September 2023 O&M Newsletter

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In this issue:

DEP Chapter 531 Update.


The Board of Environmental Protection recently adopted revisions to the Department rule Chapter 531 that covers wastewater treatment plant classification and operator certification requirements. This completed a multi-year process that included stakeholder meetings and a public comment period. The new rule can be found at this website:

Key changes include: reformatting and updates for clarity, changes from paper-based to computer-based testing, adding a definition section, revised classification of wastewater plants to include unit operations and complexity in the plant rating, steps a person must take to reinstate their certification following revocation, changes to contract operations (ConOps) requirements to allow up to 90-days of an interim contract pending Department approval of a final ConOps contract, a professional code of conduct to be followed by operators, a new Provisional operator classification, and changes to the education and experience requirements for certain grade levels.  The Department will be providing additional information about the ch 531 revisions on the Department’s training and certification website,  

For more information, contact

MEWEA Fall Convention.

The Maine Water Environment Association (MEWEA) will hold its annual Fall Convention at Sunday River in Newry, Maine on September 20-22, 2023. The Convention is attended by clean water, drinking water and stormwater professionals and provides a great opportunity for networking and to learning about new technologies and innovations.

The Fall Convention kicks off on September 20th with an optional golf tournament or recreation on your own. Visit the Sunday River website at for additional recreation opportunities. In addition, technical sessions, with allotted times for vendor interaction, there will be a Thursday afternoon Meet & Greet followed by a cornhole tournament with food and beverages sponsored by the Collection Systems Committee.

For more information or to register, visit

MRWA’s Apprenticeship Program - Building Our Industry Workforce.

MRWA’s Apprenticeship Program is a nationally recognized program for candidates with limited or no experience. It is divided into three different tracks, Water, Wastewater, and Joint Water and Wastewater. Each apprentice is assigned a mentor during their time in the program. MRWA staff will work with facilities to help select mentors, provide coaching, and create a nationally recognized schedule of work. MRWA will also provide the apprentice with technical training, including certification prep for professional licensure. Interested in learning more? Candidates can submit their information for the program through this online application: CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION

Management Candidate School (MCS) Returns.

Training and development

JETCC is pleased to announce the return of the Management Candidate School (MCS). The Class of 2024 will meet monthly at the Town of Yarmouth’s new public safety building beginning November 8, 2023.  MCS is a collaboration between JETCC, Maine DEP, Maine DHHS, Maine Water Environment Association (MEWEA), and the Maine Water Utilities Association (MWUA).

This 11-month training program provides the intensive training, networking, and skill-development coursework necessary to prepare the next generation of water and wastewater managers and leaders. Topics include budgeting, blueprint reading, engineering basics, construction planning, personnel management, media relations, and dealing with regulatory agencies.

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.

For information about the upcoming MCS program, click here. For general information, contact Peter Zaykoski at JETCC or (207) 253-8020.

Veolia Academy Offers Free Water/ Wastewater Online Training.

Workforce is one of the top three stressors among all water and wastewater utilities in the United States. It all starts with finding qualified candidates, a barrier to entry that holds many back from achieving operator status.

To address this industry-wide problem, Veolia Academy is now offering online water and wastewater training classes FREE OF CHARGE. Many of these classes are approved by the Maine DEP for continuing education credit. 

For more information about the online, self-paced education platform, visit

JETCC Announces New In-Person and Virtual Training Starting this Fall .

Registration is now available by contacting JETCC at 207-253-8020 or online by visiting their training calendar.

In-Person Classes: 

Wastewater 101, Sept. 27-28, 2023, Portland Water District, Portland, 12 TCHs. Introduction for operators new to the wastewater field.  It will introduce definitions, terminology, and concepts of biological wastewater treatment. We will also cover abbreviations, vocabulary, practice exam questions, and wastewater math. Instructed by Judy Bruenjes, Maine DEP, and Mac Richardson, LAWPCA (retired).

NEWEA Lab Analyst 1 Certification Exam Prep, Oct. 10-11, 2023, Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District, Waterville, 12 TCHs. This two-day, 12-hour course is intended for those preparing to take the NEWEA Lab Analyst I Certification exam. Participants will receive basic to intermediate instruction on laboratory practices. Instructed by Phyllis Arnold Rand, Compass Rose Training Solutions.

NEWEA Collection System Certification Exam Prep, Oct. 25-26, 2023, F.W. Webb Company, Hampden, 12 TCHs. This two-session, 12-hour in-person course is intended for those preparing to take Grades 1 through 4 of the NEWEA Collection Systems Certification exams. Participants will receive instruction on collection system operation and maintenance (O&M). Instructed by Don Kennedy, NEIWPCC.


Proper Application of Industrial Tanks and Process Electrical Heat, October 5, 2023, 2 TCHs. As urban centers grow and treatment facilities handle larger volumes of influent, having effective O&M procedures in place is vital for their long-term success. Two commonly overlooked areas of maintenance are the proper use of tanks and electric heating. In this course we will discuss these areas in detail. Instructed by Jay Frenette and Rob Zerrillo from Eastern Reliability.

NEWEA Collection System Math Primer, October 19, 2023, 3 TCHs. This optional prerequisite to our NEWEA Collection Systems Certification Exam Prep course is intended for those who need to brush up on their basic math skills prior to attending the exam prep course. Instructed by Don Kennedy, NEIWPCC.

NEWEA Announces Fall Conference Schedule

September 13, 2023 - CEC/Plant Operations Conference, Publick House, Sturbridge, MA Tackling Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Water Cycle through Advancements in Plant Operations  Learn More >>

September 29, 2023 – NEWEA Golf Classic, Derryfield Country Club, Manchester, NH  REGISTRATION >>

October 17, 2023 – Energy/Plant Operations Technical Session & Tour, NBC Field’s Point WWTF, Providence, RI. REGISTRATION >>

October 24-25, 2023 – NE-NYWEA Risk & Resiliency Conference & Exhibit, The Stamford Hotel, Stamford, CT  LEARN MORE >> 

November 1-2, 2023 – NorthEast Residuals & Biosolids Conference, Exhibit, Tour, The Venue at Portwalk Place, Portsmouth, NH  LEARN MORE >>

November 8, 2023 – NEWWA / NEWEA Information Technology & Asset Management Fair, Holliston, MA  ABSTRACT DEADLINE IS AUG 30TH LEARN MORE >>

November 13, 2023 – Small Communities Conference, Foxboro, MA.      .  LEARN MORE >>

January 21-24, 2024 – Annual Conference & Exhibit, Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, Boston, MA. LEARN MORE >>

Resources, forms, and guidance documents.

Information on the Department’s Wastewater Operator Certification Program can be found at the website  The Additional Materials section provides links to training documents, forms, public and private training providers, and a calendar of upcoming training opportunities offered by non-profit organizations.  The calendar is emailed to certified operators monthly.

The NEIWPCC/JETCC website, provides information on signing up for an exam, training classes, and certification renewal.  Contact call Spring Conolly at or call 207-253-8020 for more information.

DMR-QA Study 43 Update.

Everyone that is enrolled in the DMR-QA program should have submitted results to their PT provider for DMR-QA study 43, the due date was August 4th, 2023. PT providers have until September 1st to send graded results to DMR-QA study participants. Results must be submitted to the DMR-QA Coordinator by September 29th.

Once you receive your graded results, please review carefully. If your facility received any non-acceptable results you will need to perform a corrective action investigation to attempt to determine the cause of the non-acceptable result. Once the investigation is completed, and any necessary changes are made to procedures, equipment etc., you will need to order a blind re-test PT sample for all parameters with non-acceptable results.

Results of passing re-rests along with a summary of the corrective action step must be submitted to the DMR-QA coordinator by November 9th, 2023.

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.

Sanford Adult Education Offers Remote Chemistry Class.

This course is designed to make learning chemistry easy and offers students individualized instruction, a variety of learning mediums, simplified concepts and even virtual labs all in a remote setting! Start building the foundation you need to enter medical and science majors with confidence and tools to succeed.

Classes held Tuesdays and Thursday from 5-8 pm for 10 weeks starting September 12.  Please email for more information.

For Practice.

1.  Which of the following is a common cause of filamentous bulking in a secondary clarifier?

A.  Aeration D.O. too low

B.  SRT too low

C.  RAS rate too high

D.  Aeration D.O. too high


2.  What may cause CBOD5 in the effluent to be unacceptable high?

A.  Aeration rate too high

B.  SRT too high

C.  F/M ratio too low

D.  Aeration rate too low


3.  What may be the most probable cause for slow settling MLSS?

A.  High RAS rate

B.  Filamentous bacterial growth

C.  Balanced F/M ratio

D.  Low sludge blanket


4.  What may be the best adjustment to make if pin floc in the clarifier is increasing TSS in the effluent to unacceptable levels?

A.  Increase the SRT

B.  Decrease the F/M ratio

C.  Decrease the SRT

D.  Decrease the WAS rate


5.  Approximately how many gallons of wastewater would 600 ft of 6-in pipe hold

A.  740 gal

B.  880 gal

C.  900 gal

D.  930 gal


6.  Chlorine is added to wastewater at a constant rate of 100 pounds in 24 hours. The wastewater flow averages 1.4 MGD.  How much chlorine would be used in 6 hours?

A.  6 pounds

B.  100 pounds

C.  37.5 pounds

D.  25 pounds


7.  Effluent Biochemical Oxygen Demand should be in the range of:

A.  Greater than 30 mg/l

B.  Less than 30 mg/l

C.  Approximately 100 mg/l per million gallons

D.  BOD is rarely present in effluent, as it is broken down to become TSS


8.  A tricking filter will not operate effectively if:

A.  The activated carbon filter become porous

B.  Ponding occurs

C.  The distribution arms rotate clockwise

D.  The RAS rate is insufficient



Question 1. A: Aeration D.O. too low

Filamentous bulking is typically caused by low dissolved oxygen (between 0.4 to 0.8 ppm) and low food availability ... low F/M ratio.


Question 2.  D: Aeration rate too low

Under-aeration may cause CBOD5 to leave the aeration process and enter the clarifier effluent without being oxidized (consumed or converted). Increasing the aeration rate usually resolves this problem.


Question 3.  B: Filamentous bacterial growth.

Slow settling MLSS may be caused from an over-population of filamentous bacteria.  Also, high MLSS concentrations, with or without filamentous bacteria, may cause the MLSS to settle slow.


Question 4.  C: Decrease the SRT.

Pin floc is typically the result of old sludge with a high SRT and a low F/M ratio. Increasing the WAS rate, which will decrease the SRT and increase the F/M ratio, is the normal process adjustment to reduce the pin floc condition.


Question 5.  B: 880 gal. 

Use the formula for volume, 0.785 X Diameter X Diameter X Length X 7.48 gal/cu ft.

(change 6 inches to ½ foot)

Volume = 0.785 X 0.5 ft X 0.5 ft X 600 ft X 7.48 = 880 gal


Question 6.  D: 25 pounds. 

6 hours is ¼ of a day, so 100 pounds per day / 4 = 25 pounds.


Question 7. B: Less than 30 mg/l.


Question 8. B: Ponding occurs