Certifications in wastewater treatment are typically available through state agencies. These agencies often offer training courses and study materials that help students prepare for their certification examinations. While states have different requirements for becoming a certified wastewater treatment operator, all applicants must successfully pass wastewater operator certification examinations.
In some cases, in order to apply for certification, prospective operators must be currently employed at a state wastewater treatment facility. An education in wastewater management may be desirable, but work experience may qualify some individuals for certification exams.
Types of Certifications
Wastewater treatment facilities can either be industrial or domestic. Industrial facilities are divided into four classes - industrial, metal, paper and dairy - and each of those classes has three levels. The levels are based on the design and the amount of water processed at each plant.
Domestic facilities have five separate classes, ranging from simple treatment processes to more intricate ones. There are also several subclasses for which operators can become certified. Operators can receive provisional certifications that are not renewable, or full certifications, which can be renewed after a number of years.
Here is an outline of common concepts taught in wastewater treatment courses:
- Environmental systems
- Safety procedures
- Methods of water cleaning
- Contamination disposal
- Equipment maintenance
- Biological treatments
- Thermal processes
- Soil disposal systems
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List of Common Classes
Introduction to Wastewater Treatment
Problem-solving techniques and knowledge of environmental systems are focal points of this class. Participants gain knowledge of wastewater chemistry, sedimentation, disinfection, treatment options and coagulation. Students are also taught to understand various wastewater treatment processes.
Ecosystems for Treatment of Waste Course
Ecological waste treatment systems are analyzed in this course. Students become familiar with components such as marsh systems, stratifiers, reactors and biofilters. They are also instructed in the design and maintenance of an ecosystem.
Hazardous Waste Management Course
This class looks at methods in which wastewater is disposed, handled and treated. Topics of this course include engineering management and control of hazardous wastewater soil processes, along with engineering evaluation and analysis. The characteristics and sources of hazardous wastewaters are examined as well. Course topics may include hazardous waste introduction, facility and operations development, biological treatments, thermal processes and land disposal.