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Operations and Maintenance Best Practices


The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation's Village Safe Water (VSW) and Remote Maintenance Worker (RMW) Programs, in collaboration with the Rural Utility Business Advisor (RUBA) Program and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), have developed criteria for assessing operations and maintenance capacity of rural water and wastewater utilities. The criteria, referred to as Operations and Maintenance Best Practices, has been used for determining eligibility and prioritization for community sanitation projects since mid-2015.

Scores are broken into three categories: Technical, Financial, and Managerial. For all questions or concerns pertaining to Technical scores, please contact your assigned RMW. Contact your assigned RUBA regarding Managerial and Financial scoring concerns. If you feel that any portion of your community's score is inaccurate, it is important that you contact either your RMW or RUBA so that the data may be updated or corrected. RMW or RUBA contact list.

Scores are published twice per year, according to the timeline below. It is important to note that the Best Practice score accounts for 15% of the points possible for SDS project scoring and 40% of the points possible for CIP project scoring. The most effective way to increase your community's chance of receiving project funding is by improving your Best Practice score. The most effective way to increase your Best Practice score is by working with RUBA and your RMW.

Best Practice Monthly Timeline

Community Deadlines

December 31
Deadline to provide information to RUBA & RMW
June 30
Deadline to provide information to RUBA & RMW

Release of Scores

March 1
Spring Scores are posted (Used to funding eligibility & project scoring)
September 1
Fall Scores are posted (not used for funding eligibility & project scoring)

Agency Activity

January through February
Compile Scores
July through August
Compile Scores

Community Activity

March through June
Work with RUBA & RMW to improve score
September through December
Work with RUBA & RMW to improve score
Year Round
Communities are familiar with their latest Best Practices score, and work consistently with technical assistance providers to improve the score before each community deadline.

Resources to Help Communities Improve Best Practices Scores

Category Scoring Criteria Contacts Resources and Sample Documents
  • Operator Certification
  • Preventive Maintenance Plan
  • Compliance
  • Utility Management Training
  • Meetings of the Governing Body
  • Budget
  • Revenue
  • Worker's Compensation Insurance
  • Payroll Liability Compliance

Best Practices Payroll Liability Compliance Score

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has experienced delays in processing payments and reports due to COVID-19, which may have impacted Best Practices scores for some communities. More information is available in this letter.

Select a community from the tabs below to see the Fall 2020 Best Practices Score:

Previous Best Practices Scores

Sanitary Deficiency System (SDS)

To review projects in SDS for your community, follow the steps below to access projects in the Sanitation Tracking and Reporting System (STARS):

  1. Access the Alaska Area Login for STARS
  2. Click on the "Public Access" link to access Alaska's SDS projects contacts page. (Do not enter any information in the "Login Name" or "Password" boxes)
  3. At the bottom of the page click on "Proposed Alaska Sanitation Needs - By Community."
  4. Select a community to view on the SDS list.

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