California Water Associations Comment on Draft DPR Regulations

On June 24th, WateReuse California submitted comments on the Water Board’s draft Direct Potable Reuse regulations. The coalition letter included ACWA, CUWA, CA-NV Section of AWWA and CASA. WRCA developed these comments after holding a webcast and panel discussion in April to review the draft regulations and solicit comments.

A DPR Working Group was formed that assisted in the development of the final letter. In 2017 WRCA and California Coastkeepers Alliance co-sponsored AB 574 (Quirk), which requires the Water Board to develop DPR regulations by 2023.

Note: The State Water Board requested stakeholder feedback on the Addendum. The public comment period closed on June 25th.

From the comment letter…

Raw Water Augmentation (RWA) and Treated Water Augmentation (TWA)

  • DDW should consider a framework that balances the treatment, monitoring, and/or operational requirements to account for RWA benefits. This framework could draw off of the “toolbox” approach used in the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule that provides flexibility to take advantage of the site-specific elements that are available to a project.
  • We recommend that DDW develop criteria to identify the conditions that trigger revalidation studies and not make this a blanket requirement for all RWA water treatment plants. Requiring such studies of all surface water treatment plants seeking pathogen credit places an additional, high burden on RWA and may drive project sponsors to actively exclude their use. Greater clarity on the crediting of other barriers—such as small reservoirs and blending—would further help the industry consider and leverage the benefits of RWA.

Pathogen Control

  • We request that DDW work with the new DPR Expert Panel to identify the multiple layers of conservatism in the pathogen requirements and define the appropriate levels to achieve DDW’s daily risk goal for both RWA and TWA.

Chemical Control

  • We believe it would provide greater flexibility if DDW defined the performance requirements that they are seeking rather than requiring specific design criteria—e.g., ozone to TOC ratio or empty bed contact times (§64669.50(c)). For example, the IPR regulations require that advanced oxidation achieve 0.5-log reduction of 1,4-dioxane (a performance requirement) without specifying the technology
    (e.g., UV or ozone) or their required doses. A similar performance-based requirement for chemical control would make it easier to assess the equivalence of alternative options. We support performance requirements, such as the 1-log reduction of formaldehyde (§64669.50(c)), and ask DDW to specify any other requirements that would define equivalence for robust chemical control.
  • We suggest that DDW consider eliminating the 0.1 ppm TOC trigger while maintaining the remaining three triggers at their existing levels. project. Rather than reviewing the disparate results of quantitative risk assessments from multiple projects, the State Water
    Board may be better served by enlisting their Recycled Water CEC Expert Panel to provide guidance on chemical monitoring for DPR projects.
  • Rather than reviewing the disparate results of quantitative risk assessments from multiple projects, the State Water Board may be better served by enlisting their Recycled Water CEC Expert Panel to provide guidance on chemical monitoring for DPR projects.
  • We also oppose the requirement for online monitoring of the sewershed (§64669.40(d)(1)).

Technical, Managerial and Financial Capacity

  • Given that water treatment plant operators have successfully protected public health using existing staffing and certifications, the presence of a new source water should not trigger the need for additional AWT5 certifications and 24/7 staffing requirements. These
    onerous operational requirements will further disincentivize RWA in spite of the additional public health protection it can provide. We recommend that the requirement for onsite staffing at all facilities be re-evaluated, particularly at the drinking water and wastewater
    treatment plant where we do not believe 24/7 onsite staffing is necessary.

Conclusion

  • We appreciate the time, energy, and thoughtful consideration that was spent by DDW in preparing these draft regulations. We believe they will provide critical regulatory certainty for DPR projects in California. We ask that you consider the modifications above, which we believe will further improve these draft regulations.

CA-NV AWWA, CWEA Finalize Advanced Water Treatment Operator Certification Program

After four years of work, the Advanced Water Treatment Operator™ (AWTO®) certification program is now complete and launched by the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) and the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). The exam for the highest-grade level, known as AWT5™, launched on July 15th, completing the planned roll-out of exams on-budget and on a fast-tracked schedule.

AWTO certification allows water and wastewater operators to demonstrate their advanced knowledge and qualify for new career opportunities at high-tech water reuse facilities. As California and Nevada expand water reuse, AWT operators are expected to be in high demand.

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Update on AWTO Exam Testing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Advanced Water Treatment Operator™ (AWTO®) certification computer-based delivery options are limited during shelter-in-place orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professional testing centers operated by PSI are located throughout CA, NV and elsewhere. They are preparing to reopen as local and state jurisdictions permit.

The safety and disinfection processes are being updated.

You will find the latest information on PSI testing service here >

AWTO Exam Applications are Welcome

We are still accepting AWTO exam applications. We are not processing applications until we get the okay to do so by PSI.

Once approved you have one year to take the exam before your application expires. Any necessary adjustments due to COVID-19 will be announced here.

Learn more and apply here >

COVID-19 Water/Wastewater Resources

Free Webinar, July 10th: AWTO™ Certification Orientation Webinar

We’re holding the AWT Operator Certification webinar once again.

The Future of Water is Here.
Get ready. Get AWTO™ certified!

Wednesday, July 10th
Noon to 1:00pm

Register for the webinar here

You will learn about:

  • AWTO Program Background
    Gordon Williams, EBMUD and AWTO Committee
  • AWTO Exam Sign-up Process
    Alec Mackie, CWEA
  • Audience Q&A
    Facilitated by Steven Garner, Certification Manager, CA-NV AWWA

We are now accepting applications for the AWT3™ certification exam. Click here to learn about the application process

We are now accepting applications for the AWT3 Certification Exam

The AWT Operator™ Certification program is kicking off and we’re ready to start taking applications for the exam.

Remember, to apply for the AWT3 exam you must current hold a Grade 3, California or Nevada issued operator certification (drinking water treatment operator or wastewater treatment operator).

Follow the steps on the Apply page.

The first step is to download the AWTO™ Candidate Handbook.

The future of water is starting now.
Get AWTO certified.

Good luck!

Webinar: Announcing the Advanced Water Treatment Operator Certification Program

The Advanced Water Treatment Operator Joint Committee held a program overview webinar on Thursday March 14th. Topics included:

  • Welcome
    Toby Roy, Chair, AWTO Committee
    (retired) San Diego County Water Authority
  • The value and benefits of obtaining AWTO Certification for the operators and their agencies
    Fernando Gonzalez, LA Sanitation
  • AWTO Program Development Background
    Yan Zhang, Long Beach Water Dept.

    • Information on the development of the AWTO Grades 3-5 certification program
    • The minimum qualifications for operators to take the exams and become certified
  • Exam process
    Alec Mackie, CWEA

    • Resources for learning about the treatment processes and range of knowledge included in the certification program
    • The process for applying and taking the exam
  • Audience Q&A with speakers
    Facilitated by Steven Garner, CA-NV AWWA

Presenters:

  • Toby Roy, retired, San Diego County Water Authority
  • Fernando Gonzalez, Plan Manager, Terminal Island WRP, LA Sanitation, City of Los Angeles
  • Yan Zhang, Senior Civil Engineer, Long Beach Water Department
  • Steven Garner, Certification Manager, CA-NV AWWA
  • Alec Mackie, Director of Communications, CWEA

Update on the AWTO Certification Program and Upcoming Webinar

Dear CA and NV Water Professionals,

After three years of significant effort, the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) and the California Water and Environment Association (CWEA) are prepared to launch the Advanced Water Treatment Operator Certification™ Program (AWTO™ Certification Program) and will begin offering certification exams for drinking water and wastewater treatment operators in California and Nevada by May 2019.

I would like to invite you to participate in a one-hour webinar Overview of the AWTO Certification Program on Thursday, March 14th at 11:00am. You can learn about:

  • The value and benefits of obtaining AWTO Certification for the operators and their agencies
    Toby Roy, Chair, AWTO Certification Committee and Fernando Gonzalez, LA Sanitation
  • AWTO Background
    Yan Zhang, Long Beach Water Dept.
    Information on the development of the AWTO Grades 3-5 certification program
    The minimum qualifications for operators to take the exams and become certified
  • Exam process
    Alec Mackie, CWEA
    Resources for learning about the treatment processes and range of knowledge included in the certification program
    The process for applying and taking the exam
  • Audience Q&A with speakers – 11:50-Noon
    Facilitated by Steven Garner, CA-NV AWWA

Thursday, March 14 11:00am to Noon
Webinar registration link >

The webinar will be recorded.

The webinar is appropriate for agency leaders, plant managers and water/wastewater operators. If possible, please plan to gather as a group in a conference room to view the webinar. We have only 100 log-ins available for the webinar.

AWTO Program Update

CA-NV AWWA and CWEA entered into two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on 12/15/17 and 11/29/18. Volunteers, staff and psychometric consultants collaboratively developed the new voluntary certification program.   The goals of the program are to:
Certify Advanced Water Treatment Operators to ensure they provide clean water and protect public health
Provide an advanced level certification program requested by water and wastewater agencies and State regulators
Maximize the safe use of water supplies in California and Nevada.
CA-NV AWWA and CWEA are completing an AWTO Candidate Handbook, which will be available by spring 2019.

Thank you to the AWTO program supporters

Development of a voluntary certification program is possible thanks to the strong interest and support from water and wastewater professionals, including:

  • Industry Supporters: California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA), American Water Works Associations (AWWA), Water Environment Federation (WEF), Water Research Foundation (WRF) and WateReuse California.
  • Water and Wastewater Agencies: Several water and wastewater agencies are providing funding (shown below) and their staff are participating in the development of the program.
  • AWTO Committee and Subject Matter Experts:  A committee of over 90 people worked diligently to provide direction for the program.  Subject matter experts volunteered their time to provide input on the job analysis, the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a qualified AWT Operator, and to develop exam content.
  • California State Water Resources Control Board Staff:  The CA State Water Board has an interest in the development of the certification program. CA Water Board staff provide input to ensure the program is compatible with the State’s interests in protecting public health.

Details on registering for the grade 3 AWTO exam are not ready yet but will be posted soon. We’ll send another message as soon as those details are posted.

I look forward to discussing the new AWTO certification with you during the March 14th webinar.

Sincerely,

Toby Roy

Chair, AWTO Certification Committee
(Retired) San Diego County Water Authority


Thank you to the AWTO Program Supporters

Free Webinar on March 14th: Overview of the AWTO Certification Program

Thursday, March 14 11:00am to Noon
Webinar registration link

The webinar will be recorded.
Please gather as a group in your agency’s conference room as we only have 100 log-ins available for this webinar.

  • The value and benefits of obtaining AWTO Certification for the operators and their agencies
    Toby Roy, Chair, AWTO Certification Committee and Fernando Gonzalez, LA Sanitation
  • AWTO Background
    Yan Zhang, Long Beach Water Dept.

    • Information on the development of the AWTO Grades 3-5 certification program
    • The minimum qualifications for operators to take the exams and become certified
  • Exam process
    Alec Mackie, CWEA

    • Resources for learning about the treatment processes and range of knowledge included in the certification program
    • The process for applying and taking the exam
  • Audience Q&A with speakers – 11:50-Noon
    Facilitated by Steven Garner, CA-NV AWWA

Webinar registration link

CA-NV AWWA and CWEA Sign Agreement to Work Together on the Future of Operator Certification

The California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) and California Water Environment Association (CWEA) have signed a memorandum of agreement to jointly develop the Advanced Water Treatment Operator (AWTO) certification program.

The certification exams are expected to be ready in the spring of 2019. The certification will be open to all California and Nevada Grade 3 or higher drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment operators.

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