WSR 99-12-038

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Order 98-18-- Filed May 26, 1999, 1:16 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-18-074.

Title of Rule: Chapter 173-230 WAC, Certification of operators of wastewater treatment plants.

Purpose: Protect public health and the state's waters by insuring a minimum level of competency of individuals responsible for operating domestic wastewater treatment plants. The rule establishes minimum standards for obtaining and maintaining a wastewater operator certificate.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 70.95B RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 70.95B RCW.

Summary: The rule establishes who must be certified, the minimum education and experience qualifications to be eligible for certification, how to become certified, the conditions for maintaining a certificate, and the criteria for classifying wastewater treatment plants.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: This revision streamlines administrative processes; eliminates obsolete language; clarifies existing language; eliminates the subsidy of free exam retakes; provides the ability to use updated certification exams, and simplifies the way wastewater treatment plants are classified which is used to determine the level of certification necessary to properly operate and maintain a plant.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Myra Barker, Ecology Headquarters, Lacey, (360) 407-6449.

Name of Proponent: Department of Ecology, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This rule establishes qualifications for obtaining and maintaining a wastewater operator certificate. It also establishes mandatory certification for the operator in charge of a plant or a shift at a plant. This helps to insure that these plants are properly operated and maintained to protect public health and the state's waters. The rule also provides the criteria for classifying wastewater treatment plants so that an operator's certification level is commensurate with the level or complexity of the wastewater treatment plant being operated.

The rule affects owners of domestic wastewater treatment plants, primarily local governments, and operators of those plants.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The revision would:

Clarify the language in the rule to eliminate conditions established when it was first adopted and have been met and includes changes made to the statute by the legislature.
Streamline the certificate renewal process by changing to first class mail service for mailing notices of revocation of operator certificates to the employer resulting in cost savings of $300 per year.
Eliminate exam free retakes and add an exam fee to help cover the costs of administering exams and to be able to obtain validated exams to provide a better measure of competency.
Add a condition that requests for temporary certificates be accompanied by an application and application fee.
Simplify the classification system for wastewater treatment plant.

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement

INTRODUCTION: The Regulatory Fairness Act (chapter 19.85 RCW) requires that proposed rules or rule amendments be evaluated to determine if disproportionate burdens are imposed on small versus large businesses. If any are found, mitigation must be provided to the extent feasible and legal under the statute being implemented. Evaluation of the above-referenced proposed rule-making action has resulted in the conclusions that costs or other burdens imposed on businesses are minor, and unlikely to be disproportionate as between small and large businesses in any event. The remainder of this document summarizes the basis for these conclusions.

BACKGROUND: Chapter 70.95 RCW and the currently existing chapter 173-230 WAC require that principal operating personnel (operators in responsible charge and operators in charge of shifts) of wastewater treatment plants be certified as to their experience, education and training, and competence to perform their duties. Other operating personnel are encouraged to become certified on a voluntary basis. The existing rule also sets forth the experience and education and training qualifications for various levels of wastewater treatment plant operator certification, establishes an examination process and fee schedule, and a system for classifying wastewater treatment plants in order to determine the level of operator certification needed in each case. The proposed rule amendments modify the fee schedule and plant classification system and, in addition, eliminate obsolete provisions, revise language for greater clarity, and incorporate other statutory changes that have occurred since the last revision of the rule. The revisions to the fee schedule and classification system are considered below.

AFFECTED INDUSTRIES: Current water quality program records indicate that some three hundred and twenty wastewater treatment plants are subject to chapter 173-320 WAC. Of these, the vast majority (approximately two hundred and eighty) are publicly owned. Of the remainder, approximately fourteen appear to be owned by homeowners associations or other not for profit entities (religiously affiliated camps, schools, etc.) The Regulatory Fairness Act does not apply to either of these groups.

The remaining, approximately thirty, treatment plants are owned/operated by private sector businesses as an adjunct to their principal lines of activity. Wastewater treatment plant operation represents part of the cost of operation for these entities. Industries where at least one firm appears to be affected include:

SIC 2011 - Meat Packing Plants
SIC 2621 - Paper Mills
SIC 2911 - Petroleum Refining
SIC 3334/3353 - Primary Aluminum Production; Aluminum Plate, Sheet, Foil
SIC 651 - Real Estate Operators (insufficient information to specify at four digit level)
SIC 7011 - Hotels and Motels
SIC 9032 - Sporting and Recreational Camps
In addition, private sewerage system firms (SIC 4952) would be affected by this rule. Since their principal line of activity is the construction and/or operation of collection systems and treatment plants for small municipalities and others, no such firms show up as treatment plant owners in program records. However, Employment Security Department information indicates that there were eight employer units in this industry in Washington in 1997. All were small businesses as measured by employment and would usually be expected to process small volumes of wastewater using relatively simple treatment processes. Some information about these firms provides benchmarks for the discussion below.

IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSED RULE AMENDMENTS:

a) Fee Schedule Revisions: Presently, chapter 173-230 WAC imposes a $50 application and testing fee on first-time certificate candidates or upon those seeking certification level upgrades. This fee provides for one free retake of the examination, either on account of failing on the first try or absence from the scheduled examination administration. Annual certificate renewal carries a fee of $30. In general, these costs would be borne by the applicant. In some cases, however, they may be covered by his/her employer.

The proposed amendments to this rule element include:

Levying an examination use charge, if required, when an examination provided by a source other than the Department of Ecology is used. This charge would be paid directly to the provider of the examination.
The department is currently planning on using wastewater examinations provided by the Association of Boards of Certification. This organization charges a fee of $20 per examination, implying that the cost of a first time or upgrade examination would increase from $50 to $70. This increase amounts to $0.01 per hour of labor (assuming full time, year around employment), whether paid by the applicant or his/her employer. Put another way, this represents 0.08% of the average wage of $25,600 per year paid by private sewerage system firms. (Certificated operating personnel would likely be paid wages higher than this; probably substantially higher at larger treatment plants using advanced processes. However, this value provides a useful benchmark.) This impact is minor. Further, since the number of employees for whom certification would be required or voluntarily obtained would normally be expected to be related to the size of the plant and/or the size of the business if the plant is privately owned, the impact would not be expected to be disproportionate.
Levying an additional application and examination use charge for retakes of examinations, whether on account of failure of the examination or absence. Provision is made to waive part of these fees at the department's option. On its face, this would seem to imply a second $70 charge. However, program staff indicate that they plan to waive $20 of the fees and charges for retakes. This would reduce the additional charge to $50. Using the same measurement bases as above, this represents a (potential) additional impact of $0.02 per hour of labor for a full time, year around applicant or his/her employer. Alternatively, this represents 0.2 percent of the average 1997 wages paid by private sewerage treatment firms. Again, these costs are minor and not likely to be disproportionate for small firms versus large ones. Additionally, these added costs would occur only in those cases where the applicant failed the examination the first time or was absent. Program records indicate that this applies to about one third of a normal annual workload of some 500 to 600 examinations.
Levying a $50 application fee for temporary permits.
This would have the same impacts, per hour of labor or relative to the average wage paid by private sector sewerage treatment firms as described above.
b) Revision of the Treatment Plant Classification System: The proposed amendments to chapter 173-230 WAC changes the current wastewater treatment plant classification system to a system based on flow and treatment type. This is expected to simplify and streamline this aspect of program administration and to lead to greater consistency in the ratings of treatment plants across the state. However, it is possible that some treatment plants may be shifted to higher level categories as this revised system is implemented. This would imply an increase in the certification levels of key operating personnel, and may result in higher labor costs to the extent that treatment plant compensation programs are tied to certification levels. The extent to which this will happen is unknown at this time.

To the extent that this does occur, mitigation is provided in two ways. First one-time provisional certificates may be issued to certified personnel if a treatment plant is reclassified upward due only to the implementation of the proposed new rating system - thus providing time for any needed increases in certification levels to be obtained. Second, the new system will be phased in over time as wastewater discharge permits come due for renewal - essentially over the next five years.

Mitigation: Steps taken to mitigate impacts on individuals or businesses have been described above.

Involvement of Small Businesses in Rule Development: The department formed and utilized an advisory committee during the rule development process. This afforded private sector certified treatment plant operators (or their employers) opportunity for input. Program staff also addressed Pacific Northwest Pollution Control Association members concerning the proposed rule revisions at five regional meetings. Further opportunity for small business involvement is afforded through the hearings, review, and public comment elements of the rule adoption process.

Effect on Sales or Revenue: These proposed amendments are not expected to affect the sales or revenue of private sector business firms to which they may apply.

A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Myra Barker, e-mail mbar461@ecy.wa.gov, phone (360) 407-6449, fax (360) 407-6426; or mailing your request to Myra Barker, Water Quality Program, P.O. Box 47696, Olympia, WA 98504-7696; or by accessing ecology's web site at www.wa.gov/ecology/leg/wac_173230/98-18intro.html.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, applies to this rule adoption. This rule is significant under RCW 34.05.328 because it establishes, alters or revokes qualification or standard for the issuance, suspension or revocation of a license or permit. No changes are proposed to the qualifications, issuance, suspension, or revocation of a wastewater certificate. The agency will conduct the additional analysis, the cost benefit analysis, required under RCW 34.05.328.

Hearing Location: On July 27, at 1 p.m., at Room 1212, Math Science Building, Big Bend Community College, 7662 Chanute Street, Moses Lake; and on July 28, at 1 p.m., at the Department of Ecology, 300 Desmond Drive, Lacey.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Myra Barker by July 9, 1999, TDD (360) 407-6006.

Submit Written Comments to: Myra Barker, P.O. Box 47696, Olympia, WA 98504-7696, e-mail mbar461@ecy.wa.gov, fax (360) 407-6426, by August 13, 1999.

Date of Intended Adoption: December 1, 1999.

May 21, 1999

Dan Silver

Deputy Director

OTS-3091.1


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-010
((General.)) What is the purpose of this regulation?

((One of the basic requirements of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certification Act of 1973 (chapter 139, Laws of 1973) (chapter 70.95B RCW) is to have every operator in responsible charge of a wastewater treatment plant certified at a level equal to or higher than the classification rating of the treatment plant being operated.  Certification under this act is available to all individuals who can meet the minimum qualifications for a given classification.  Operating personnel not required to be certified by chapter 70.95B RCW are encouraged to become certified on a voluntary basis.)) When wastewater treatment plants are properly operated public health and the state's waters are protected. Operators must meet minimum standards to help assure their competency to operate and maintain wastewater treatment plants. This regulation establishes the requirements for obtaining a wastewater certificate and for the level of certificate required for an operator in responsible charge of a treatment plant. An operator in responsible charge of a wastewater treatment plant must be certified at a level that is equal to or greater than the classification of the wastewater treatment plant.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-010, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-010, filed 4/16/82.  Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  78-11-016 (Order DE 78-16), 173-230-010, filed 10/11/78; Order 73-30, 173-230-010, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-020
Definitions.

(1) (("Board" means the water and wastewater operators certification board of examiners established by RCW 70.95B.070.

(2))) "Activated sludge process" means a biological wastewater treatment process in which a mixture of wastewater and activated sludge is agitated and aerated. The activated sludge is subsequently separated from the treated wastewater by sedimentation and wasted or returned to the process as needed.

(2) "Biofiltration" means the process of passing a liquid through a biological filter containing fixed media on the surfaces of which develop zoogleal films that absorb and adsorb fine suspended, colloidal, and dissolved solids and release end products of biochemical action.

(3) "Certificate" means the certificate of competency issued by the director stating that an individual has met the requirements for a specific classification in the wastewater treatment plant operator's certification program.

(((3))) (4) "Certificate holder" means the individual to whom a certificate is issued.

(((4))) (5) "CEU" means continuing education unit which is a nationally recognized unit of measurement similar to college credit.  One CEU is awarded for every ten contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.

(((5))) (6) "College" means credits earned toward a college degree or in course work that is relevant to the operation of a wastewater treatment plant.  College shall also mean CEUs.  Forty-five CEUs equals forty-five quarter credits equals thirty semester credits.

(((6))) (7) "Department" means the Washington state department of ecology.

(((7))) (8) "Director" means the director of the department of ecology or the director's designee.

(((8))) (9) "Extended aeration" means a modification of the activated sludge process that uses long aeration periods to promote aerobic digestion of the biological mass by endogenous respiration.

(10) "GED" means a General Education Development certificate issued by a recognized education institution.  A GED is equivalent to a high school diploma.

(((9))) (11) "Group and class" for the purpose of operator certification and wastewater treatment plant classification ((shall mean)) are the same.

(((10))) (12) "Lagoon" means any large holding or detention pond, usually with earthen dikes, used to contain wastewater while sedimentation and biological stabilization occurs.

(13) "OIT" means operator-in-training.  This is the entry level certification classification offered by the department.

(((11))) (14) "Operating experience" means the routine performance of duties, on-site in a wastewater treatment plant, that affect plant performance and/or effluent quality.

(((12))) (15) "Operator" means an individual who performs routine duties on-site at a wastewater treatment plant which affect plant performance and/or effluent quality.

(((13))) (16) "Operator in charge of each shift" means the individual on-site at a wastewater treatment plant whose primary responsibility is to operate the wastewater treatment plant on a regularly run shift.  The operator in charge of each shift shall be subordinate to the operator in responsible charge.

(((14))) (17) "Operator in responsible charge" means the individual who is routinely on-site and in direct charge of the overall operation of a wastewater treatment plant.

(((15))) (18) "Owner" means in the case of:

A town or city, the city or town acting through its chief executive officer or the lessee if operated pursuant to a lease or contract; ((in the case of))

A county, the chairman of the county legislative authority or the chairman's designee; ((in the case of))

A sewer district, board of public utilities, association, municipality or other public body, the president or chairman of the body or the president's or chairman's designee; ((in the case of))

A privately owned wastewater treatment plant, the legal owner.

(((16))) (19) "Primary wastewater treatment" means unit processes consisting of one or more of the following: Screening, comminution and grinding, flotation, precipitation, sludge pumping, and disinfection. Treatment consists of clarification followed by removal, treatment, and disposal of sludge.

(20) "Reciprocity" means the exchange of a valid out-of-state wastewater treatment plant operator's certificate achieved by passing a written examination for an equivalent level of certification without further examination.

(((17))) (21) "Tertiary" means the treatment of wastewater beyond the secondary or biological stage.

(22) "Wastewater certification program coordinator" means an employee of the department who is appointed by the director to serve on the board and who administers the wastewater treatment plant operator certification program.

(((18))) (23) "Wastewater collection system" means any system of lines, pipes, manholes, pumps, liftstations, or other facilities used to collect and transport wastewater.

(((19))) (24) "Wastewater treatment plant" means a facility used to treat any liquid or waterborne waste of domestic origin or a combination of domestic, commercial or industrial origin, and which by its design requires the presence of an operator for its operation.  It ((shall)) will not include any facility used exclusively by a single family residence, septic tanks with subsoil absorption, industrial wastewater treatment plants, or wastewater collection systems.

(25) "Wetlands treatment" means those wetlands intentionally constructed and managed for the primary purpose of wastewater treatment.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-020, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-020, filed 4/16/82.  Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  78-11-016 (Order DE 78-16), 173-230-020, filed 10/11/78; Order 73-30, 173-230-020, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-040
((Certification required.)) To whom does this regulation apply?

(((1) After July 1, 1974, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, municipal corporation or other governmental subdivision or agency to operate a wastewater treatment plant unless the operator designated by the owner in responsible charge of the plant holds a valid certificate of at least the same classification as that of the wastewater treatment plant being operated.  When a wastewater treatment plant is operated on more than one daily shift, the individual in charge of each regularly run shift at the wastewater treatment plant being operated shall also be certified.

(2) After January 1, 1989, it shall be unlawful to operate a wastewater treatment plant on more than one daily shift as described in subsection (1) of this section unless the operator in charge of each shift, as designated by the owner, is certified at a level not less than one class lower than the class of plant being operated.  The operator in charge of each shift shall be subordinate to the operator in responsible charge of the plant who is certified at a level equal to or higher than the classification of the plant being operated.

(3) When a position required to be filled by a certified wastewater treatment plant operator as described herein is vacated due to a scheduled vacation or a short-term illness, these requirements may be waived temporarily at the director's discretion.)) This regulation applies to anyone who owns or operates a wastewater treatment plant.

The operator in charge of the wastewater treatment plant must be certified at least at a level equal to or higher than the classification of the plant. When the plant is operated on more than one daily shift, the operator in charge of each shift must be certified at a level not lower than one level below the classification of the plant.

All individuals operating wastewater treatment plants that are not required to be certified are encouraged to seek certification.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-040, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-040, filed 4/16/82.  Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  78-11-016 (Order DE 78-16), 173-230-040, filed 10/11/78; Order 73-30, 173-230-040, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-061
((Applications and certification requirements.)) Levels of certificates and qualifications.

(((1) Application for certification to the various classifications of wastewater treatment plant operator shall be filed with the wastewater certification program coordinator.  The wastewater certification program coordinator shall make application forms available upon request.

(2) Upon receipt of a completed application, the wastewater certification program coordinator shall screen the application against the following criteria to determine eligibility for examination or reciprocal certification.

(3) Certification requirements: Applicants for certification by examination or reciprocity must meet the minimum education and operating experience requirements or equivalents set forth below:


Certification

Classification

Education

Operating

Experience


OIT

High school

diploma


3 months
Group IHigh school

diploma

1 year
Group IIHigh school

diploma

3 years
Group IIIHigh school

diploma plus

two years

college

4 years
Group IVHigh school

diploma plus

four years

college

4 years

(a) Applicants for Group I certification may not substitute equivalent work experience or college for any portion of the operating experience requirement.

(b) At least half of the operating experience requirement for Class II, III, or IV certification must be gained on-site, in a wastewater treatment plant with a classification rating not less than one class lower than the class of certification desired.

(c) College claimed by an applicant for certification shall be credited toward the certification requirements only when documented on a transcript or a certificate of completion.

(4) Equivalent education

(a) A GED is equivalent to a high school diploma.

(b) One year of excess operating experience may be substituted for one year of high school or two years of grade school - no limit.

(c) Applicants for Group III and IV certification may substitute one year of excess operating experience for one year of college for up to half of the college requirement.


Note:Operating experience substituted for an education requirement may not also be applied to the operating experience requirement.

(5) Equivalent operating experience

(a) OIT applicants may substitute three CEUs or equivalent for the operating experience requirement provided the CEUs are earned upon completion of coursework in wastewater treatment plant operation.

(b) Applicants for Group II certification may substitute up to one and one-half years of college for one and one-half years of the operating experience requirement.

(c) Applicants for Group III and IV certification may substitute up to two years of excess college for two years of the operating experience requirement.

(d) Applicants may substitute work experience in the fields identified below for up to half of the operating experience requirement for Group II, III, and IV certification at a rate determined by the board:


Experience as an environmental or operations consultant.
Experience in an environmental or engineering branch of federal, state, county, or local government.
Experience as a wastewater collection system operator.
Experience as a water distribution system operator and/or manager.
Experience as a wastewater pump station operator.
Experience as a water treatment plant operator.

The board may also consider work experience in fields such as building and equipment maintenance, boiler operation, machinist, laboratory technician, engineering, welding, or other related fields on a case-by-case basis when presented with a written description of the duties performed on the job by the applicant for certification.


Note:College substituted for an operating experience requirement cannot also be applied to the education requirement.

(6) Exemptions

In the event an applicant for Group III or IV certification cannot meet the minimum college education requirements or equivalents set forth in subsections (3), (4), and (5) of this section, the board shall consider the applicants eligibility for certification using the following substitution formula:


After providing verification of a high school diploma or GED, Group III and IV applicants may substitute three years of excess operating experience in a wastewater treatment plant with a classification rating not less than one classification lower than the level of certification desired, for one year of college - no limit.

(7) If no examination is required, the wastewater certification program coordinator shall present the application to the board for consideration.  The board shall make a recommendation to the director regarding the approval or denial of the request for certification.

(8) Group IV applications shall be submitted to the board for approval prior to scheduling for examination.

(9) If an examination is required, the wastewater certification program coordinator shall notify, schedule, and examine all applicants for certification.)) There are five levels of certification offered by the department to individuals who meet minimum qualifications. Those minimum qualifications include required levels of education and experience.


Certification levelEducation requiredExperience requiredSubstitutions allowed for educationSubstitutions allowed for experience
Operator-in-TrainingHigh school diploma or GED3 monthsOne year of excess operating experience may be used for one year of high school and/or two years of grade school.May use 3 credits or CEUs in course work related to wastewater treatment plant operation for experience.
Group IHigh school diploma or GED1 yearOne year of excess operating experience may be used for one year of high school and/or two years of grade school.None.
Group IIHigh school diploma or GED3 yearsOne year of excess operating experience may be used for one year of high school and/or two years of grade school.May use relevant work experience or credits or CEUs for half of the operating experience.
Group IIIHigh school diploma or GED and 2 years of college (90 credits or CEUs)4 years with at least 2 years operating experience at a Class II plantMay use excess operating experience for college at a rate of one year of excess operating experience for half of the college (one year). Three years of excess operating experience may be used for the second year of college.May use relevant work experience and/or excess credits for half of the operating experience.
Group IVHigh school diploma or GED and 4 years of college (180 credits or CEUs)4 years with at least 2 years at a Class III plantMay use excess operating experience for college at a rate of one year of excess operating experience for one year of college for up to half of the college (two years). Three years of excess operating experience may be substituted for one year of college. This rate may be used for the remaining two years of college.May use excess operating experience for credits. May use related work experience and/or excess credits for half of the operating experience.

Relevant work experience may be substituted for up to one-half of the operating experience required to qualify for the Group II, III and IV levels. This includes environmental or operations consultant; environmental or an engineering branch of federal, state, county, or local government; wastewater collection system operator; water distribution system operator and/or manager; wastewater pump station operator; or water treatment plant operator. Other related work experience may include building and equipment maintenance, boiler operation, machinist, laboratory technician, engineering, welding, or other related fields on a case-by-case basis with a written description of the duties performed on the job by the applicant.

College substituted for an operating experience requirement cannot also be applied to the education requirement.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-061, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-061, filed 4/16/82.]


NEW SECTION
WAC 173-230-065
How do I apply?

Any person seeking certification must submit a completed application and fees to the department. Application forms are available from the wastewater certification program coordinator.

Applicants must meet minimum education and experience requirements to be eligible for examination or reciprocity. Applicants accepted for examination will be scheduled and notified of the date, place, time, and cost of the examination.

If the application is denied, the applicant will be notified of the reason for the denial.

[]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-070
Examination.

(1) The ((board shall prepare written examinations to be used in determining)) department will use written examinations to determine the competency of operators. If examinations are prepared by an organization other than the department, the applicant must pay any costs associated with the use of the exam.

(2) Examinations ((shall)) will be held at least three times annually at places and times set by the ((board)) department.  ((These examinations shall be held on the first Monday of February, June, and October each year.  In the event the exam date falls on a holiday, the examination shall be rescheduled by the wastewater certification program coordinator.))

(3) ((All examinations shall be graded by the wastewater certification program coordinator and)) The wastewater certification program coordinator or designee will score all exams. The applicant ((shall)) will be notified of the score ((attained and pass or fail)).  Examinations ((shall)) will not be returned to the applicant.

(4) ((An applicant who fails to pass an examination may be reexamined at the next scheduled examination with no additional application or fee.)) Certificates will be issued to applicants who pass a written examination.

(5) An applicant who fails to pass ((a second)) the examination ((as provided for in WAC 173-230-070(4))) must reapply for further examination ((as provided for in WAC 173-230-090(2))).  No individual will be allowed to retake the same examination more than twice consecutively.  ((After two consecutive examinations, one examination period must be skipped.

(6) The board shall forward its recommendations for certification of those examined to the director.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-070, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-070, filed 4/16/82; Order 73-30, 173-230-070, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-080
Certificate term and renewal((s)) conditions.

An owner may request a temporary certificate for an individual when the designated certified operator unexpectedly terminates employment. This request must be made in writing to the wastewater certification coordinator and must include an application and fee. The department may issue a temporary certificate at its discretion. A temporary certificate may not exceed a one-year period, is nonrenewable, and cannot be transferred to another individual.

(1) Except ((as provided for in WAC 173-230-050 (2)(c), the term for any certificate or renewal thereof shall be from the first of January of the year of issuance until the thirty-first of)) for a temporary certificate, a certificate is valid from January 1 until December 31 of the same year or the year designated by the department.

(2) Except ((as provided in WAC 173-230-050 (2)(c), all)) for a temporary certificate, a certificate((s shall be)) is renewable ((upon presentation of evidence that)) only when the certificate holder demonstrates and provides documentation to the department of continued professional growth in the field.  The department ((shall)) will mail renewal notices to all certificate holders eligible ((for renewal prior to the date)) to renew before the certificate expires.

(3) ((In order to demonstrate continued professional growth in the field,)) Each certificate holder must accomplish one of the following activities during a three-year period ending December 31, 1979, and each three-year period ((thereafter)) after that date.

(a) Accumulate a minimum of three CEUs or college credits in coursework relevant to the field;

(b) Advance by exam to a higher level of certification in Washington's wastewater treatment plant operator's certification program.  Advancement from OIT to Group I certification ((shall)) will not fulfill this requirement;

(c) Achieve certification by examination in the waterworks certification program administered by the Washington department of ((social and)) health ((services)) in the water treatment plant operator, water distribution manager, or the cross connection control specialist classifications;

(d) ((Achieve certification by examination in a different classification of the waterworks certification program administered by DSHS as shown below:


Water Distribution Manager (WDM) to Water Treatment Plant Operator (WTPO)
WTPO to WDM
Water Distribution Specialist (WDS) to WDM or WTPO
Cross Connection Control Specialist (CCS) to WDM or WTPO or WDS;

(e) On or after January 1, 1989,)) Achieve certification by examination or advance by examination to a higher level in Washington's voluntary wastewater collection system operator's certification program administered by the Washington Wastewater Collection System Personnel Association.  ((Advancement from the in-training certification classification to the Level 1 classification shall not fulfill this requirement.))

(4) It is the responsibility of each certificate holder to ((satisfy)) meet the ((continued)) professional growth requirement ((on or)) and document to the department before December 31 of the last year of the three-year period described in subsection (3) of this section.  The department ((shall)) will mail a written notice to each certificate holder who has not fulfilled the continued professional growth requirement.  If this requirement is not satisfied, the certificate ((shall)) is not ((be)) renewable.  Failure to renew a certificate for any reason ((shall)) will be handled as described in WAC 173-230-100.

(5) ((On and after January 1, 1989,)) The department may collect renewal fees for a period not to exceed three calendar years.  The department ((shall)) will notify certificate holders who are eligible for renewal as described in subsection (2) of this section the amount of fees owed and the date ((by which)) the fees must be paid.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-080, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-080, filed 4/16/82; Order 73-30, 173-230-080, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 90-61, filed 6/17/91, effective 7/18/91)

WAC 173-230-090
Fees.

(1) ((Except for applications for certificates under WAC 173-230-050 (2)(a),)) Applications for certification by examination or reciprocity or a temporary certificate will be accepted for processing only when accompanied by a fee of fifty dollars.  ((Applications for certification by reciprocity will be accepted for processing only when accompanied by a fee of fifty dollars.))

(2) ((Except as provided under WAC 173-230-070(4),)) Applications for reexamination will be accepted for processing only when accompanied by an application fee ((of fifty dollars)). The department may waive a portion of the application fee for reexamination.

(3) ((In the event an application for certification is denied, the department may reimburse up to half the fee amount provided the department receives a written request for reimbursement within thirty days after the letter of denial is mailed.)) Application fees are nonrefundable.

(4) Applications for certificate renewals will be accepted for processing only when accompanied by a renewal fee of thirty dollars for each year of renewal.

(5) All receipts ((hereunder shall)) will be paid into the state general fund.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.090 (1) and (2) and chapter 70.95B RCW.  91-13-058 (Order 90-61), 173-230-090, filed 6/17/91, effective 7/18/91.  Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-090, filed 10/23/87; 78-11-016 (Order DE 78-16), 173-230-090, filed 10/11/78; Order 73-30, 173-230-090, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-100
Suspension and revocation of a certificate.

(1) When a certificate is not renewed, ((such certificate, upon notice by the director, shall be)) the director will notify the certificate holder that the certificate is suspended for sixty days.  If ((renewal of)) the certificate is not ((completed)) renewed during the suspension period, the director ((shall)) will mail a written notice of revocation to the ((certificate holder's employer)) owner of the wastewater treatment plant employing the individual as last known by the department and to the certificate holder at the address last known by the department.  ((This)) The notice of revocation ((shall)) mailed to the certificate holder will be sent by certified mail.  If, during the revocation notice period, the certificate is not renewed, the certificate ((shall)) will be revoked ten days after ((such)) the notice is mailed.

(2) Certificates may also be revoked when ((the board so recommends to)) the director((, upon finding)) finds:

(a) Fraud or deceit in obtaining the certificate.

(b) Gross negligence in the operation of a wastewater treatment plant.

(c) Violation of the requirements of this chapter or the statute it implements or of any lawful rule, regulation or order of the department.

(3) No revocation ((shall)) will be made under subsection (2) of this section unless the operator has been notified that revocation is proposed, ((has)) been advised of the ((grounds therefor)) reason and ((has)) been given an opportunity to appear before the ((board)) director and be heard on the matter.

(4) ((Whenever an individual's certificate is revoked, the individual shall not be certified again until he or she has applied for certification pursuant to WAC 173-230-061 paid the application fee, and passed the written examination for the classification of certification desired.)) A certificate will be suspended immediately when the director is notified by the department of social and health services that a person is not in compliance with a support order or a residential or visitation order. If the person has continued to meet all other requirements for reinstatement during the suspension, the certificate will be reissued when the director is notified by the department of social and health services that the person is in compliance with the order.

If a certificate is revoked, the individual must meet all conditions of certification including application, fees, and passing a written examination.

(5) If revocation was made ((pursuant)) due to subsection (2) of this section, the operator ((shall)) will not be eligible to reapply for a certificate for one year from the date the revocation became final.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-100, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-100, filed 4/16/82.  Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  78-11-016 (Order DE 78-16), 173-230-100, filed 10/11/78; Order 73-30, 173-230-100, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-110
Reciprocity.

The director may((, with the approval of the board,)) waive examinations for applicants holding valid wastewater treatment plant operators certificates or licenses issued by other states having equivalent standards as determined by the ((board)) department or its designee.

(1) Applications for reciprocity will be considered for approval only when the department receives ((written)) confirmation from the certifying authority of the state or province in which the applicant is certified, that the certificate is currently valid and was earned by passing a written examination.  A copy of the exam passed by the applicant must also be released for review by the ((board)) department or its designee.

(2) ((The board shall review and compare out-of-state examinations with Washington's exams to determine at which level the exam is most equivalent.

(3))) Certificates ((shall)) will be issued to each reciprocity applicant who meets the minimum education and experience requirements ((set forth in WAC 173-230-061)) for the certification level requested and who passes a written examination comparable to Washington's exam as determined ((by the board)) and approved by the director.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-110, filed 10/23/87.  Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.95B RCW.  82-09-056 (Order DE 82-07), 173-230-110, filed 4/16/82; Order 73-30, 173-230-110, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 73-30, filed 11/9/73)

WAC 173-230-120
Appeals.

Decisions of the director under this chapter may be appealed within thirty days from the date of notice ((thereof)) to the pollution control hearings board ((pursuant to)) as required by chapter 43.21B RCW and chapter 371-08 WAC.

[Order 73-30, 173-230-120, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 73-30, filed 11/9/73)

WAC 173-230-130
Violations.

Violation of this chapter is a misdemeanor.  Each day of operation in violation ((hereof)) constitutes a separate offense.  Upon conviction, violators are subject to fines not exceeding one hundred dollars for each offense.  Injunctions may be obtained for continuing violations.

[Order 73-30, 173-230-130, filed 11/9/73.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 87-36, filed 10/23/87)

WAC 173-230-140
Classification of wastewater treatment plants.

((Wastewater treatment plants are classified in four groups, according to the total point rating as derived from the items listed below.  Assignment of points for wastewater treatment plants shall be made by the director.


(1)PLANT CLASS:
(a)ClassI - 1 - 25 total points.
(b)ClassII - 26 - 50 total points.
(c)ClassIII - 51 - 70 total points.
(d)ClassIV - 71 or more total points.
RATING VALUE
(2)DESIGN FLOW . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 per 5 mgd, not to exceed 20 points
(Example: 5 mgd and less= 1 point; 5.1 to 10 mgd= 2 points, etc.)
(3)POPULATION

EQUIVALENT (P.E.) . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 per 5,000 P.E., not to exceed 20 points

PE=


(Flow, mgd)(BOD, mg/L)(8.34 lbs/gal)


0.2 lbs BOD/person/day

(4)PRETREATMENT UNITS
(a) Manually cleaned screens . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
(b) Mechanically cleaned screens . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
(c) Grit removal . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
(d) Preaeration . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
(e) Comminutor, barminutors, grinders, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
(f) Plant pumping . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
(5)PRIMARY TREATMENT UNITS
(a) Imhoff tanks, spirogesters,

Clarigesters, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . .

3

(b) Primary clarifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
(c) Primary clarifiers utilizing settling aid

chemicals . . . . . . . . . . . .

9

(6)SECONDARY TREATMENT UNITS
(a) Trickling filter (without recirculation) . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
(b) Trickling filter (with recirculation) . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
(c) Activated sludge
(i) Mechanical aeration . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
(ii) Diffused or dispersed air . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
(iii) Oxidation ditch . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
(iv) Pure oxygen . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
(d) Stabilization ponds . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
(e) Stabilization ponds with aeration . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
(f) Secondary clarifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
(7)TERTIARY TREATMENT UNITS
(a) Polishing pond . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
(b) Land disposal of effluent . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
(c) Chemical treatment for phosphorus

removal . . . . . . . . . . . .

5

(d) Activated carbon beds (with carbon

regeneration) . . . . . . . . . . . .

10

(e) Activated carbon beds (without carbon

regeneration) . . . . . . . . . . . .

8

(f) Sand or mixed-media filters . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
(g) Other nutrient removal processes following

secondary treatment . . . . . . . . . . . .

10

(8)DISINFECTION . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
(9)SLUDGE TREATMENT
(a) Sludge digesters (anaerobic) . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
(i) If heated, add . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
(ii) If mechanically or gas mixed, add . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
(b) Sludge digesters (aerobic) . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
(c) Drying beds or evaporation lagoons . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
(d) Thickener clarifier . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
(e) Vacuum filter . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
(f) Centrifuge . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
(g) Incinerator . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
(h) Utilizing digester gas for other than heating

purposes . . . . . . . . . . . .

3

When a wastewater treatment plant handles a complex waste or a unique treatment process that is not reflected in the classification system, the director upon recommendations of the board may establish a classification consistent with the intent of the above classification system.)) The director must classify all wastewater treatment plants according to the following criteria.


Treatment typeDesign flow MGDClassification
Primary≤ 1I
> 1 ≤ 10II
> 10 ≤ 20III
> 20IV
Lagoon (Nonaerated)AllI
Lagoon (Aerated)≤ 1I
> 1II
Biofiltration≤ 1II
> 1 ≤ 10III
> 10IV
Extended aeration≤ 5II
> 5III
Activated sludge≤ 1II
> 1 ≤ 10III
> 10IV
Wetlands≤ 1I
> 1 ≤ 5II
> 5III
Tertiary≤ 5III
> 5IV

Plants may be classified in a group different than indicated in this section if:

(1) They have characteristics that make operation more difficult than other similar plants of the same flow range; or

(2) The conditions of flow or the use of the receiving waters require an unusually high degree of plant operational control; or

(3) They use an approved method of wastewater treatment that is not included in this section.

Beginning January 2000, the department may issue a one-time provisional certificate to the certified operator in charge of a plant or the certified operator in charge of a shift at the plant only if the plant's rating level increased solely due to the adoption of the treatment type and design flow rating system. The provisional certificate will not apply if the rating of a plant increases due to an upgrade, to a change to treatment processes, or to flow. The provisional certificate will be issued only for the operation of a specific plant and may not be transferred if that certified operator leaves employment with that plant.

The holder of a provisional certificate must continue to meet all certificate renewal requirements.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.95B.040.  87-22-006 (Order 87-36), 173-230-140, filed 10/23/87; 78-11-016 (Order DE 78-16), 173-230-140, filed 10/11/78; Order 73-30, 173-230-140, filed 11/9/73.]


REPEALER

     The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
WAC 173-230-030Duties of the board.
WAC 173-230-050Certification prerequisites.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office