Had a fantastic time in Seymour, Indiana on December 10 and 11 with some of the Water Pollution Control Facility employees who are studying for their exam. This time we only had one operator, the rest of the students were from collection systems, stormwater, plant maintenance, and industrial pretreatment. This session was the Certification Review course centering around Class I certification through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. This time we took part of our class time and walked the plant so they could understand the flow and vocabulary that will be used on the test instead of their in-plant jargon (we all have it for our own facilities). I have to say I have was very impressed with the amount of retention a few of them showed after the class last year. It is obvious they are studying and a few took their tests, but failed by only a few points (that is awesome when you consider they have not operated the plant nor really participated in lab work and I am sure they will pass the next time).
On a side note – while we were walking the plant I found myself being struck with the operation and cleanliness of it. Seymour used to have primary clarifiers with conventional activated sludge (plug flow), secondary clarifiers with chlorine disinfection and aerobic digesters. Now they operate two oxidation ditches with secondary clarifiers, UV disinfection, aerobic sludge lagoon for thickening with aerobic digesters, and a centrifuge for dewatering. They have learned the best concrete is the concrete you already have poured so when they took the aerators out of service they converted them to aerated holding (EQ basins) for the stormwater flows.
Another thing that want to mention is the stormwater small building they built that demos different types of downspouts, the use of a rain barrel and different types of surfaces when they hook up the water and make it rain. They built it on a trailer they transport to the fairs and other places.
I look forward to hearing from those employees who are taking their tests this month that they passed and I look forward to seeing them again next year.