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Program Manager: Carrie Bohan Program Staff: Ken Smith Martin Suzuki Galen Heffern.

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Presentation on theme: "Program Manager: Carrie Bohan Program Staff: Ken Smith Martin Suzuki Galen Heffern."— Presentation transcript:

1 Program Manager: Carrie Bohan Program Staff: Ken Smith Martin Suzuki Galen Heffern

2 Operator Training and Certification Program Regulations (18 AAC 74) The Three Articles Primary Function Classification of Systems Water Systems Water Distribution Systems Certification of Operators New Programs Taking Exams at the Next Level Online Exams Operator Reimbursement Program 2

3 Operator Certification and Training Regulations (18 AAC 74) Article One Requirements for large water/wastewater systems Classifying systems/certifying operators Article Two Requirements for small water systems Classifying systems/certifying operators Article Three Requirements common to both Renewal requirements Fees Definitions 3

4 Finding Your Very Own Copy of the Regulations dec.alaska.gov/water/opcert/index.htm 4

5 The Basic Rule Supervising operators of water systems must be certified at levels equal to system classifications. What we do: o Certify Operators o Classify Systems 5

6 Water Systems Water Distribution Types of Systems We Classify Emmonak WT Plant Photo Courtesy of DCCED Akiak WT Plant Photo Courtesy of DCCED Water Tanks in False Pass Photo Courtesy of DCCED Fire Hydrant in Chignik Photo Courtesy of DCCED Chevak WT Plant Photo Courtesy of DCCED Water Lines in Saint Michael Photo Courtesy of DCCED 6

7 Water Systems  Public Water Systems provide water for human consumption through pipes or other conveyances to at least 15 service connections or serve at least 25 people for at least 60 days a year.  A Community Water System (CWS) serves the same population year round.  A Non-Transient Non-Community Water System (NTNCWS) serves at least 25 of the same people at least six months per year.  A Transient Non-Community Water System (TNCWS) does not regularly serve at least 25 of the same individuals over six months per year.  PWSID  Classification based on complexity  646 water systems Anaktuvuk Pass WT Plant Photo Courtesy of DCCED Kongiganak WT Plant Photo Courtesy of DCCED Eklutka WT Plant Photo Courtesy of AWWU 7

8 Water System Classification < 500 people No Chemicals – Small Untreated One Chemical – Small Treated Complex treatment – Point rating system determines Water Treatment classification > 500 people Point rating system determines Water Treatment classification Hoonah 8

9  More than 500 people or 100 service connections  More than 15 service connections  Classification based on size and complexity  100 systems Water Distribution Systems Water Tank in Fort Yukon Photo Courtesy of DCCED Fire Hydrant in Akiak Photo Courtesy of DCCED Insulated Piping in Alakanuk Photo Courtesy of DCCED 9

10 FIRST - Number of Service Connections  Class 1 = 15 to 500  Class 2 = 501 to 5,000  Class 3 = 5,001 to 15,000  Class 4 = >15,000 THEN  If water is circulated or heated to prevent freezing, then one class  If five or more pressure zones, then one class  If both occur, then only one class Water Distribution Classification Water Main Leak Repair in Saxman Photo Courtesy of Kerry Lindley Fires Hydrants in Nuiqsut Photo Courtesy of DCCED 10

11 Finding the Classification of a System dec.alaska.gov/water/opcert/index.htm 11

12 Finding the Classification of a System 12

13 Finding the Classification of a System 13

14 14

15 Management/System Owner Considerations Regarding System Classification Know the classification of each system under their control Know why each system is classified at the level it is Question authority (don’t take our word for it) Be aware that changes to the system might affect system classification 15

16 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements Education Experience Exams 16

17 Eligibility Requirements – Small Systems Small Untreated Water Systems High School Diploma or G.E.D. Three months of operating experience at a system classified as a small, untreated water system or greater (or completion of a department approved training course) Small Treated Water Systems High School Diploma or G.E.D. Six months of operating experience at a system classified as a small, treated water system or greater (or completion of a department approved training course) Operator Certification 17

18 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements – Large Systems Education Experience 18

19 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements – Large Systems Provisional Level High School Diploma or G.E.D., and Three months of operating experience in the system type requested, or Completion of a department-approved course 19

20 Eligibility Requirements – Large Systems Level I High School Diploma or G.E.D., and One year (1,950 hours) of operating experience in the system type requested Operator Certification 20

21 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements – Large Systems Level II High School Diploma or G.E.D., and Three years of operating experience in the system type requested 21

22 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements – Large Systems Level III Water Distribution High School Diploma or G.E.D.; Four years of operating experience of which two years must be specific to water distribution in a class II or higher facility; and One year of post-secondary education (45 CEUs) Water Treatment High School Diploma or G.E.D.; Four Years of operating experience of which two years must be specific to the water treatment in a class II or higher facility; and 2 years of postsecondary education (90 CEUs). 22

23 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements – Large Systems Level IV Water Distribution High School Diploma or G.E.D.; Six years of operating experience, of which three years must be specific to water distribution in a class III or higher facility; and One year of postsecondary education (45 CEUs). Water Treatment High School Diploma or G.E.D.; Four years of operating experience, of which two years must be specific to water treatment in a class III or higher facility; and Four years of post-secondary education (180 CEUs) 23

24 Counting Simultaneous Experience The Catch 22: Operator Works 2 Hours / Day Eligible for Level 1 exams in 8 years! Water Treatment Water Distribution Simultaneous Experience: Operator Works 2 Hours / Day Eligible for Level 1 exams in 1 year. Water Treatment Water Distribution Applies only to the Supervising Operator; Applies only to systems REQUIRED to have a certified operator; A system-specific certificate is issued; Once the eligibility requirement for the level of certification are met, it is the responsibility of the operator to submit an application to the Department. 24

25 Operator Certification Eligibility Requirements Education Experience Exams 10 Different Drinking Water-Oriented Exams Small Water SystemsUntreated, Treated Water TreatmentP/1, 2, 3, 4 Water DistributionP/1, 2, 3, 4 Twice Yearly Exam Cycles (April/October) Online Provisional level exams are also available at the conclusion of introductory courses. 25

26 A Note about Exams ABC (Association of Boards of Certification) Water Treatment Water Distribution All ABC exams are comprised of 100 multiple choice questions. HOWEVER… 26

27 A Note about Exams Water Treatment Water Distribution ABC Prescriptive (Modified based on Alaskan systems) Exams are comprised of 100 multiple choice questions. Exam descriptions are available online at: Keep in mind: Exams test across the range of classification, not just one system. Cover both surface water and groundwater Sample Topics: KMnO 4, Greensand Circulating Systems Chlorination 27

28 Small Water System Exams Small Untreated Water System 50-question multiple choice exam Exam description available at Small Treated Water System 50-question multiple choice exam Exam description available at 28

29 “Paper & Pencil” Exams Written certification exams are administered statewide twice a year, in April and October. Application DeadlineExam Date August 23, 2011October 7, 2011 February 21, 2012April 6, 2012 August 21, 2012October 5, 2012 February 19, 2013April 5, 2013 August 27, 2013October 11, 2013 February 25, 2014April 11, 2014 August 26, 2014October 10,

30 Small Water System Online Certification Exams Online Exams Available Small, Untreated Water System Small, Treated Water System Application One-page application Fees At the time of application: $20 application fee At the time of testing: $30 exam fee payable to the Testing Center There are No Application Deadlines As soon as we receive your application and application fee, we will authorize you to take the online exam at one of the testing centers. Locations: Anchorage Dillingham Fairbanks Glennallen Kenai Ketchikan Palmer 30

31 Online ABC Exams Online ABC Exams Available Now: Water Treatment Water Distribution One-Page Application No-shows for previous exams Retakes (previously failed) One level higher Full Application During exam cycles Online Application No-shows for previous exams Retakes (previously failed) One level higher 31

32 Online ABC Exams Online Exams Now: Water Treatment Water Distribution Fees At the time of application: $20 application fee $40/exam fee ( from $30) At the time of testing: Per exam testing center fee (varies) Application Deadlines 1 st and 15 th of every month 15 days to activate Must take within 2 months Locations: Anchorage Juneau Kenai Ketchikan Fairbanks Valdez Bethel Barrow 32

33 Exams at the Next Level Before: An operator MUST meet the education and experience requirements BEFORE taking the exam. Now: An operator can take the next higher exam BEFORE meeting the education and experience requirements. You hold a level 1 certificate, you can take a level 2 exam You hold a level 2 certificate, you can take a level 3 exam You hold a level 3 certificate, you can take a level 4 exam  You hold a P, you can’t take anything Restrictions: The passing score for the next level higher exams is valid as long as the certificate at the lower level is active, i.e., not expired. Operators must apply to upgrade the certificate. Applications are reviewed 4 times per year. 33

34 Finding an Operator dec.alaska.gov/water/opcert/index.htm 34

35 Finding an Operator 35

36 Renewing a Certificate To renew the following certificates, 3.0 CEUs are required (2.0 must be core to the water/wastewater industry): Water Treatment Water Distribution Additionally, the certificate renewal fees must be paid: $50 per certificate by mail or $35 per certificate online using a credit card. 36

37 Getting CEUs  Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are offered in a variety of formats: Correspondence courses Online courses Classroom courses Conferences Workshops  1 CEU is equivalent to 10 hours of class time. 37

38 Getting CEUs - Resources  Approved Course List Correspondence courses Online courses  Training Calendar Classroom courses Upcoming workshops Upcoming conferences 38

39 Core/Non-Core/DW-Core?  Core CEUs – training/education specifically related to water/wastewater systems, or integral to their operation  Non-core CEUs – relevant to water/wastewater industry, but indirectly  Drinking-water core CEUs – core CEUs specifically related to water systems Only required for SU or ST certification If you do not hold an SU or ST certification, you will receive Core credit for a DW Core class. 39

40 Management Considerations Regarding Operator Certification Know the required levels of certification for each operator Be aware that operators may need more than one certificate Be aware of the certification requirements – that it takes time and education Be aware of how certification exams are administered (online, at courses, or in the community) Budget for application fees, exam fees, training fees, and possibly travel Budget time for the operator to study Be aware of training opportunity formats Be proactive in providing out-of-the-ordinary training opportunities to operators Be aware of what help/funding is out there 40

41 Operator Reimbursement Program  The Operator Training and Certification Program has funds available to reimburse water operators for costs associated with continuing education. Each eligible operator may receive up to $1,500 towards education expenses.  The program was started in Since 2008, approximately $265,000 in education expenses have been reimbursed. 41

42 Operator Reimbursement - Eligibility  Certified operators of water systems that require a certified operator  Non-Certified operators of water systems that require a certified operator These operators may only be reimbursed for courses that make them eligible for certification exams. 42

43 Operator Reimbursement – Approved Expenses  Major Travel Airfare, Ferry. No taxis or car rentals.  Course Fees No Application or exam fees.  Lodging Hotel only. No per diem or food expenses. 43

44 Operator Reimbursement – Approved Courses Classroom Operators may be reimbursed for travel to and from the course, course fees, and lodging while attending the course. Correspondence Operators may be reimbursed for course fees and postage. Online Operators may be reimbursed for course fees. 44

45 Operator Reimbursement – Process An operator* submits a pre-approval form. DEC reviews this form and sends the operator* approval (or denial) that they are eligible for the reimbursement program. The operator attends an approved training course. The operator* then submits a reimbursement form, in addition to all relevant receipts. If everything is in order, DEC will send a check to the operator*. *A city/utility may also claim reimbursement on the operator’s behalf. 45

46 Operator Reimbursement – Fine Print In order to receive reimbursement for a classroom, online, or correspondence course, an operator MUST complete that course. More information may be found on our website: dec.alaska.gov/water/opcert/index.htm 46

47 Operator Reimbursement Program Eligible Systems Approved course lists depending on certification Forms depending on who we’re reimbursing Forms for requesting reimbursement after the course 47

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50 Ken Smith Martin Suzuki Galen Heffern ( 9 07) dec.alaska.gov/water/opcert/index.htm


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