August 2019 O&M Newsletter

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August 2019

In this issue:


August 13 - MRWA - Proper Sampling Techniques, Millinocket, BLWSO 3 TCH

August 20 - MRWA - Proper Sampling Techniques, Wiscasset, BLWSO 3 TCH

August 20 - MRWA - Groundwater Sanitary Survey Course for Water Operators & Public Water System Inspectors, North Berwick, BLWSO 6 TCH

August 21 - MRWA - Groundwater Sanitary Survey Course for Water Operators & Public Water System Inspectors, Searsport, BLWSO 6 TCH

August 27 - MRWA - Proper Sampling Techniques, Caribou, BLWSO 3 TCH

August 29 - MRWA - Groundwater Sanitary Survey Course for Water Operators & Public Water System Inspectors, Mexico, BLWSO 6 TCH

September 11 Thru 13 - MEWEA - 2019 Fall Convention, Northport, Variable TCH

September 17 - MRWA Test Taking Tips & Tricks, Westbrook, BLWSO 4 TCH, DEP 4 TCH

September 18, 19, & 26 - MRWA - Very Small Water System (VSWS) Certification Exam Prep Course (3 Day Course), Richmond BLWSO 15 TCH, DEP 7.5 TCH


Monthly Problem Set / For Practice, August

1. If the supernatant from an aerobic digester has high solids content and is returned headworks of the system, how will it most likely affect the activated sludge aeration basin?

a. Increase the DO level.
b. Increase the MCRT.
c. Increase the F/M ratio.
d. Increase the removal efficiency.

2. The concentration of dissolved oxygen that may be held in water?

a. Increases as temperature increased
b. decreases as temperature decreases
c. is independent of temperature
d. increases as temperature decreases

3. The type of solids that is the most difficult to remove using a standard biological treatment process is?

a. Organic dissolved
b. Inorganic dissolved
c. Organic suspended
d. Inorganic organized

4. You have a positive displacement pump that delivers 525 gpm against a head of 65 feet with an overall 80% efficiency.  If you pay 12.8¢ per kWh for electricity, how much will it cost you to run the pump 15 hours per day for a year?

a. $8,765
b. $5,845
c. $4,482
d. $2,615

5. The lagoon(s) of a spray irrigation treatment system should?

a. be as full as possible at all times to maximize treatment
b. be drained completely every year
c. have some freeboard to allow for periods when spraying is impossible
d. be allowed to overflow periodically to remove surface scum.

6. The spray irrigation area?

a. Must be heavily forested
b. Should be easily accessible
c. Can be used by the public while wastewater is being discharged
d. Can be used when there is standing water on the ground

Management Candidate School

JETCC is pleased to announce that the 11th year of Management Candidate School will begin on November 20th in York. Thank you to the York Sewer District for hosting the Class of 2020!

The Management Candidate School (MCS) is an 11-month training program that provides the intensive training, networking and skill-development coursework necessary to prepare the next generation of water and wastewater managers and leaders. With many of Maine's current water and wastewater managers at or near retirement age, it is hoped that the individuals who complete the MCS program will be able to continue the critical work of managing the state's water and wastewater treatment infrastructure. This exciting training program is aimed at mid-level operators with management potential.

This year’s MCS class of 19 wastewater and water operators will be graduating at the MEWEA Convention in September, bringing the total number of MCS graduates to 194.  Visit JETCC’s website at for updates.

Wastewater Operator School

JETCC would like to announce that the popular Wastewater Operator School will once again be offered in 2020.   This 6-month, 12-session school will give in-depth training to entry level operators, technicians, and other personnel seeking to increase their understanding of biological wastewater treatment concepts.

Classes will be held at the Portland Water District and other southern Maine treatment facilities and will meet every-other Thursday beginning January 9th.   Instruction will be led by industry consultants and professionals drawn from agencies and municipalities. Visit JETCC’s website at for updates.

MRWA Offers Classes for Certification Exam Prep

No matter how well prepared you are for your certification exam, there will always be questions that throw you for a loop. This fall MRWA will offer two classes to help operator’s get ready for their exams. The first, Test Taking Tips & Tricks is a 4-hour course designed to teach techniques for taking multiple choice exams. The course is not intended to replace the study an operator must undertake to prepare for a certification exam, but it will certainly help in those tight situations.

If you find math questions challenging, or it’s been awhile since you’ve been in school, a math refresher might be the answer. Break out those calculators for the Grade I & II Math Review, a 2-day course designed to cover applied math problems you may see on the test or use in your daily work as an operator.

For more information on these courses, call 207-737-4092 or go to

And for those more experienced operators who may be interested in teaching some of these prep courses, please call MRWA or visit their website for details at

Certification Update

Training Contact Hours (TCHs) obtained to fulfill continuing education requirements must be relevant to treatment plant operations. Typically training topics include equipment O&M, lab work, process control, instrumentation, etc. As an option, up to six Safety TCHs have been allowed for each 2-year biennial renewal cycle. Safety classes are designated by an ”S” in the approval number.

In April, Maine’s Water & Wastewater Professional Associations met with DEP to discuss the need for treatment system supervisors to obtain management skills to better work with their staff. Based on those discussions, DEP will now accept up to six TCHs for Management training courses. Management training will be designated by an “M” in the course approval number.

The combination of Safety and Management TCHs shall not exceed six hours for the 2-year biennial renewal cycle.

Training topics must be relevant to treatment system operations. Acceptable management training topics include planning, organizing, staffing, communication, conducting meetings, and public relations. Human Resources (HR), workplace policy, and general office training are not accepted for Management TCHs.

For more information, contact Judy Bruenjes at or call 207-287-7806.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice Answers, August

1.  (c) High solids in the supernatant will add food to the system, which will increase the F/M ratio.

2. (d) Colder water can hold more dissolved oxygen.

3. (b) Activated sludge systems remove dissolved organic solids by absorbing that material into the cells of the organisms in the sludge.  Organic and inorganic suspended solids are removed by physical settling in the secondary clarifiers.  There is, however, no biological or physical removal of dissolved, inorganic solids.

4. (c) Horsepower required = (flow in gpm × head in feet) / (efficiency × 3960)
    Horsepower requires = (375 × 75) / (0.75 × 3960) = 10.77 hp
    1 hp = .746 kW:  10.77 hp = 8.04 kW
    8.04 kw × 15 hr/day × 365 days/year = 45,661 kWh
    45,661 kWh  $0.128/kWh = $5,844.67

5. (c) The operator should always maintain some freeboard (the distance between the surface of the water in the lagoon and the tip of the lagoon dike) to allow for collection and treatment of wastewater during times when water cannot be sprayed on the treatment fields.

6.  (b) The area where the wastewater is strayed, whether on fields or in forested land should be easily accessible so that the spraying can be monitored and any problems be found and fixed.