Environmental Engineering Program


First Advisor

Bruce I. Dvorak

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Environmental Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Bruce I. Dvorak. Lincoln, Nebraska: June, 2017

Copyright (c) 2016 Deanna T. Ringenberg


Small drinking water systems face different challenges than large drinking water systems. Innovative technologies can provide cost and reliability benefits to small systems, but new technologies are not frequently considered. One important barrier to the implementation of new technologies is obtaining state drinking water agency approval.

To identify specific state regulatory barriers, a survey including sixteen questions was sent to the 49 state agencies. The survey included questions regarding their acceptance programs, experiences with new technologies, barriers, data needs for technology approval, and interest in a shared approach for acceptance of new technologies. The survey was sent in 2015 and received an 82% response rate.

The survey confirmed that new technologies are rarely considered for implementation in small systems. Key barriers encountered by states include an overall lack of state agency time, lack of training for their staff, lack of data from vendors (including appropriate pilot data), and lack of independent verification/certification. Regulatory and statute issues were found to be less important barriers.

To overcome barriers, states are primarily interested in performance data from pilot studies, and the results of this survey show that states are willing to collaborate by sharing data. Since there is an interest in information sharing, the next step is to identify how to share information nationwide, according to this survey, past EPA programs like the Arsenic Demonstration Program were effective, so perhaps the arsenic program could be used as a template for the new information sharing program.

Advisor: Bruce I. Dvorak