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Part 650: Qualifications Of Operators Of Wastewater Treatment Plants

Contents:

Sec.

§650.1 Purpose, applicability, and exemptions

(a) Purpose

The purposes of this Part are to:

(1) establish the qualifications necessary for certification of wastewater treatment plant operators in New York State, and

(2) require that wastewater treatment plants be under the responsible supervision of an appropriately certified operator.

(b) Applicability

The provisions of this Part apply to wastewater treatment plants as defined in Section 650.2, and to operators of wastewater treatment plants.

(c) Exemptions

Wastewater treatment plants consisting solely of the following treatment schemes are exempt from the requirement of having a certified chief operator or assistant / shift operator:

(1) septic tanks followed by subsurface leaching facilities with eventual discharge to the ground waters, regardless of design capacity;

(2) septic tanks followed by open or covered intermittent sand filters, with a designated capacity of less than 50,000 gallons per day; and

(3) wastewater treatment plants which treat industrial wastes exclusively.

§650.2 Definitions

As used in this Part the following words and terms shall have the indicated meanings:

(a) "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 (mixed liquor) by sedimentation and wasted or returned to the process as needed.

(b) "Assistant / Shift operator" means an individual who is employed or appointed by any county, city, village, town, district, or by any state department, agency or authority, or by any sewer company, corporation, person or group of persons, or by any industry or institution, and who is designated by the appointing officials as a person who, under the direction of the chief operator, is responsible for the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant during a shift or in the absence of the chief operator.

(c) "Chief operator" means an individual who is employed or appointed by any county, city, village, town, district, or by any State department, agency or authority, or by any sewer company, corporation, person or group of persons, or by any industry or institution, and who is designated by the appointing officials as the person in responsible supervision of the complete and actual operation of any wastewater treatment plant. It is not intended to include city managers, superintendents of public works or municipal or other officials unless their duties include the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant.

(d) "Contact hour" means one hour of acceptable instruction or training in a course or seminar relevant to the field of wastewater treatment.

(e) "Department" means the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or its designated representatives.

(f) "Other treatment processes" means all biological, physical, and chemical treatment processes other than the activated sludge process. It is intended to include but is not limited to treatment processes such as trickling filters, rotating biological contactors, sand filters, biofilters, oxidation ponds, stabilization ponds, activated carbon or any other devices or processes performing similar functions.

(g) "Responsible supervision" means the accountability for and performance of active, daily on-site operation of the wastewater treatment plant.

(h) "Septic tank" means an underground vessel for treating wastewater by combination of settling and anaerobic digestion.

(i) "Wastewater treatment plant" means any plant or facility owned or maintained by any county, city, village, town, district, or by any State department, agency or authority, or by any sewer company, corporation, person or group of persons, or by any industry or institution, which subjects wastewater to a process for removing or altering the objectionable constituents of wastewater for the purpose of meeting the requirements of its State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (SPDES) and making it less offensive or dangerous.

§650.3 Scoring system established

The Department shall evaluate wastewater treatment plants based on type and complexity of the wastewater treatment plant. The evaluation of the wastewater treatment plant shall be made in accordance with the following point system. The point total for a given plant is used in conjunction with section 650.6 of this Part to determine the minimum operator qualifications for that plant.

Flow Points; (Minimum 1 point, Maximum 50 points)
3 x _______ MGD (design flow) = ________ Flow Points

Unit or Item Points
Preliminary Treatment (Maximum 8 points)
Bar screens and/or Comminutor 2
Manual Grit Removal 2
Mechanical or Aerated Grit Removal 3
Pre-aeration 2
Raw Sewage or Effluent Pumping 3
Flow Equalization Basin 3
Primary Treatment (Maximum 5 points)
Primary Treatment Including: Primary Clarifiers, Imhoff Tanks, Spirogesters, Clarigesters, Fixed Screens,and Hydroscreens 5
Secondary Treatment (Maximum 25 points)
Lagoon (unaerated) 3
Intermittent Sand Filters without Recirculation 3
Intermittent Sand Filters with Recirculation 5
Aerated Lagoon 7
Trickling Filter / Biological Filter without Recirculation 9
Trickling Filter / Biological Filter with Recirculation 11
Rotating Biological Contactors 11
Activated Sludge (includes all modifications) 20
Chemical Coagulation with Rapid Mix, Flocculation, and Clarification 20
Advanced Waste Treatment/Tertiary Treatment (Maximum 20 points)
Polishing Pond 2
Microscreens 3
Intermittent Sand Filter 3
Rapid Sand Filter 5
Activated Carbon 5
Reverse Osmosis, Electrodialysis, Ion Exchange 5
Nitrification Required by Permit (Ammonia, TKN, or UOD limit):
Nitrification by Activated Sludge 8
Nitrification by Other Process 5
Denitrification Required by Permit (Nitrate or Total Nitrogen limit):
Nitrification by Activated Sludge and Denitrification 13
Nitrification by Other Process and Denitrification 10
Phosphorus Removal (required by permit) 8
Chemical Addition for Neutralization (permanent equipment) 3
Disinfection (Maximum 8 points)
Chlorination:
Gas Chlorination 5
Other Chlorination 2
Dechlorination 3
Ultraviolet 5
Ozonization 5
Bromine Chloride 5
Solids Handling/Disposal (Maximum 25 points)
Gravity Thickener 5
Dissolved Air Flotation Thickener 8
Centrifuge 8
Aerobic Digestion 5
Single Stage Anaerobic Digestion (unheated) 5
Two Stage Anaerobic Digestion (heated) 10
Sludge Drying Beds, Excluding Vacuum Assisted Drying Beds 3
Belt Press, Plate and Frame, Vacuum Filters 8
All Other Dewatering Units 5
Land Application (unless handled by a third party) 5
Composting: (unless handled by a third party)
In Vessel 10
Static Pile 5
Solids Reduction (Incineration, Wet Oxidation) 15
Miscellaneous
Nutrient Addition (Nitrogen and/or Phosphorus) 3
Carbon Regeneration (onsite) 10

§650.4 Certified operators required

(a) A wastewater treatment plant must at all times be under the responsible supervision of a chief operator or assistant / shift operator certified pursuant to this Part.

(b) Tables 1 and 2 indicate the minimum grade chief operator and assistant / shift operator required to be in responsible supervision of the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant and a summary of the required qualifications of the chief operator and assistant / shift operator.

§650.5 Preliminary qualifications

A chief operator or assistant / shift operator shall be physically capable of performing his/her duties, shall possess a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma, and shall produce evidence acceptable to the appointing authority as to his/her character and ability to maintain and operate properly all equipment entrusted to his/her care.

§650.6 Minimum operator qualifications

(a) Grade 4, 4-A. The qualifications for grade 4, 4-A operators shall be education, training and practical experience consisting of:

graduation from an accredited university or school with a bachelor of science degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science or, graduation from an accredited university or school with a bachelor of arts degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science; satisfactory completion of an appropriate course of instruction approved by the Department; not less than two years of satisfactory experience in the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 76 or greater, and facilities of the appropriate type; and the ability to conduct the routine laboratory and field tests required for the control of the operation of a wastewater treatment plant with such facilities. Substitution of approved experience or education may be made as detailed in the footnotes to tables 1 and 2.

(b) Grade 3, 3-A. The qualifications for grade 3, 3-A operators shall be education, training and practical experience consisting of: graduation from an accredited college or university with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in a Department approved curriculum; completion of an appropriate course of instruction approved by the Department; not less than eighteen months of satisfactory experience in the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 56 or greater, and facilities of the appropriate type; and the ability to conduct the routine laboratory and field tests required for the control of the operation of a wastewater treatment plant with such facilities. Substitution of operating experience or education may be made as detailed in the footnotes to tables 1 and 2.

(c) Grade 2, 2-A. The qualifications for grade 2, 2-A operators shall be education, training and practical experience consisting of: graduation from high school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma; completion of an appropriate course of instruction approved by the Department and not less than one year of satisfactory experience in the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 31 or greater, and facilities of the appropriate type; and the ability to conduct the routine laboratory and field tests required for the control of the operation of a wastewater treatment plant with such facilities.

(d) Grade 1, 1-A. The qualifications for grade 1, 1-A operators shall be education, training and practical experience consisting of: graduation from high school or the possession of a high school equivalency diploma; satisfactory completion of an appropriate course of instruction approved by the Department; not less than six months of satisfactory experience in the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant regardless of score, and facilities of the appropriate type; and the ability to conduct the routine laboratory and field tests required for the control of the operation of a wastewater treatment plant with such facilities.

§650.7 Certification and renewal procedures

(a) Any person seeking certification shall submit an application on a form specified by the Department. The Department shall issue a certificate which specifies the operator grade consistent with the operator qualifications specified in this Part.

(b) Certificates shall be valid for a period of 5 years unless revoked by the Department prior to that time.

(c) Certificates may be renewed upon application ninety days prior to the date of expiration on a form specified by the Department. An operator whose certificate has expired may have his/her certificate reinstated upon meeting the renewal requirements and may be required to pass an exam.

§650.8 Renewal requirements

Applicants for renewal shall present evidence to the Department that demonstrates the completion of the required contact hours of approved training related to the field of wastewater treatment. Within the 5 years preceding the application for renewal, the applicant must complete the number of required contact hours indicated in Table 3. Each course or seminar attended for the purpose of certification renewal must be verified by a completion certificate designating the training hours involved and signed by the instructor. All training to be used for renewal training must be approved by the Department. The Department assumes no responsibility to provide any training in conjunction with these training requirements.

§650.9 Authority to alter requirements or to require examinations

(a) Based on a given plant's design capacity, the types of treatment processes, and the classification of receiving waters, the Department may require the wastewater treatment plant to be operated by a higher grade operator than that required under this Part.

(b) The Department may require any person whose qualifications are submitted for consideration to take written, oral or practical examinations and may approve such qualifications in a specific grade on the basis of the results of such examinations.

§650.10 Suspension or revocation of certificates

Upon notice and opportunity for hearing, the Department may suspend or revoke a certificate of an operator on grounds including but not limited to the following:

(a) the certificate was issued erroneously or by mistake; or

(b) the operator obtained the certificate through fraud, deceit, or through the submission of incorrect data on his/her application; or

(c) the operator was negligent, or practiced fraud or deceit, in the performance of his/her duties.

§650.11 Status of previously approved operators

(a) Valid Part 650 operator certificates in effect as of the day immediately preceding the effective date of this rulemaking remain in effect until a reclassified certificate is issued under this Part.

(b) Operator certificates subject to paragraph (a) of this section are reclassified as of the effective date of this rulemaking in accordance with Table 4:

(c) The Department shall issue new operator certificates reflecting the reclassification scheme in paragraph (b) of this section as appropriate. Certificates issued pursuant to this paragraph shall be valid for a period of 5 years.

§650.12 Tables

Table -1
Chief and Assistant/Shift Operator Grade
For Activated Sludge Facilities
Type of Treatment Plant Score Required Minimum Operator Grade Section Number Required Basic Education Required Special Training Course Required Type and Duration of Approved Operating Experience
Chief Operator Assistant / Shift Operator
Activated Sludge Process Including All Modifications 76 Points and Greater 4A 650.6(a) *See Options Below Appropriate Approved Course Twenty four months operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 76 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
3A 650.6(b) **See Options Below Appropriate Approved Course Eighteen months of operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 56 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
56 - 75 Points 3A 650.6(b) **See Options Below Appropriate Approved Course Eighteen months of operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 56 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
2A 650.6(c) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Twelve months operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with a point of 31 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
31 - 55 Points 2A 650.6(c) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Twelve months operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant with a point of 31 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
1A 650.6(d) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Six months operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant and the ability to perform necessary tests.
30 Points or less 1A 1A 650.6(d) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Six months operating experience at an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant and the ability to perform necessary tests.

*Qualifying options for Grade 4A operators (Must also have required duration of approved experience).

(a) BS degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from duly accredited university or school, or

(b) BA degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from duly accredited university or school, or

(c) AAS degree from a duly accredited university or school in a NYSDEC approved curriculum, plus eighteen months operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(d) AAS degree from a duly accredited university or school plus three years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(e) AA degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from a duly accredited university or school, plus three years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(f) high school or equivalency diploma and 6 years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant.

**Qualifying options for Grade 3A operators (Must also have required duration of approved experience).

(a) AAS degree from a duly accredited university or school in a NYSDEC approved curriculum, or

(b) AAS degree from a duly accredited university or school, plus eighteen months operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(c) AA degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from a duly accredited university or school, plus eighteen months operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(d) high school or equivalency diploma and three years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant.

Table - 2
Chief and Assistant/Shift Operator Grade
For Non Activated Sludge Facilities
Type of Treatment Plant Score Required Minimum Operator Grade Section Number Required Basic Education Required Special Training Course Required Type and Duration of Approved Operating Experience
Chief Operator Assistant / Shift Operator
All Other Treatment Processes 76 Points and Greater 4 650.6(a) *See Options Below Appropriate Approved Course Twenty four months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 76 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
3 650.6(b) **See Options Below Appropriate Approved Course Eighteen months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 56 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
56 - 75 Points 3 650.6(b) **See Options Below Appropriate Approved Course Eighteen months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant with a point score of 56 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
2 650.6(c) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Twelve months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant with a point of 31 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
31 - 55 Points 2 650.6(c) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Twelve months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant with a point of 31 or greater, and the ability to perform necessary tests.
1 650.6(d) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Six months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant and the ability to perform necessary tests.
30 Points or less 1 1 650.6(d) High School or High School Equivalency Diploma Appropriate Approved Course Six months operating experience at any wastewater treatment plant and the ability to perform necessary tests.

*Qualifying options for Grade 4 operators (Must also have required duration of approved experience).

(a) BS degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from a duly accredited university or school, or

(b) BA degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from duly accredited university or school, or

(c) AAS degree from a duly accredited university or school in a NYSDEC approved curriculum, plus eighteen months operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(d) AAS degree from a duly accredited university or school plus three years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(e) AA degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from a duly accredited university or school, plus three years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(f) high school or equivalency diploma and 6 years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant.

**Qualifying options for Grade 3 operators (Must also have required duration of approved experience).

(a) AAS degree from duly accredited university or school in a NYSDEC approved curriculum, or

(b) AAS degree from duly accredited university or school plus eighteen months operating experience at a wastewater treatment, or

(c) AA degree with thirty credit hours of math and/or science from a duly accredited university or school, plus eighteen months operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant, or

(d) high school or equivalency diploma and three years operating experience at a wastewater treatment plant.

Table 3 Renewal Training Requirements
Certificate Grade Contact Hours Needed
Grade 1 & 1A 20
Grade 2 & 2A 40
Grade 3 & 3A 60
Grade 4 & 4A 80
Table 4
Previously Approved
Certificate
Reclassified
Certificate
IA 4A
IB 4
IIA 3A
IIB 3
IIC 3
IIIA 2A
IIIB 2
IIIC 2