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Assistance Solutions Knowledge

Picking up where the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) left off, the Appalachian Community Technical Assistance and Training (ACTAT) program’s focus is sustainable water infrastructure. ACTAT provides training and customized assistance to small, rural communities to resolve drinking water and wastewater problems while educating them on public health and environmental issues.


Devoted to protecting the public health and environment of the nation's small communities by providing drinking water and wastewater informational and educational resources.

UK Faculty and Students in Martin County, Kentucky

Appalachian Community Technical Assistance and Training (ACTAT) Program

By focusing on each community’s context and needs, ACTAT promotes community-driven actions to address community-specific concerns about operating and managing water and wastewater systems. Our vision is to enhance economic development in small, rural communities of the region, by providing viable water infrastructure systems.

Learn more about the Appalachian Community Technical Assistance and Training (ACTAT) Program
Training in Spencer

Technical Assistance Services Center

NESC programs are devoted to protecting the public health and environment of small communities and rural areas by connecting communities and individuals with resources to educate and provide safe drinking water and adequate wastewater services.

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Providing effective delivery of relevant and free direct technical assistance, educational materials, training programs, and partnering opportunities to small, rural communities.

Drinking water plant

Drinking Water Treatment

Water seems limitless and for the most part, it is taken for granted. However, water is essential for life. A potable (safe for drinking) water supply is perhaps the most vital service a community provides to its citizens. People depend on water for drinking, cooking, washing, carrying away wastes, and other domestic needs. In the U.S., drinking water supplies are among the safest in the world; however, this comes at a great cost and supplies are not always sustainable. Sources of water used to supply drinking water comes from rivers, lakes, and groundwater. From the source to the tap, water goes through many steps to become safe to drink.

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Dunlap, TN wastewater plant

Wastewater Treatment

Ensuring proper wastewater treatment and disposal is as important for protecting community health as drinking water treatment, garbage collection, and immunization programs. Untreated and inadequately treated wastewater can spread disease and contaminate drinking water sources When untreated wastewater reaches water used as a drinking water source, there can be significant health risks. To ensure safe drinking water, communities need both effective water and wastewater treatment.

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A job cannot be done correctly without the right tools, knowledge being the most important tool.

ACTAT photo


The Appalachian Community Technical Assistance and Training (ACTAT) Program focuses on small communities in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee by offering free, water infrastructure training and technical services.

Learn more about ACTAT
Emily Garner

To make drinking water safer, WVU researcher investigates microbial communities living in pipes

Emily Garner, assistant professor at the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, has launched a five-year study to learn more about biofilms. Known as “cities of microbes,” biofilms are conglomerations of fungi, algae, bacteria and other single-celled organisms that cling to each other and to surfaces.

Learn more about this research