March 2019 O&M Newsletter

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March 2019

In this issue:


March 5, 7, 12, & 14 - MRWA - Class II Water Treatment Certification Exam Preparatory Course (4-Day Course), Bangor, DEP 10 TCH, BLWSO 20 TCH

March 5 - JETCC - Hands-On Laboratory Training, Lewiston, DEP 6 TCH

March 12 - JETCC - Wastewater Laboratory Basics, Augusta, DEP 6 TCH

March 13 - MRWA - Basic Map & Plan Reading, Livermore Falls, DEP 4 TCH, BLWSO 4 TCH

March 19 - MRWA - Leak Detection & Line Locating, Caribou, BLWSO 4 TCH

March 19 - JETCC - Maintenance of Rotating Equipment, Augusta, DEP 6 TCH, BLWSO 6 TCH

March 20 - MRWA - Leak Detection & Line Locating, Ellsworth, BLWSO 4 TCH

March 20 & 21 - JETCC - Activated Sludge Process Control, Kennebunk, DEP 12 TCH

March 21 - NEWEA - Plant Operations Conference & Exhibit, Billerica MA, Variable TCH

March 21 - MRWA - Leak Detection & Line Locating, Lewiston, BLWSO 4 TCH

March 22 - MRWA - Leak Detection & Line Locating, Portland, BLWSO 4 TCH

March 26 - JETCC - Hands-On Laboratory Training, Brewer, DEP 6 TCH

April 2 - JETCC - Physical/Chemical Treatment Process, Brunswick, DEP 6 TCH

April 3 - JETCC - Industrial Wastewater Compliance, Brunswick, DEP 6 TCH

April 10 - NEIWPCC - What You Need to Know About FOG, Portland, DEP 6 TCH

April 12 - NEWEA - Operations Challenge Training Day & Facility Tour, West Warwick RI, Variable TCH

April 24 & 25 - JETCC - 2019 North Country Convention, Presque Isle, DEP 12 TCH, BLWSO 12 TCH

North Country Convention April 24-25

The Joint Environment Training Coordinating Committee (JETCC) 2019 is excited to announce a new location for the North Country Convention (NCC). The event will be held on April 24 & 25, 2019 at the Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) in Presque Isle where attendees can tour the facilities of the new Water Technology program.

This year, JETCC has partnered with MEWEA and MWUA to bring new and exciting training and exhibits to The County.

For more information go to

Upcoming Training Classes Feature Hands-on Laboratory Training

There is still time to register for upcoming laboratory training courses:

• Hands-on Laboratory Testing in Lewiston on March 5 or Brewer on March 26 where small groups will rotate through four stations conducted by experienced laboratorians.
• Wastewater Laboratory Basics in Augusta.  Learn the basics of lab equipment and techniques from a team of wastewater lab experts on March 12th at Greater Augusta Utility District.

Contact JETCC at 207-253-8020 for more info.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice, March

1. Spray Irrigation Treatment Systems (SITS) for domestic wastewater consists of:

A. Pretreating wastewater in a pond or lagoon, then applying to land for further treatment and disposal
B. Spraying partially treated wastewater on trickling filters or Rotating Biological Contactors (RBCs) for tertiary polishing of golf courses
C. Irrigating deserts or arid rocky areas to recharge aquifers
D. Extending the root-vegetable growing season by applying warmer water to frosty soil
E. Supplementing wastewater with added nitrogen to enhance growth of wild grass species

2. Spray Irrigation Treatment Systems (SITS) is a natural system that utilizes:

A. A combination of soil and vegetation to cleanse wastewater and recycle nutrients
B. Algae and fungi living in soils to filter and decompose wastes
C. Iron bacteria living in the ground water to reduce corrosive species
D. All of the above

3. The topography best suited for spray irrigation includes:

A. Rocky terrain
B. Clay pits
C. Low hilltops
D. Flat and sloping areas

4. When considering the design of a spray irrigation system, site specific factors include: 

A. Golf course policy for watering grass
B. Soil type, geology, and climate
C. Best fencing (wooden or chain-link) to limit access
D. Providing natural habitat for animals during the winter months

5. SITS systems often require storage lagoons prior to spraying in order to:

A. Regulate the rate of application
B. Store wastewater during the winter when biological processes slow or stop completely
C. Store water when spraying is reduced due to frozen ground or heavy rains
D. All of the above

6. A facultative lagoon does not have:

A. A liner
B. An outlet
C. Aeration

7. Lagoon maintenance includes:

A. Allowing rodents to dig holes to help with water percolation
B. Encourage growth of woody vegetation growth along the banks to help stabilize the liner
C. Cultivate of grasses, reeds, and cattails that slow down flow and help with decomposition
D. Repairing immediately any sign of leakage, destructive animal activity or soil erosion of banks
E. Keeping freeboard as low as possible to maximize storage capacity

8. If vegetation management is required by the permit an operator must:

A. Mow the lawn in summer only
B. Mow the field in spring and summer
C. Mow the field in spring, fall and summer as needed to allow uniform application
D. Harvest in the fall
E. Spray the bushes

9. If a ground hog is found in a lateral pipe, an operator should:

A. Turn on the pump in short blasts
B. Stand the pipe on end and shake it until the rodent departs
C. Notify DEP verbally within 24 hours
D. Test for bacteria
E. C and D

10. Freeboard is:

A. Available lumber
B. Low rent
C. The BEST Skynyrd song
D. 2 cubic feet per second
E. The distance between maximum water-holding depth and the ground elevation, usually 2-3 feet

11. What is the surface area of a treatment lagoon that measures 300 feet by 600 feet? (1 acre = 43,560 square ft)

A. 2.3 acres
B. 4.1 acres
C. 8.6 acres
D. 15.4 acres

12. Calculate the usable freeboard of a waste stabilization pond to provide 180 days of storage.
Pond has a total area of 12.4 acres. Average winter wastewater flow to the pond is 90,000 gallons per day. Maximum liquid storage depth is 5.5 feet. Assume no loss of liquid by percolation or evaporation.

A. 1.0 ft
B. 1.5 ft
C. 2.0 ft
D. 3.9 ft

DMR-QA Slight Delay Due to Government Shutdown

EPA is proposing to start the DMR-QA study at its usual time (late March), but extend the other milestone dates by 2-to-3 weeks due to delays during the government shutdown.

The DMR-QA announcement will come in a few weeks from EPA by general delivery email, so make sure to check your spam folder in case it ends up there.

DEP will keep you posted on study dates as they are finalized by EPA.

Questions? Contact Judy Bruenjes at

Certification Update

Operators with odd-numbered certificates must renew by March 1, 2019. Renewal includes paying all required fees and receiving all required TCHs. Go to for more details, or call 207-253-8020.

Remember, you cannot be the Operator in Responsible Charge (ORC) of a plant unless you renew properly and your certificate has “Active” status.

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Project Solicitation

On February 19th, the CWSRF program sent out an email to wastewater municipalities, districts and engineers, soliciting projects to be funded through the CWSRF program.  The solicitation has two purposes.  The first is that we must demonstrate to EPA that the State has a list of potential projects that supports the need for the CWSRF federal capitalization grant. Second, we need to rank the projects to determine which ones will receive loan principal forgiveness and if so, how much.

Federal law and appropriations determine how much funding the CWSRF programs receive and may offer, if any, in the form of “additional subsidies” to borrowers.  Maine allocates its additional subsidies to borrowers in the form of loan principal forgiveness (PF).  Although the federal budget has been passed, states have not yet been notified what their capital grant or additional subsidy amounts will be for 2019.  We expect to know those amounts sometime in March.

As in previous years, most of the PF will go to projects that have the most environmental benefit and where the applicant would experience a significant hardship financing the project if additional subsidies were not provided.  We intend to offer PF funding, up to $50,000, for the development and implementation of a Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) (think asset management) or the improvement to an existing FSP.  FSP PF funding requires a 100% match from the applicant.  We will also offer PF funding, up to $20,000, for the development of a Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP) (no match required).

To the extent of available funding, the FSP and CAP PF amounts can be added to an applicant’s loan for an infrastructure project or they can simply be a “standalone” loan.  As we have done in the previous two years, we plan to continue to offer standalone loans for new FSPs and CAPs to applicants that are not borrowing additional funds for an infrastructure project.  To qualify for a standalone FSP loan the applicant must not have received any previous PF from the Department for the development of an Asset Management Plan or a FSP.  The intent of the standalone FSP loans is to not use additional CWSRF borrowing for the 100% applicant match.  By not borrowing the match, the loan process is simplified and the applicant avoids any Bond Counsel costs.  If the applicant must borrow their match from the CWSRF special arrangements may be made, however the applicant will incur costs from their Bond Counsel.

The announcement that was sent out requesting applications, requested that the applications be submitted to by 5:00 p.m., April 12thUnfortunately, Brandy will be out on extended leave during that time, so please submit the applications to

For more information, please contact John True at 287 7808, or visit the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 Clean Water State Revolving Fund section of the CWSRF webpage for the announcement letter, application forms, and supporting documents at .

Get Ready for Your Operator Certification Computer Based Test (CBT)

You have sent your completed application form to NEIWPCC, was accepted by DEP to take an Operator Certification exam, scheduled your test with AMP and diligently studied to prepare for the exam.

What should you expect when you get to the Test Center? What can you bring with you, and what is better left at home or in your car?

Answer: Here are some suggestions to help prepare for Computer Based Testing.

Note: This is a summary of information. For more complete answers, read the candidate handbook. On the website, choose the exam you are taking and click on “View Candidate Handbook”. Read carefully for all information regarding your exam before you go.

Note: The Bangor (Holden) test site is currently closed. Check on the website to find a different location until a new site is opened.

Question: What if I need to reschedule my exam?

Answer: You may reschedule your exam once at no charge either online at or by calling PSI at 800-345-6559 at least two business days prior to your scheduled examination appointment. 

If you need to reschedule again, appear more than 15 minutes late, or fail to appear you will need to pay for the exam again.

Questions: What if there is a snowstorm and I cannot get there?

Answer: In the event of inclement weather/power failure/other unforeseen emergencies on the day of an examination, contact PSI or check their website.  The exam will usually not be rescheduled if the Test Center personnel are able to open the Center.

Question: What should I bring with me to the Test Center?

Answer: To gain admission, you must present two forms of identification: Current, government issued, with your name, signature and photograph (e. g. driver’s license, state ID, and military ID), and a secondary form to verify your signature (e.g., credit card with signature, social security card with signature, employment/student ID card with signature).

Question: What can I have with me during the test?

Answer: No personal items, valuables, or weapons should be brought to the Test Center. Only wallets, keys and silent, non-programmable calculators are permitted. All other items including coats, cellular/ smart phone, etc. must be left outside the testing room.

Note: Test Centers have strict rules about cell phones. Best to leave your cell phone at home or in the car.

You will be provided a soft locker to store your wallet and/or keys with you in the testing room. The proctor will lock the soft locker prior to you entering the testing room. You will not have access to these items until after the exam is completed.

Note:  Hats are not allowed to be worn during testing.

Questions: What is provided during the test?

Answer: Pencils, ABC’s standard formula sheet, and one piece of scratch paper at a time to use during the exam that must be returned before you leave. Eating, drinking or smoking is not permitted in the Test Center.

Questions: Can I use the calculator function on my cell phone?

Answer: No. You may bring a non-programmable calculator. Calculators in cell phones are not permitted in the Test Center.

Note: Practice using your calculator before the test! Be familiar with all the buttons /functions and try some sample calcs. Make sure it has fresh batteries / charged-up. Get help if needed before you arrive at the test center.

Question: What can I expect before I start the test? I’ve never done computer testing before.

Answer: Your photograph will be taken and will remain on-screen throughout the exam. You will be given the opportunity to practice taking an examination on the computer. The time you use for this practice exam is NOT counted as part of your exam time or score.

When you are comfortable with the computer testing process, you may quit the practice session and begin the timed examination. Instructions are provided onscreen. The computer monitors the time you spend on the exam. You have up to 3 hours for the test. The exam will terminate if you exceed the time allowed.

Question: How do I answer the questions?

Answer: Only one question is presented at a time. The question number appears in the lower right portion of the screen. Choices of answers to the examination question are identified as A, B, C, or D. You must indicate your choice by either typing in the letter in the response box in the lower left portion of the computer screen or clicking on the option using the mouse. To change your answer, enter a different option by typing in the letter in the response box or by clicking on the option using the mouse.

Question: Can I change an answer?

Answer: You may change your answer as many times as you wish during the exam time limit. To move to the next question, click on the forward arrow (>) in the lower right portion of the screen. If you wish to review any question or questions, click the backward arrow (>) to advance to the next unanswered or bookmarked question on the examination. To identify all unanswered and bookmarked questions, repeatedly click on the double arrows (>>).

Question: When will I receive my scores and certificate if I pass?

Answer: Upon completion, you will receive your test score and indication of passing if you answered at least 70% of the questions correctly. Your certificate will be mailed to you by NEIWPCC within 2 weeks of passing.

If you did not pass, you may take the exam as many times as you wish, but must wait at least two (2) business days between exam dates. You would need to schedule and pay for another test with PCI, but your NEIWPCC application is valid for 2 years of the original date.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice Answers, March

1. A
2. A
3. D
4. B
5. D
6. C
7. D
8. C
9. B
10. E
11. B
12. B

12.4 acres X 43,560 sq ft/acre = 540,144 sq ft = surface area of pond
The maximum depth is 5.5 ft, volume of pond  = 540,144 sq ft X 5.5 ft = 2,970,800 cu ft.

Amount of wastewater to store in cubit feet:

90,000 gal/day X 180 days / 7.5 cu ft/gal = 2,160,000 cu ft

Subtract the volume to be stored from the pond total volume:

2,970,800 cu ft – 2,160,000 cu ft = 810,800 cu ft

Divide the volume by volume needed by the surface area to get the amount of freeboard:
810,800 cu ft / 540,144 sq ft = 1.5 ft