Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Toolbox
Wastewater treatment plant operators require many resources to keep their facility operating within permit requirements. The following is a list of key topics and resources for plant operations and resources for long-term planning, maintenance, and growth.
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Waste solids removed from treatment plants are reported annually
Resources for Plant Operations
Activated Sludge Bulking & Foaming Resources
- A balanced microbial structure in activated sludge is essential to maintain the effluent quality. Assessment of the oxygen uptake rate and microscopic examination of the activated sludge will help determine what is causing bulking and foaming.
- The Activated Sludge Microbiology Problems and Their Control (PDF) (145 KB) document has detailed guidance on problems and control.
- The course curricula for the Activated Sludge Pre-certification Training
Biosolids Related Resources
- For guidance and education information about the safe recycling and disposal of biosolids go to EPA's Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) website. http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/wastewater/treatment/biosolids/index.cfm
- Many facilities need to convert the number of gallons of liquid sludge hauled to metric tons for their annual sludge removal reporting requirements in their Discharge Monitoring Report.
- DEC's Solid Waste Program administers Part 360 Regulations and provides facility oversight, technical and regulatory assistance.
- Plain English guide to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Part 503 Biosolids Rule. http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/biosolids/503pe_index.cfm
- The Cornell Waste Management Institute website provides resources and information about biosolids. http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/sewagesludge.htm
Nitrogen Related Resources
- Several publications about nitrogen removal are available through the Water Environment Federation and US EPA
- Training Materials for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators to evaluate and optimize nitrogen removal. Materials include training modules, practice exercises, and aeration worksheets.
- Easy to use and effective shop-built mercury sampler that reduces potential sources of contamination.
- Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) certifies environmental laboratories to analyze samples in NYS. http://www.wadsworth.org/labcert/elap/elap.html
Wet Weather Resources
- Practical operational tools and training to prevent wet weather problems and resources to develop a wet weather operating plan.
- Sample agenda for a training course on wet weather operations and wet weather plans.
- Annual report form for permittees with CSOs to describe progress on their implementation of CSO abatements; Combined Sewer Overflows Annual Report Form (PDF, 592KB)
Frequently Encountered Operational Issues
Many common operational problems are encountered by operators. Answers to many of these operational issues may be found on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Operation page.
Resources for Long-term Planning, Maintenance, and Growth
Asset Management and Sustainability
Asset Management is a process for maintaining a desired level of customer service at the best cost. It is an approach that combines management, financial, economic, engineering, and other practices to physical assets with the objective of providing the required level of service in the most cost-effective manner.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an introduction to the approach and links to more resources. http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/asset_management.cfm
- ClearWaters Fall 2001 has several articles about sustainability and wastewater treatment plants. https://nywea.org/clearwaters/pre02fall/313020.html
- The Maryland Center for Environmental Training (MCET) developed an Asset Management Guide for Wastewater Utilities Train-The-Trainer Toolkit. MCET organized the toolkit to allow the instruction in the principles of asset management and, where applicable, the corresponding section of the Total Electronic Asset Management System(TEAMS). http://www.mcet.org/am/assetmgmt.html
- CUPSS is a free, easy-to-use, asset management tool for small drinking water and wastewater utilities. CUPSS provides a simple, comprehensive approach based on EPA's Simple Tools for Effective Performance (STEP) Guide series. http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/drinkingwater/pws/cupss/index.cfm
NYSERDA has grant programs for energy
- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) developed energy efficiency tools and materials to assist wastewater operators and municipal officials.
- A Best Practices Handbook for Water and Wastewater Energy Management is available from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/en/Commercial-and-Industrial/Sectors/Municipal-Water-and-Wastewater-Facilities/~/media/Files/EERP/Commercial/Sector/Municipalities/best-practice-handbook.ashx
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a guidebook of step-by-step methods to
identify, implement, measure, and improve energy efficiency at water utilities: Ensuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities. http://www.epa.gov/owm/waterinfrastructure/pdfs/guidebook_si_energymanagement.pdf
- Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) offers several grant programs that municipalities are eligible for. http://www.nysefc.org/CleanWaterStateRevolvingFund.aspx
- Municipalities are eligible to apply for Water Quality Improvement Program (WQIP) funds for municipal wastewater treatment, municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), nonagricultural nonpoint source abatement and control, aquatic habitat restoration, and water quality management.
- NYS Water & Sewer Infrastructure Co-Funding Initiative helps communities find sources of government funding, determine eligibility, and streamline the application process. http://www.nycofunding.org/dotnetnuke/Default.aspx?tabid=55
- The Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University (EFC) leverages more than 200 partners to connect local government officials and private organizations with technical assistance, assessment tools, and funding. EFC also provides professional training and community outreach. http://efc.syracusecoe.org/efc/
- New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual (August, 2010) provides standards and specifications for selection and design of stormwater management practices based on green infrastructure principles to comply with State stormwater management performance standards.
General Information and Links to More Resources
- Water Environment Federation (WEF) provides online educational training and resources for laboratory techniques, standard methods, safety and health, and ABC certification exam. http://www.wef.org/
- Rural Community Assistance Program provides information and services to rural communities to help them manage, plan, finance, build, and operate drinking water, wastewater, and ground water projects. http://www.rcap.org/
- Clearwaters is a quarterly publication distributed by New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) and provides timely water resource articles. http://nywea.org/clearwaters/
- Health Research Incorporated (HRI) distributes water treatment and sewage manuals for a fee. http://www.healthresearch.org/store
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a searchable database of environmental publications and technology fact sheets. http://www.epa.gov/ncepihom/ and http://water.epa.gov/scitech/wastetech/mtbfact.cfm
- Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (NYWARN) of utilities supports emergency preparedness, disaster response, sharing resources, and developing emergency contacts. http://nywarn.org/
More about Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Toolbox:
- Practical Control Methods for Activated Sludge Bulking and Foaming - A two part article presenting the causes of filamentous bulking and practical control measures, as well as physical and chemical filament control and the causes of activated sludge foaming and its control
- Converting Gallons of Sludge to Metric Tons - Sample worksheet for converting gallons of sludge to metric tons for the purpose of annual reporting on a facilities Discharge Monitoring Report.
- Nitrogen Training Material - Training topics and materials that should or might be included in a Nitrogen Removal Workshop.
- Nitrogen Training Modules - Nitrogen Removal Training Modules for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators.
- Nitrogen Training Exercises - Nitrogen removal exercises for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators.
- Nitrogen Training Worksheets - Calculation sheets that may assist operators in determining if the oxygen capacity od their aeration systems are suitable to support nitrification.
- Sample Agenda for Wet Weather Operations & Wet Weather Plans - This page provides a sample agenda for a wet weather training course.
- Shop-Built Mercury Sampler - Instructions for builing mercury sampler for wastewater effluents.
- Useful Resources - Compilation of resources for nitrogen removal.
- Wet Weather Training Materials - Wet Weather resources available online.