CWEA Sends Comment Letter on Proposed Operator Certification Regulations Amendment

CWEA has submitted a comment letter to the State Water resources Control Board regarding the proposed amendments to the Operator Certification Regulations.  As the founder of California’s  Operator Certification Program, and being a certifying body for over 75 years now, CWEA is in a unique position to offer guidance and perspective on the proposed amendments.  We encourage our members and certificate holders to review the proposed amendments and our comment letter.

Public Hearing and Webcast– August 7, 9:00 AM

The State Water Board will hold a hearing regarding the amendments beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday August 7, 2012, the Coastal Hearing Room at the Joe Serna Jr./Cal-EPA Headquarters Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California 95814. A live webcast will available at http://www.calepa.ca.gov/broadcast/.

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Chris Lundeen

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4 comments on “CWEA Sends Comment Letter on Proposed Operator Certification Regulations Amendment

  1. Kent Perkes says:

    I read the CWEA response letter which appears to be a self-serving CWEA sales pitch that does not address key changes in the operator regulations. I had previously expressed my concern with the astronomical fee increases, and was asured that CWEA was going to address this with the SWRCB. The letter does not say anything about the fees!

    I also disagree with CWEA’s inclusion of CEU requirements for wastewater operators. Again, this requirements will serve CWEA well with additional training classes, but will require additional money and time for operators, municipalities, and districts. Did you know that City’s are going bankrupt, and certified operators are becoming harder to find? Where will the money and staff hours come from to cover additional training requirements?

    Really, CWEA should not in place to serve CWEA, but should serve water quality professionals! I believe that CWEA has missed the mark completely in the letter and gives the distinct impression that CWEA is not in this to help wastewater professionals, but only to expand CWEA’s own position in the industry. I would hope that CWEA would seriously reconsider their position on the fee increases and CEU requirements. Serve the operators!

    I would hate to see CWEA become an extension of the already cumbersome and expensive State bureaucracy, but it seems that you may be a big supporter of it. I, like many others with upper grade certifications, are in demand across the country. If the burdens becomes too great in this State, we can move and ply our trade elsewhere.

    Keep it professional. Keep it simple. Serve the operators!

  2. Hugh Logan says:

    A comment letter from the Summit Partners, which includes CWEA, also went out July 30 to the State Water Board. The Summit Partners include CASA, SCAP, CWEA, BACWA, and CVCWA and seek to collaborate on common issues when possible. The Summit letter addressed issues with definitions, enforcement language, minimum experience, continuing education, examinations, and fees. It is posted for reference at https://cwea.box.com/shared/static/258b9055094fff42e6fd.pdf. The CWEA letter stayed focused on relationship-building, looking to improve the examination and education process for Operators.

    A word about education. With the new regulations, the State is requring a high school diploma or GED for Grade I individuals. Most Operators are in a continuous improvement mode, obtaining continuing education (CE) on a regular basis already. This CE comes in many forms and helps keep the Operator sharp and apprised with latest technologies, methods, and safe work practices. This training comes thru in-plant tailgates, vendor-provided training, Local Section training events or dinners, CWEA Conferences, Exam prep classes, Management training classes, and annual Safety training each year.

    There is a wide variety of options for CE, and it doesn’t have to be burdensome on the agency or the individual. Much training is free, including WEF process control webinars. CE is already part of the fabric for most Operators. The treatment technologies are changing quickly, water reuse and energy recovery are topics of emerging concern in California, and the regulatory environment is more rigourous.

    Implementing a CE actually helps the Agencies maintain a workforce that is more adept at incorporating change and improving effectiveness of operations. CE also helps prepare the next generation of Operators for leadership as the retirement of seasoned veterans starts to occur. As reference, the Department of Health requires 12 contact hours each year for Water Treatment Operators.

  3. Britt Bolerjack says:

    I agree completely with Kent Perkes that it is a burden on operators to complete even the CE requirements for voluntary certification. Most districts are already short staffed to allow time or expenses to complete the requirements for CE’s.
    Certified operators are already in demand all the time and performing the operations of most treatment plants is a continuing education in it’s self. If my operators aren’t learning or improving their levels of certifications all the time then I don’t really want them working for me anyway.
    What do operators get out of the expense attached to just renewing a license that hangs on the wall.

  4. Ron Franz says:

    I agree with both Kent and Britt, Operators are already burden with paying their renewal fees , CWEA fees, and now CWEA wants to have operators pay for more training to get their contact hours. Local city and county governments are taking away our training budgets, which leaves each operator to pay his own. Don’t tell me about free training when there is next to none being offered or its in an far away area to drive and then lodging fees are required, another expense the operator must absorb. Leave things alone, times are tough enough for people!!

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