Drinking Water | 3 MIN READ

Pembroke Township Public Water System Training and Assistance for Drinking Water Operators

April 30, 2024 By Anthony Brown, RCAP Operator, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP)

Pembroke Township Public Water System is an unincorporated Community Water System in the town of Hopkins Park, IL, in rural Kankakee County. It is a small water system that provides potable water to 287 customers outside of the village, to allow them the same benefit of safe drinking water as their village neighbors enjoy. The community is a rural residential area surrounded by small farms and ranches and is comprised of a mostly lower income minority population with many elderly residents.

Screenshot 2024 04 29 at 23318 PM

In October 2023, Pembroke Township Public Water System (PWS) requested assistance from the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP)   to address the need to install a new water service line. Due to a difficult job market, personnel on hand with the necessary experience were few, and those who were there lacked experience in performing these functions, as more experienced workers had moved on, creating a void. GLCAP was happy to assist in this educational opportunity.

After evaluation of available equipment in early October 2023, a plan was developed to acquire missing equipment and consumable items required to complete the work, as well as providing further training in excavation safety and water main repair. Once plans were in place, a date was set, and GLCAP began developing training materials as  resources for current and future employees  should they need to do  this work again.

On October 24, 2023, employees, an equipment contractor, and GLCAP were on site at the location for the new water service line. A brief review covering safety and the objectives of the work were discussed before work began, including the use of   personal protective equipment (PPE) that meet OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements, hand signal use for the equipment operator, and safe work practices.

Activity progressed through the day and into the next and also addressed what the township employees would need to know to repair the new water main in the future. At the conclusion of the work and training, the excavation was closed by the equipment operator. GLCAP performed a verbal review of the activities with those employees being trained and provided a formal training documentation plan, training attendance, a standard operating procedure , and training materials packet to the water utility clerk/personnel manager to place on file. This engagement improved environmental and public health, operational safety of employees, and a better financial response in ensuring low water loss during the work.

The PWS Utility Township Supervisor was extremely happy with this activity and provided a USEPA/USDA Letter of Support to GLCAP to show appreciation. :

“As we have some growth, we needed training of newly hired personnel on location of water infrastructure, excavation, proper installation of new water taps, and how to handle water main breaks or leaks. GLCAP TAP Anthony Brown was scheduled to come in and assist with “Hands On” training to allow Pembroke Township Personnel to learn how to locate water infrastructure properly, excavate it, acquire the necessary tools needed to complete tasks, install a new service line tap as well as make repairs to a water main, if needed. .”

Funding for this assistance was provided by US EPA NPA 1 2022-2024.

By Anthony Brown, RCAP Operator, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP)

More from the Drop of Knowledge