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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, in the Spring and Fall. The deadline for communities to provide documentation to RUBA and RMW staff for Spring scoring is December 31. The Spring scores are published in mid-March and are used for funding eligibility and project scoring. The deadline for communities to provide documentation for Fall scores is June 30, and scores are published in mid-August. The time between the documentation deadline and the publication of scores allows RUBA and DEC to compile and review the data, complete quality control checks and then publish the scores. 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.

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.

Please see the timeline table below as a reference.

Best Practice Monthly Timeline

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

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to experience a backlog of payments and reports that have not been entered into their system. Therefore, the Fall 2021 Best Practices Payroll Liability Compliance scores reflect data through September 2020, as the IRS has confirmed that all payments and reports submitted through this date have been accounted for.

Select a community from the tabs below to see the Fall 2021 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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