Here are the answers to O&M Quiz No. 1.
1. What are three reasons O&M service is important?
Answer: From my perspective there are three things we want to happen with any onsite treatment system. We want the system to above all protect human health, followed by protecting the environment. O&M results in the third reason: that the system operates as it is intended indefinitely into the future.
2. What does management of an onsite wastewater treatment system mean?
Answer: Management describes all of the steps that are necessary for the continued operation of the system, so it includes installation, operation and maintenance, and compensation. There are a couple levels of management. There is the management of the system itself to ensure each component operates as it is designed, and then there is a programmatic or area-wide management that may be conducted by either a private or governmental entity. They become the responsible management entity (RME).
3. T or F - Monitoring is tied to verification of performance to meet regulatory compliance.
Answer: True. The purpose of monitoring is to make sure the system is in compliance with the requirements placed on the system that allowed its installation. This is most often found in designated areas; an example would be the system is located in a wellhead protection area or nitrogen-reduction area where the system needs to meet certain discharge requirements to protect public health or the environment. Aside from the regulatory aspects, monitoring can be used to provide data to the service provider to help guide what maintenance activities need to be performed or adjusted.
4. As an O&M service provider, what is your risk of biological pathogen exposure?
Answer: High. This is something that has been looked at a little more closely. No surprise that the risk would be high, but we often either take it for granted or we just become used to working with wastewater and do not recognize that it may be a part of the cause of our illnesses. This is why it is important to use proper protection at all times while conducting O&M activities. This includes wearing rubber gloves, facemasks and proper protective clothing.
5. T or F - Monitoring frequency should be defined by the regulatory authority through an evaluation of the potential environmental and public health risks associated with system nonperformance.
Answer: True. Monitoring should not be done just for the sake of monitoring, but to obtain the information needed to accomplish the regulatory needs. Higher risk areas or systems should be subject to more monitoring as well as a greater frequency of O&M activities.