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New Regulation Further Recognizes the Importance of Operators

The Ministry of Environment promulgated the new Municipal Wastewater Regulation on Friday April 20, 2012. It replaces the Municipal Sewage Regulation and should be a lot easier for people to read and understand. It is a complete re-write but there are changes to only a few passages that impact Operators directly.

The first is that from now on, certification of Wastewater Collection Operators is mandatory along with the classification of the systems in which they work. Prior to the Municipal Wastewater Regulation, BC was the only jurisdiction in Canada working toward Certification Best Practices across the country that did not require collection system Operators to be certified. For a long time now we have had many classified wastewater collection systems and certified Operators to run them but it has all been voluntary and at least a few municipalities have refused to have their facilities classified and would not support the certification of their Operators.

Another important change in the regulation is the removal of the alternative to EOCP
certification that has existed for many years but has been used only occasionally. Until April 20, 2012, it was possible for a facility owner to nominate an individual as being capable of operating a particular treatment plant even if they were not certified at the level of the facility. The process to be followed to show that the individual was capable was cumbersome and very expensive and very seldom used. This exception has now been removed.

The OIC (Order in Council) is now posted on the Ministry webpage – click to view

The EOCP has always believed that anyone working in a water or wastewater facility/system in an operational capacity should be certified at an appropriate level. That does not mean that everyone has to be certified at the level of the facility/system but it does mean that if someone is intending to make a career of their work they should become certified at Level I as soon as they have enough time in as a trainee to do so. If they chose, or their employer insists, they can start the process earlier by becoming an Operator in Training at the earliest possible time.