March 2023 O&M Newsletter

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March 2023

In this issue:

Certification & Training Update

Odd-Numbered Certification Renewals March 1, 2023

If you hold an odd-numbered certification, and missed the March 1 2023 deadline, please be aware that you cannot serve as the Operator in Responsible Charge (ORC) or Operator of Record of your plant until “active” status is achieved. Your facility will need to designate another person to serve in this role. Contact your inspector for more information.

To renew after the March 1, 2023 deadline:

• Complete required TCHs and submit documentation to
• Renew online at
• In addition to $125 renewal fee, pay mandatory $100 late fee.

Note: There is a 6-month grace period to renew your certification. An Operator who fails to renew properly six months after their renewal deadline will need to retake the exam in order for their certificate to be reactivated.

Questions about renewals? Contact Spring Connolly at or call 207-253-8020.

Refer to the Department’s Wastewater Operator Certification Program website for details on certification renewal requirements:

Associations Offer In-Person Training

There are many benefits of online, virtual training: reduced costs, time-savings, greater flexibility and accessibility. Many people, however, are more comfortable and have better retention when they are in a traditional classroom setting with a live instructor. They find it easier to focus, ask questions, and interact with other attendees. To that end, here is a list of upcoming in-person training sessions and live conferences. Make sure to contact the organization to determine their attendance policies. And be on the look-out for the monthly training calendar that is emailed to all certified operators that contains both virtual and in-person options (also available on the DEP website: under Additional Material).

MRWA Training – For more information or to register, go to or contact Andrew Snowman at or call 207-530-6073.

• HDPE Pipe, Fittings, and Fusions. 3/14/23 and 9/14/23, EJP Bangor
Intro to HDPE pipe and fittings. An overview of fusion techniques: butt fusion, electrofusion, saddle fusion, and others. Type of fittings and components. How to select and work with HDPE fittings in a piping system. Technology updates.

• GIS/GPS Applications, 5/11/23, EJP Bangor
Participants in this workshop will learn how digital mapping and GPS tools can be used in managing rural water and wastewater systems.

MWUA Training – go to to register.

• Emergency Tabletop Exercise, 3/31/23-Houlton, 4/11/23-Bangor

Facilitated tabletop exercise to test response and mitigation of emergency response. Focus on mutual aid from neighboring utilities and resources from local, county and state agencies.

• Real-World Chemical Feed Pumps, 3/1/2023, Portland

Water treatment is a crucial and everyday task with which most systems must contend. Treatment chemicals must be dosed correctly, otherwise, the health of the public, environment, system, and more can be significantly affected.

Join MWUA and Ti-SALES as they take a deep dive into everything chemical feed pumps. From the types of pumps, to how to choose the best pump, to tips, tricks, and accessories to improve your chemical dosing; this presentation is perfect for anyone new to chemical feed pumps or those simply looking for new solutions! Don’t miss out! Whether you're new to the industry or a seasoned professional, there's something for everyone. Free breakfast, coffee, and refreshments will be provided to all attendees.

Upcoming Conferences

The North Country Convention (NCC) Returns to Presque Isle!

Mark your calendars for the North Country Convention (NCC)’s return to Northern Maine Community College (NMCC) in Presque Isle on April 5 & 6, 2023.

This 2-day educational event and trade show held in "The County" is co-sponsored by NEIWPCC-JETCC, MEWEA, and MWUA. NCC is designed to bring water and wastewater professional together for technical sessions, exhibitor interaction, luncheon speakers, and opportunities to network with others. Each day offers 6 training contact hours for Water and Wastewater operators. Participation in the entire conference offers 12 hours of training.

For more information, go to

Monthly Training Calendar

Every month the DEP emails to certified operators a list of upcoming training opportunities offered by non-profit organizations. The email also includes DEP-approved On-Demand classes taught by both public and private training providers. These lists are found on the DEP website, under Additional Materials. The website also lists DEP training policies, forms, and other resources.

For more information, contact


Monthly Problem Set / For Practice, March

1. The wastewater treatment process which commonly uses sludge re-aeration is called?

a. conventional activated sludge
b. contact stabilization
c. extended aeration
d. trickling filter

2. The laboratory test used to measure the concentration of hydrogen ions in water is called?

a. Turbidity
b. pH
c. Alkalinity
d. oxidation-reduction potential (ORP)

3. The volt is?

a. the basic unit of electrical power
b. the basic unit of electrical potential
c. the basic unit of electrical resistance
d. the basic unit of electrical current

4. If too much aeration is provided in the aeration basin, what is most likely to happen in the secondary clarifier(s)?

a. the settling of the activated sludge will improve
b. the oxygen uptake will increase
c. the sludge will become bulky and hard to settle
d. there will be small floc particles on the surface of the clarifier

5. A wastewater treatment plant receives waste from domestic users and an industry. The influent flow is 750,000 g.p.d. and the influent BOD averages 175 mg/l. If an average of 0.17 lb/person/day is assumed for domestic waste, what is the population equivalent served by the plant?

a. 2,537
b. 6,439
c. 10,342
d. 34,582

Wells Sanitary District (WSD) Quick Response to Generator Room Fire

Thanks to the quick action and dedication of the crew at Wells Sanitary District (WSD), the Wells Fire Department, and surrounding communities, a serious incident was avoided.

On January 23, the POTW lost power due to a winter storm so the plant electrical system switched to the backup generator, and all seemed well.

As the crew was preparing to leave for the day on the 24th, alarms begin to sound. Superintendent Nick Rico discovered a fire burning in the generator room. The 43-year-old generator had overheated and partially ignited the wood roof, catching the ceiling of the generator building on fire. Luckily, the alarm system is monitored by the Wells Fire Department, who were automatically alerted and had crews on the scene and the fire out within 7 minutes. The fire department immediately got to work opening the roof to the building and successfully doused the flames, averting further damage.

The location of the fire did WSD no favors. The generator was located in the same room as the electrical distribution system. Between the heat from the flames and the water, much of the electrical and SCADA systems were damaged, knocking the plant offline entirely.

The first action was to discontinue the bulk of the flow coming to the plant. Within 30 minutes two pump stations were manually shut down to lower the influent to a minimum. The Town of Wells scrambled to get word out to the community to keep flows to a minimum where possible. Four contracted vactor trucks from Nest and Sons, Inc. and A-1 Environmental Services immediately started bypassing flow from the pump stations to the Ogunquit Sewer District.

Next, the WSD staff was able to restore disinfection (chlorination and dechlorination) back online using a small portable generator.

Without power, minimal in-flow and an effluent pump offline, the plant was sitting idle and acting as a giant primary clarifier. Aid from neighboring utilities came to the rescue in the form of a 125kW generator from Ogunquit Sewer and a 200kW generator from KKWWD (Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District). A WSD electrician along with help from Electrical Installations, Inc began wiring the borrowed generators into the building. Due to the damage in the primary electrical distribution system, wiring had to be jury-rigged through separated electrical rooms, with a web of wires crossing the floors.

The first part of the plant brought back to life was the effluent pump, followed by the headworks. Next, the crew brought the pump stations back online after having to truck 100,000 gallons of flow to Ogunquit. Over the next couple of hours, the crew would work on getting aeration, SCADA, and any remaining sections of the plant back online. The crew was finally able to lock up and turn off the lights just before 1 AM.

While the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) covered the rallying points in the case of a fire, no manuals instructed the operators on the steps to take in a situation such as this. The response actions taken by the WSD staff were made in real time based on the immediate situation and years of experience. Well-thought-out and executed actions kept the flow over the effluent weir running clear for the duration of the night’s events.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the crew, fire departments, surrounding communities, good neighbors, and a little bit of luck, total upset of the plant was avoided. WSD has lots of work to do before the plant is back to normal, but one thing is certain:

We can bet the new generator will live outdoors!

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Project Solicitation

The CWSRF program will send out an email in March to wastewater municipalities, districts, and engineers, soliciting projects to be funded through the CWSRF program. The solicitation has two purposes. First, we must demonstrate to EPA that the State has a list of potential projects, which 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 govern 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 2023. We expect to know those amounts soon.

President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) on Monday, November 15, 2021. This is a big and bold investment in our nation's infrastructure. For the State of Maine’s CWSRF program, we anticipate this supplemental CWSRF funding to be $15.95M for 2023, with an increasing annual amount from this fund through 2026.

Between the base CWSRF, the BIL Supplemental CWSRF, BIL Emerging Contaminant CWSRF, and the CWSRF repayments that come back into the program for reuse, we will have an estimated $78.5M in available funds, of which an estimated $12.6M will be in the form of principal forgiveness and/or grants. In the past, the base CWSRF and the CWSRF repayments for reuse would only provide an estimated $50M in funds, of which $4.9M was given in the form of principal forgiveness. This is a significant increase in funding for our wastewater community at this time of need.

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. This FSP PF funding requires a 100% match from the applicant. We will also offer PF funding, up to $25,000, for the development of a Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP) (no match required).

To the extent funding is available, 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. The intent of the standalone FSP loans is to source funding outside the CWSRF when borrowing for the 100% applicant match, which simplifies the loan process and 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 the Bond Counsel.

Applications noted must be submitted to by 5:00 p.m., April 14th, 2023.

For more information or questions , please visit the CWSRF webpage for the announcement letter, application forms, and supporting documents at SRF Loan Fund, Maine Department of Environmental Protection or contact Brandy Piers, CWSRF Program Manager at

NetDMR Update - Adding & Removing Users

Over the course of the year changes in personnel, either due to hiring new employees or employees taking new opportunities, can make it necessary to remove access for previous employees or to add access for new employees.

The first step to add a new user in NetDMR is to create an account through CDX (Central Data Exchange). CDX is one of the electronic reporting sites used by EPA to receive legally defensible data in various formats. Instructions for setting an account can be found here:

Tutorial on Creating a CDX Account | US EPA

Please note that most users should select Permittee-Signature account type when creating their account. This will allow the user to request access to the to any role. The most commonly used roles in NetDMR are Edit and Signatory. Users that have been approved for the Edit role can enter DMR data in NetDMR but are not authorized to digitally “Sign and Submit” the DMR data. To enter and submit compliance DMR data a user must be approved for the Signatory role in NetDMR. For the Signatory role to be approved, Maine DEP must receive the subscriber agreement signed by both the person requesting the signatory access and the Responsible Official at the facility where the request has been initiated.

Information on requesting signatory access to permits can be found here:

NetDMR Help Center - How to Request a Signatory Role (

In general, it is best to contact the NetDMR coordinator prior to starting a request for the Signatory role to confirm the correct person to use as the Responsible Official on the signature agreement.

To remove an employee’s NetDMR access a person with active Signatory role for the permit should send a letter to the NetDMR coordinator stating the name and email address along with a brief description of the reason for removing the employee’s access to the permit. This letter should be on the letterhead for the facility that is submitting the request to have the employee’s access to their permit removed.

If you have any questions related to NetDMR please contact Brett Goodrich at 207-287-9034 or

Paying Tribute to Stuart Rose

After a respectable 31 years with the Department, Mr. Stuart Rose began his retirement last month, but his hopes and plans for this new chapter were tragically cut short last week when Stuart passed away unexpectedly.

Stuart held a master's in geology and said he "knew nothing about wastewater" when he first applied for the position of environmental specialist in 1992, but he took the plunge “working in some weird environmental protection capacity on something I did not know.”

According to Stuart, he had previously worked as a welder, tree man, bicycle shop repairman, geologist at nuclear mine, furniture warehouse, building boxes for glass sheets, meat packing, wire making plant, concrete pipe plant, counting gamma rays under Sandia crest, documenting asbestos, and selling magazines. He clearly found his calling working with the MEPDES Compliance and Technical Assistance Unit in the DEP southern regional office, eventually leading the staff in a successful decades-long career.

Stuart was clearly impressed with the hard work by wastewater personnel he witnessed through the years. In his own words:

”…it’s hard to forget the dedication of so many wastewater treatment plant operators, staff, and managers. Often times they are up against situations they didn’t create, having to improvise in the face of new regulations and programs implemented by the government…put yourself in the shoes of some operator who gets an alarm in the middle of the night, gathers a crew and goes forth to fix that malfunctioning pump. Hail to the folks bound to a pager in a job that civilization depends upon running 24/7. I salute you.”

Colleagues will remember Stuart for his many years of service and commitment to DEP and the state of Maine, as well as for his work and volunteerism in support of the Children's Water Festival, his eclectic taste in music and art, and his amazing sense of humor.

To Stuart's family and friends, we offer our sincere sympathies.

Monthly Problem Set / For Practice Answers, March

1. Answer: b – Contact Stabilization uses a contact tank where the raw wastewater in mixed with return activated sludge for a short period. The sludge is separated from the clean water in a secondary clarifier and the sludge is pumped to a re-aeration tank where the bugs digest the food that has been adsorbed in the contact tank.

2. Answer: b – The concentration of hydrogen ions in water is measured by the pH, which is the negative logarithm of the effective hydrogen ion concentration in an aqueous (water) solution.

3. Answer: b – Electric potential is analogous to pressure in a water system. The basic unit of potential is the volt.

4. Answer: d – Over-aeration tends to break up the floc particles in the aeration tanks. The small floc particles do not settle as well as larger flocs and will tend to float to the surface of the clarifier with the upflow current.

5. Answer: b – Daily Loading = 0.75 mg * 175 mg/L * 8.34 lb/gal = 1,094.6 lb
Population equivalent = 1,094.6 lb / 0.17 lb/person = 6,439 persons