When it comes to education, nothing is better than no-cost training, right? The Oklahoma Environmental Training Center at Rose State College in Midwest City completed the first of three free septic system training dates for tribal members at the end of October.

The free training was created through a one-year agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. “The EPA solicited proposals from training centers because they identified a need within the tribal communities to provide new treatment technologies for septic systems,” says Rose State College environmental coordinator Bill Clark. “There’s a need to go out and work with individual homeowners and get their septic systems upgraded or replaced. It helps them and it helps the environment.”

Clark oversees the program, and brought in expert Tom Fritts to lead the classes. Fritts owns Residential Sewage Treatment Company and is president-elect of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association.

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The courses are open to members of the 38 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma. Clark says the first course went very well and included 35 participants. The contract with the EPA requires the training be made available to all tribes, so classes are spread out across the state.

“Most of them are already in the industry,” says Clark. “There are a lot of engineers from Indian Health Services. They go out and assist individuals on tribal land that have septic systems and make sure they’re installed and running properly.”

Courses are spread out across two days and cover a variety of topics:

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  • Proper septic tank installation
  • Installation techniques and materials
  • Safety
  • Soil profiles
  • System technologies
  • Testing
  • Regulatory requirements

The second training class will be Dec. 5 and 6 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Cameron University in Lawton. The final class is scheduled for April 2013 at Tulsa Community College.

“We do a lot of environmental training and we wanted to expand our program to other areas,” says Clark. “I think it was a very good response at the first class. We hope to continue the training ourselves at least to some extent after the contract is over.”

For more information, visit www.rose.edu/epa-septic-training.

Related: The Politics of Onsite Septic System Inspections

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