November 2021 O&M Newsletter

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November 2021

In this issue:

Training & Conference Opportunities

The Department has been sending a monthly schedule to certified operators of webinars/ training events approved for TCHs. Also included is a spreadsheet of companies and associations that offer on-demand virtual training. The schedule can be found on the DEP website,

EPA Cybersecurity Workshop – November 3 and 4

Recent cyber-attacks on water and wastewater systems in the U.S. have manipulated treatment processes, disabled process control and business enterprise systems, and stolen proprietary data.

The U.S. EPA is sponsoring a series of free virtual workshops on water sector cybersecurity. These workshops consist of two half-day sessions held on November 3rd and 4th.

Attend this FREE webinar and learn cybersecurity best practices and incident response planning to prevent or mitigate many of these attacks.

Topics include cyber threats and risk drivers, resources to bolster cybersecurity, cyber vulnerability assessments of water and wastewater systems, incident response exercises, enhancing cybersecurity and mitigating risks.

For more information or questions regarding workshop registration, please contact: Sarah Bartlett at

Water Lab Alliance (WLA) Security Summit – November 16-18

Water Sector-related emergencies demand attention and adequate preparation, especially during a global public health crisis. The U.S. EPA Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) Security Summit will take place VIRTUALLY on NOVEMBER 16-18, 2021 and is free of charge.

The virtual Security Summit will feature state of the art discussions on challenges that are presented by climate change and cyber security threats; environmental justice in the Water Sector, and a collaborative tabletop exercise which includes a scenario-based water contamination event.

There are a limited number of virtual seats, so register soon by emailing

MRWA’s 41st Annual Conference & Trade Show - DECEMBER 7-9, 2021

MRWA’s Annual Conference & Trade Show has a new location – the beautiful Samoset Resort in Rockport Maine.

This in-person event will feature speakers, vendors, and networking opportunities. The trade show, accommodations, and all activities will be located within the resort.

Located on over 230 acres of waterfront property, the resort boasts incredible views of Penobscot Bay and offers the perfect setting to welcome our exhibitors and attendees back in person after almost two years of meeting virtually! Does it get any better than that?

For more information, go to, or contact Kathleen Brill, at 207-513-6786,

NEWEA Annual Conference and Exhibit– January 23-26, 2022 in Boston, MA

NEWEA’s Annual Conference and Exhibit will be held January 23-26, 2022 in Boston, MA. Navigating the Tides: Fostering Diversity and Leading Change is NEWEA’s premier event.

NEWEA Annual Conference and NEWEA has always been recognized to convene the brightest minds and the most innovative water quality solutions in one place. These are the people who impact and improve your everyday life. There is no better demonstration of these influential industry leaders than at NEWEA’s Annual Conference.

This prestigious conference, which consistently attracts over 2100 engineers, consultants, scientists, operators and students features a variety of technical sessions and over 200 exhibitor displays. The conference provides an opportunity for professional exchange of information and state-of-the-art concepts in wastewater treatment and other water environment issues.

The NEWEA Annual Conference is a great forum to meet colleagues, professional allies, make new friends and exchange information.
To register, go to

Community College Water/ Wastewater Classes this Winter

Get ready for virtual and hybrid community college classes in Water and Wastewater Technology. Whether you are pursuing an Associate’s degree, certificate program, or just want to take a class or two, operators have three community college programs to choose from: Southern Maine Community College System (SMCC) in South Portland, Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) in Presque isle, and Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA.

So dust off those textbooks, get out your slide rule, and contact the instructors for more information: SMCC - Patrick Wiley, NMCC - Gilles St Pierre, Bristol CC - Robert Rak

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice, November

Wet Weather Flow

1. The purpose of a wet weather high flow plan is to assist the operator when

a. It is raining
b. It is snowing
c. The plant is below the design flow
d. The plant exceeds the design flow

2. A collection system is prepared for wet weather by

a. Removing industrial flows
b. Tying-in homeowners’ sump pumps
c. Minimizing runoff and infiltration
d. Catching storm runoff before it can hit the receiving waters

3. Concentrated “first flush” in a collection system

a. Should be prevented by regularly cleaning gravity sewer lines
b. Keeps the system properly maintained by preventing solids build-up
c. Is more efficient to treat than diluted flow
d. Increases flow

4. Inspecting manholes for inflow is best performed during

a. High flow events
b. Droughts
c. Winter months
d. Design flows

5. Significant wet weather may increase the need for back-up power generation due to

a. Increased fuel prices
b. Energy surge
c. High wind and power utility damage
d. Solids loss

6. Before a wet weather events occur, operators should

a. Identify which processes are affected by wet weather
b. Omit certain processes from the assessment
c. Put the plan in place any time it rains
d. Only allow managers to implement the plan

7. A wet weather high flow plan should

a. Establish trigger for preparatory actions to be taken, with a hierarchy of actions planned
b. Outline steps to be taken before, during and after a wet weather event
c. Delineate who is responsible for implementing each step, and who maintains overall control during a wet weather event
d. All of the above

8. In anticipation of a wet weather event, operators should

a. Increase secondary clarifier blankets to help “dampen” fluctuating flows
b. Increase side stream flows to dilute incoming “first flush”
c. Remove excess treatment trains so the water flows through the system quickly
d. Pump down tanks to maximize storage in the system
e. Turn off chlorine dosage to preserve chemicals

9. Which of these are retrofits that can be made to reduce the impacts of wet weather?

a. Installing tide-flex valves to limit receiving water backflow
b. Moving critical components from below grade to higher ground
c. Installing water-tight doors to vulnerable pump stations
d. All of the above

10. Important considerations for emergency preparation include

a. Top off diesel generators
b. Prepare alternative communications, such as 2-way radios
c. Move vehicles to higher ground
d. All of the above

11. Given the following data, calculate the velocity in cubic feet per second (cfs) in the channel during a wet weather event

DATA: 2.5 ft. wide
Flow depth is 1.4 ft
Dry weather flow is 7.2 mgd, increasing to 20 mgd during wet weather

a. 3.11 fps
b. 8.8 fps
c. 11.1 fps
d. 31 fps

12. The flow to a sedimentation tank 80 ft long, 30 ft wide, and 10 ft deep is 3.7 MGD. During wet weather, the flow increases to 5 MGD due to inflow and infiltration. Find the detention time in minutes during rain events.

a. 6.9 min
b. 52 min
c. 180 min
d. 240 min

Maine Chapter 550 - Discontinuation of Wastewater Treatment Lagoons

Entities that wish to discontinue use of a wastewater treatment lagoon permitted by the DEP MEDPES program, either temporarily or permanently, must follow 06-096 Chapter 550: Discontinuation of Wastewater Treatment Lagoons.

The Rule provides for the protection of water quality whenever it becomes necessary to discharge the contents of a lagoon to a body of water in the process of discontinuing the use of a lagoon as a treatment process.

Chapter 550 requires any person who discontinues the use of a lagoon to give written notice to the DEP Commissioner, in writing, no later than fifteen (15) days after wastewaters have ceased to enter the lagoon.

For temporary discontinuance, the contents of the lagoon must be maintained in an aerobic
condition. Solids of any type inconsistent with the discharge license may not be discharged, and the lagoon itself may only be emptied in accordance with the permit.

Permanent closure requires several steps:

- The lagoon contents are diluted with uncontaminated water until the lagoon effluent complies with the final discharge parameters. The lagoon is emptied at a flow rate consistent with the receiving water classification requirements.

- The sludge remaining in the lagoon must be removed and properly disposed of. Methods include dewatering, disposal in a landfill, use as a soil conditioner, or other alternatives. All sludge removal/ disposal plans must be approved by the appropriate DEP staff.

- Within 15 days of sludge removal, the lagoon area is graded and seeded to prevent erosion and/ or leaching into surface and ground waters.

- If water enters the lagoon during the closure operations, it must be removed in accordance with the Rule.

Seasonal lagoons can apply to the DEP for an exemption to some of these requirements.

For more information, contact your compliance inspector.

DMR QA Study 41 Update

DMR-QA study 41 is winding down. The due date for permittees to submit their signed copy of the NPDES Permittee Data Report Form, copies of the PT Provider-graded test results, and copies of Chemistry/ Microbiology and WET Checklists for each laboratory used to the DMR-QA coordinator is October 22, 2021.

For those who failed a test, a Corrective Action (CA) report is due to Maine DEP by December 17th. This can be a short email describing why you think you failed and what changes you are making to correct the problem for the future. The CA report could include such things as replacing or updating instrumentation, calibrations, enhanced cleaning procedures, purchasing new glassware, alternate DI water source, improved techniques, analyst training, and data validation procedures.

Also due to Maine DEP by December 17th are retest results for the failed analytes. If you also fail the retest, Maine DEP will review the situation and CA report. Possible outcomes for repeat failures include technical assistance, analyst training, and splitting samples with commercial laboratories. Depending on the circumstances, Maine DEP may require the facility to use a commercial lab until such time that the MEPDES lab can show proficiency for in-house testing.

If you have any questions about the DMR-QA program, or need to update your contact information, please contact the DMR-QA coordinator at or call 207-287-9034.

Certification Update

March 1, 2022 Online Renewals is Open

Renewal letters for even-numbered certificates were mailed last month. If you do not receive a notice, please contact NEIWPCC at 207-253-8020. Online renewals begin October 1.

Renewals include paying renewal fee ($125), updating contact information, and providing documentation that you obtained required TCH.

To check the accepted TCHs for each operator listed by certificate number, go to If you completed a class that is not posted, please send the TCH request form and required information to

DEP has been emailing a training list to operators monthly that includes webinars, on-demand virtual training, in-person classes and professional conferences. The list can be found on the DEP website under Additional Materials, Monthly Calendar,

Contact the training provider for more information or to register. Participants should request a Certificate of Completion to verify attendance.

If you would like to attend a wastewater course or Webinar that is not listed, please submit the Request for Training Contact Hour (TCH) form found on the DEP website to

Don’t wait to get your TCHs! There are many webinars, on-demand classes, correspondence courses, and professional conference opportunities available. Many are free or low cost.

Please contact Judy Bruenjes, with any questions.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice Answers, November

1. d
2. c
3. a
4. d
5. c
6. a
7. d
8. d
9. d
10. d

11. Use the equation Q (flow) = Velocity (V) X Area (A).
Rearrange to solve for velocity: V = Q/A
Find the area: L X W = 3.5 square feet (sf)
Convert the flow from MGD to cubic feet per second (CFS) Use the wet weather flow:
20 mgd X day/1440 min X 1,000,000 / 7.5 cf/gal X min/60 sec = 31 cfs
Plug into formula: V = 31 cfs / 3.5 sf = 8.8 fps

Answer is b

12. Use the equation detention time (D.T.) = volume / flow.

Find the volume of the sedimentation basin in gallons:

80 ft X 30 ft X 10 ft X 7.5 gal/cu ft = 180,000 gal

D.T. = 180,000 gal / 5,000,000 gal per day X 1440 min/day = 52 minutes.

Answer is b