What does southern Indiana offer besides beautiful scenery? For one thing they are very welcoming; making you feel as if you are part of the family. At least that is the way the Seymour, Indiana employees at the Water Pollution Control Facility always leaves me feeling. In fact, this time when I entered the training room, I noticed they installed an overhead projector, put a HUGE white board on the wall (with NEW markers) AND had a slide screen that was automated for easy operation (what a dream for any instructor).
This year’s two-day session again centered around the Class I/II Wastewater Operator Certification through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) as there were a few new employees to the facility and some of the other employees were now eligible to take their exams. I must say I have taught the math portion here before, but this year – everyone seemed to just “get it” or I finally just said it the right way, but they were kicking it with the math problems and it really made me giddy with satisfaction. (They also like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, especially the orange pumpkin style for Halloween!!) But seriously, so many of those who have taken the course before were able to answer questions and remember important questions.
At the Seymour Water Pollution Control Facility all of the different areas of work must attain and maintain the IDEM Wastewater Operator’s Certification for at least the Class I license and are encouraged to continue to move up in Certification. I am impressed with management’s principal that all employees achieve as many certifications and as much training as possible in the wastewater field. In the long run their accomplishments will make them an asset not only to the City of Seymour, but to themselves as well. I applaud this approach because these certifications and this training will help the employees in the future rather they stay with Seymour or move on.
As part of the training we took a tour of their facility since many attendees didn’t work every day at the facility proper. I found in many plants this tour to be helpful because each place has its own vernacular or its own language for the processes or pieces of equipment used, however, these terms are NOT the terms they will ever find on the exam. So, during the tours I explain what the technical or “book” term is to help them associate the words I use in class.
As always I wish them all the luck on their exams and hope to see them again in the coming year.
About the plant: The old facility consisted of 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, post aeration, aerobic sludge lagoon for holding and aerobic digesters for thickening prior to centrifuges 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.
NOTE: I have included a few photos from the old primaries to show the “wearing shoes” that ride the rails on the bottom of the tank as well as the chain and flight system in a rectangular clarifier. When you see those photos keep in mind those tanks have been out of service for years hence the algae.