seem much bigger. n wateronline.com n Water Innovations 11 RESILIENCY Mattapoisett, MA The decades of climate stress and extensive collaborative work with the EPA have been boiled down to a list of best practices that, if applied appropriately, can make a world of difference for water systems. Peter Chawaga is the associate editor for Water Online. He creates and manages engaging and relevant content on a variety of water and wastewater industry topics. Chawaga has worked as a reporter and editor in newsrooms throughout the country and holds a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in journalism. He can be reached at pchawaga@wateronline.com. About The Author

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