Kentucky Wastewater System Operators’ and Water Treatment & Distribution System Operators’ Boards of Certification to Meet

The Kentucky Board of Certification of Wastewater System Operators (wastewater board) and the Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators (drinking water board) will have a joint meeting on July 24 at 11 a.m. EST. This meeting will be conducted via Zoom which can be accessed from your computer, tablet or smartphone by logging into the following link. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83189059334?pwd=dSs3M2w3ckg3NXc0TmJRcmVCVUl6dz09

Participants can also dial in by calling 312-626-6799. The meeting ID number is 831 8905 9334 and the password is 507052.

Agenda:

  1. Call meeting to order
  2. Introduce guests
  3. Approval of minutes
  4. New business
    1. CTP requests (Addendum 1)
    2. Review list of approved training (Addendum 2)
    3. Motion to release today’s exam review actions
  5. Unfinished business
    1. Wastewater treatment manual review
  6. Communications & announcements
    1. Financial statement
    2. August meeting
    3. General DCA update – Amanda
  7. Executive session
  8. Adjournment

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Posted in News & Events

Kentucky Wastewater System Operators’ and Water Treatment & Distribution System Operators’ Boards of Certification to Meet

The Kentucky Wastewater System Operators’ and Water Treatment & Distribution System Operators’ (drinking water) Boards of Certification will have a joint meeting on June 19 at 11 a.m. EST. This meeting will be conducted via Zoom, which can be accessed from your computer, tablet or smartphone by logging into the following link. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85043693135?pwd=MFJxR0gvNWEzaFR0bWpPQzlqVGpXdz09

Participants can also dial in by calling 312-626-6799. The meeting ID number is 850 4369 3135 and the password is 432380.

Agenda:

  1. Call Meeting to Order
    2. Introduce Guests
    3. Approval of Minutes
    4. New Business
  2. CTP Requests (Addendum 1)
  3. Review List of Approved Trainings (Addendum 2)
  4. Motion to Release Today’s Exam Review Actions
  5. Unfinished Business
  6. Wastewater Treatment Manual Review
  7. Communications & Announcements
  8. Financial Statement
  9. July Meeting
  10. General DCA Update – Amanda
  11. Executive Session
  12. Adjournment

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Posted in News & Events

Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater

Reprinted from EPA.gov

There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans. EPA is providing this important information about COVID-19 as it relates to drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity to the public. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. Americans can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual. EPA also encourages the public to help keep household plumbing and our nation’s water infrastructure operating properly by only flushing toilet paper. Disinfecting wipes and other items should be disposed of in the trash, not the toilet.

On March 27, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Governors in all 50 states, territories, and Washington, DC, requesting that water and wastewater workers, as well as the manufacturers and suppliers who provide vital services and materials to the water sector, are considered essential workers and businesses by state authorities when enacting restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Our critical water infrastructure and its operators ensure the safe supply of water to our homes and hospitals, and depend on treatment chemicals, laboratory supplies and related goods and materials. Read Administrator Wheeler’s March 27, 2020 letter to U.S. Governors (PDF).

The Agency has provided a template that state, localities and water utilities can use to provide documentation to workers that are considered essential: Water Utility Template: COVID-19 Pandemic (DOCX)(2 pp, 31 K, April 3, 2020)

EPA also supports states and cities that have already taken proactive measures to ensure continued access to clean water for drinking and handwashing during the COVID- 19 pandemic. Many drinking water systems are discontinuing service cut-offs, restoring service to customers whose service was previously cut-off, and refraining from imposing penalties for nonpayment. EPA recommends widespread adoption of these practices, which provide critical support for public health.

Additional information:
Posted in News & Events

What We Know About Coronavirus And Water Treatment

During these challenging times, we want to be clear about what we know about coronavirus and water treatment. The obligations of the drinking water and wastewater treatment sector to the public and our workforce is not put on hold when new contaminants entering our systems come with unknowns. Full story

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Free Webinar: COVID19 & Utility Management

The Clean Water Professionals just announced the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is offering the following two webinars focused on utility management and workforce issues related to COVID-19. WEF will continue to monitor developments and provide members who are on the frontlines and delivering an essential community service with the information they need.

 Pandemic Continuity of Operations (COOP) Essential Personnel 

19 March • 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM CT
During the COVID-19 pandemic, water and wastewater utilities are currently triggering their response plans for continuity of operations. A significant component during a pandemic is a consideration of critical functions that include essential personnel whose role does not allow for telework. Critical services must continue and COOP activities in the face of potentially severe staff shortages and absenteeism are of concern. This webcast will focus on the role of essential personnel.

Clean Water Act Regulatory Issues in a Pandemic

20 March • 2:00 PM ET/1:00 PM CT
During the COVID-19 pandemic, water and wastewater utilities are currently triggering their response plans for continuity of operations. These events also trigger regulatory issues under the Clean Water Act as utilities work to maintain compliance during this pandemic. Utilities need to consider special conditions in their Consent Decrees and/or permits, consider regulatory obligations and maintain close contact with their regulators. This webinar will provide information on key considerations from a regulator and a regulated community perspective.

Posted in News & Events

COVID-19 and Operator Certification

To enable better social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19, the Energy and Environment Cabinet has implemented telecommuting, and many of our staff will be working remotely.  Feel free to reach out to the Division of Compliance Assistance via e-mail or phone using this contact list.

Drinking Water Operator Renewal Deadline
Because many continuing education courses that operators use for renewal are being cancelled and postponed, the Division of Compliance Assistance will be waiving the late fee on Drinking Water renewals through Aug. 31, 2020 in order for operators to obtain their hours. If you need additional continuing education hours for renewal you can apply with one of the many training providers on the Cabinet Approved Training list.

Class Cancellations and Reschedules
Because of current events the Certification and Licensing Branch has had to cancel and/or reschedule several training and testing events.

  • Landfill Operator/Manager, March 18-20, has been cancelled. The next available date is September 2-4.
  • Exam Only Event, March 20, has been cancelled.
  • DW & WW CEU class, March 26-27, has been rescheduled to June 24-25.
  • DW Treatment Certification School and Exam, April 6-9, has been cancelled.
  • WW Treatment Certification School and Exam, April 6-9, has been cancelled.
  • DW & WW CEU class, April 23-24, has been cancelled.

We will continue to monitor the situation to determine if additional changes/additions need to occur. An updated training/exam schedule can be accessed here.

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Posted in News & Events

MEETING CANCELLED: Wastewater System Operators and Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators Boards of Certification Meeting

The Kentucky Board of Certification of Wastewater System Operators (wastewater board) and the Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators (drinking water board) meeting scheduled for March 18th, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. has been cancelled.

We will be setting up a video conference sometime in the near future via Zoom. More information will be provided regarding the video conference once it is scheduled.

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Applicants Sought for Drinking Water Certification Board Vacancies

The Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators’ Certification Board is seeking applicants to fill two vacant positions. The first position is open to candidates who hold a current Kentucky drinking water treatment or distribution license and will represent the industry as a whole. The second requires the candidate to hold a current Kentucky drinking water treatment or distribution license and hold the position of a public qorks director, city manager or equivalent.

The board serves in an advisory capacity to the cabinet on all aspects of drinking water operator training and certification. Board positions are held for a period of four years. Though board members do not receive compensation, they may be reimbursed for all actual and necessary expenses incurred while performing their official duties. The board has regularly scheduled monthly meetings, which are primarily held in Frankfort. More information can be found on here.

Those interested in applying should submit the application, disclosure statement (linked below), and a current resume by close of business March 23, 2020. Applicants may email the required documents to Jessica.Wilhoite@ky.gov or fax them to 844-213-0549, Attention: Jessica Wilhoite.

Drinking Water Board Application

Disclosure Statement

The Secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet makes final appointments to the board. Upon receipt, all applications will be sent to the Secretary’s office for review and consideration. Questions about applications and the process should be directed to Jessica Wilhoite at Jessica.Wilhoite@ky.gov or 502-782-6477.

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New Regulations for Operator Certification

As of Nov. 1 2019, new regulations governing drinking water and wastewater operator certification took effect and are being implemented by the cabinet. While the framework formerly in place worked for many years, the challenges facing the industry today required a review of regulations to determine if changes were needed to address unnecessary obstacles to certification. The package developed and reviewed by stakeholders helps address aspects of the operator shortage while maintaining high expectations for operators in Kentucky. This post covers highlights of changes made to Title 401 KAR Chapters 5, 8 and 11.

Expansion of Education Substitution-
The Cabinet will now accept degrees outside of science and math for use as experience substitution. However, they will substitute at a lower rate.  These degrees can substitute for no more than 25 percent of the experience required. The program will still accept degrees in science and math for substitution of up to 50 percent of the experience required for a license. All degrees must be earned through a regionally accredited institution.

Apprenticeships-
The regulations address the growing need and importance for apprenticeship programs.  Operators that successfully complete a state-approved apprenticeship program are eligible for substitutions for their combined work and education.  The rate of substitution will depend on the program design.  Information about starting an apprenticeship program and a list of active programs can be found on the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development website.  Kentucky Rural Water has established a formal apprenticeship program and is currently enrolling facilities.

Operator In Training (OIT)-
In order to better assist in the development of alternate staffing plans by the cabinet, the regulations governing OIT were changed.  Class II-IV OITs can be in responsible charge of a facility as long as they meet the requirements otherwise spelled out in regulations governing the staffing of treatment plants.  Class I OITs may not be in responsible charge of a facility. The regulation change also took out the language making OITs retest if they fell outside certain renewal time frames.

Distribution and Collection Experience-
As the processes and job duties for these professions are similar, experience gained in one will substitute at the same rate for the other.  So, one year of experience in collections would be equal to one year of experience in distribution when applying for a license.  The reverse is also true.     

Class IV Wastewater Treatment-
The experience requirements for a Class IV Wastewater Treatment Operator have been changed.  Previously, the regulation called for at least five years of experience.  That has been reduced to three.  This still establishes a solid baseline of experience, but is not excessive.

Wastewater Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Accrual-
The accrual of wastewater hours will now mirror the system used for drinking water.  Instead of being good for two years after the date the CEU was earned, CEUs will now be accrued starting from the first day following the end of the previous renewal period for the wastewater license.  Operators who were unaware of the pending change and have already accrued hours for their 2021 license renewal can contact the office and we will work with them on the renewal process.

Reciprocity and Equivalency-
For operators who are certified in another state but would like to attain a license in Kentucky, the certification program will now consider experience earned along with the actual certification requirements of other states.  This will not allow an operator to attain a license higher for which they have tested, however it will take into account that their test along with their years of experience may meet the requirements of same level of licensure in Kentucky.

Licensing Fees-
Fees for program services have not be adjusted in over a decade despite increases in costs to provide the program and its services.  Fees for certification and renewal will increase starting in January 2020. Additional fees for the review of third-party training provision were also established.

  • An online application for exam will be $250.
  • Online renewal of a license for an active operator is now $200. The renewal is still good for two years.
  • For operators who are retired and no longer actively using their license at a facility or in support of water or wastewater operations, there is inactive license renewal option of $100. An operator holding this license does not have to seek CEUs to renew. However, if they wish to go back to using their license, they will have to seek the required CEUs and pay the difference in the licensing fees to reactivate the license.
  • There is a $50 charge for any application or renewal submitted via paper when an online version is available.
  • There will be a transition period from January-March 2020 as the program launches new licensing e-forms and online forms may not be available for some licenses or processes. During those times, the program will not charge the $50 paper application fee. This will mostly impact the Inactive Licenses and Certified Training Provider applications.  Applications for exams and renewals will be ready on January 1, 2020, so the paper fee waiver will not apply.

Training Approval Fees for CEU Providers-
Any CEU training provided for operator renewal must be reviewed and approved through the cabinet.  There is a $50 fee for review of a 6-hour class with a $25 fee for each additional 6-hour block.  This approval is good for two years and an entity can renew that approval for two more years for $15.

Certified Training Provider
For training providers that hold conferences or provide a large number of educational events, the cabinet has established a Certified Training Provider (CTP) Program.  This fee-based program allows training providers with at least three years of Cabinet approved water and wastewater educational provision in the Commonwealth to apply for certification.  While the provider still has to maintain the same standards and documentation as any other provider, the pre-approval process for courses is waived.  CTPs are subject to audit.  The online processes required to fully implement CTP are still under development, however entities can still apply without incurring the paper cased application fee.  For more information, contact Veronica Roland at 502-782-6441.

When does this this take effect?
All of these regulation changes are currently in effect however, there will be a period of transition in terms of processes.

  • All certification applications are now being reviewed using the new standards set forth by regulation.
  • The new fees will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
  • Forms for Inactive Licenses and Certified Training Provider (CTP) will be in paper format until the new forms and processes are set up online. The cabinet will not charge the $50 surcharge until an online version is available.

We are currently processing all applications in accordance with the new regulations.  However, not all of our online processes will be immediately available. Watch the DCA webpage for more information as new materials and processes become available.

Questions regarding these regulations can be directed to the Division of Compliance Assistance at 502-782-6189 or envhelp@ky.gov.

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Posted in News & Events

Special Board Meeting: Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators

The Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators (drinking water board) will have a special meeting on October 25 at 10 a.m. EST in conference room 111, Department for Environmental Protection, 300 Sower Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601. This meeting pertains to the notice of violations issued to two operators at Greensburg Water Works. Portions of this meeting are open to the public.

Agenda:
Call to Order
Roll Call
Introduction of Guests
New Business
     Hearings for disciplinary action from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
     Adjourn for Lunch at 12:00 p.m.
     Hearings for disciplinary action from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Executive Session
Adjournment

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