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Conference on high-strength wastewater

The Ohio State University Extension will sponsor the Ohio Water Quality and Waste Management Conference April 11-12 at Woodlands in Cleves. The topic, high-strength wastewater, will feature a sand bioreactor developed at the university to treat wastewater from an Ohio poultry plant. The low-cost, odorless, park-like system has saved the Harrison facility more than $10 million over conventional treatment. A field trip will introduce regulators, designers and installers to the system. Visit for a program schedule and registration form.

Home dialysis

An article in the fall Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association newsletter alerts service entities and system designers to the effect of home dialysis on onsite systems. A treatment, often done every other day to cleanse toxins from the blood due to kidney failure, uses 100 to 1,264 gallons of water. The significant flows can upset the septic tank, flushing solids into the drainfield and precipitating failure. Author Brock Cross, project manager with Gunnell Engineer, suggests increasing the size of the septic tank or installing a pump chamber if the original vessel is large enough. He also advises inspecting the health of the field. Dialysis does not release contaminants. The bulk of the flow is purified water from pre-dialysis reverse osmosis filtration. The remaining fluid carries wastes found in urine, and the concentrations of chemicals in the dialysate are low due to dilution.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in wastewater

A study by the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in wastewater entering two mid-Atlantic and two Midwest treatment plants. Onsite systems also could become contaminated as home and hospice care replace hospitals. The risk of infection exists for pumpers cleaning septic tanks and installers rehabilitating systems. Researchers found that only UV disinfection or chlorination destroyed the superbugs. They encouraged operators and service providers to wear gloves and wash their hands frequently. Visit

Frost-fighting BMPs

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency staffer Barb McCarthy reports that St. Louis County installers have adopted best management practices (BMPs) to help keep water from freezing in the 2-inch pressure pipe just after it leaves the pump tank. This portion of piping can sag as the ground settles, allowing ice to accumulate in the dip when the pump shuts off and effluent drains back to the tank. Enough ice will plug the system.

To avoid the situation, installers tamp down the backfill, especially beneath the pipe outlet. Then, they install a length of Schedule 40 4-inch pipe (less prone to bending) from the tank to the undisturbed soil, and use a reducer adapter to attach the 2-inch supply line. Workers also insulate at least the upper portions of tanks with foam board or spray foam (the latter doesn't leave gaps and also will insulate riser lids). Finally, they cover the dispersal mound with straw or other insulating material.

Electronic plan review

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), Division of Industry Services, will accept onsite design plans electronically. After registering for access, designers can upload required documents in PDF format, then follow the status of the review through SharePoint communication software. "The agency wants to ensure that our profession is reasonably regulated without multiple agency staff duplicating responsibilities and slowing down the process," says Aaron Ausen, president of the Wisconsin Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association. "DSPS wants us as qualified professionals to make our own decisions."

NOWRA nuggets

NOWRA is completing development of an advanced onsite system design course at the request of the Maryland Onsite Wastewater Professionals Association. The project stems from state Department of Environment regulations requiring best available technology units for all new construction. The law became effective Jan. 1, 2013.

"We saw a big need for the course," says NOWRA executive director Eric Casey. "Many engineers contracted to design systems have little experience with pretreatment. It's usually the soils that trip them up." Numerous Maryland health officials responsible for approving, inspecting, and certifying advanced designs also will benefit from the training.

MOWPA board members, which included representatives from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and MDE, reviewed the curriculum. NOWRA members Dick Otis, P.E., Bob Mayer, P.E., and Hilary Valentine, an instructor at Delaware Technical Community College, developed the course. They incorporated material from sources including the Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment, Michigan State University, soil science and engineering communities, and elsewhere.

Otis and Valentine planned to present the first course April 23-24 and May 1. It includes classroom studies and fieldwork in which students will design two systems using alternative solutions. Two more field exercises and an exam follow in May. Visit

In the future, NOWRA will offer a train-the-trainer course, enabling others to present the advanced design material in their states. The association also is developing an online training platform and will beta test it with one or more affiliates before rolling out the program nationally. The anticipated release is mid-summer.

Feb. 6-8

Kansas Small Flows Association Convention, Ramada, Hutchinson. Call Elma Ball at 913/594-1472 or visit

Feb. 7-9

Western Canadian Onsite Wastewater Management Association of British Columbia Trade Show and Conference, Ramada Convention Centre, Abbottsford. 877/489-7471;

Feb. 21-23

Alberta Onsite Wastewater Management Association Trade Show and Convention, Ramada Convention Centre, Edmonton. 877/489-7471;

Feb. 25-28

Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International, Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis. 866/933-2653;

March 3-5

Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association Conference, Blue Mountain Ski Resort, Collingwood. Call Don Krauss at 855/905-6692 or visit

March 3-5

Pennsylvania Association of Sewage Enforcement Officers Conference and Trade Show, Holiday Inn, Grantville. 717/761-8648;

March 7-8

New Mexico Onsite Wastewater Association Onsite Wastewater Conference, Ruidoso Convention Center. Call 575/937-9429 or email

March 13-14

Onsite Wastewater Association of Idaho Conference, Boise State University Conference Center, Boise. Call Justin VanCleave at 208/664-2133, Matt Gibbs at 208/660-8982 or visit

March 15

Saskatchewan Onsite Wastewater Management Association Trade Show and Convention, Saskatoon. 877/489-7471;

March 19-20

Texas Onsite Wastewater Association Conference, Waco Convention Center, Waco. 281/738-3355;

March 25-26

Granite State Designers and Installers Association Septic System Conference and Exposition, Radisson Hotel, Manchester. 603/228-1231;


The University of Minnesota Water Resources Center has these classes:

March 12-15 – Intermediate Onsite System Design and Inspection, St. Cloud

March 19-21 – Maintaining Onsite Systems, St. Cloud

March 25-26 – Maintainer Continuing Education, Owatonna

March 27-28 – General Continuing Education, Detroit Lakes

April 3-4 – Solutions for Difficult Sites Continuing Education, Alexandria

April 9-11 – Basic Onsite System Design, Owatonna

April 17 – Design Continuing Education, St. Cloud

April 18 – Inspector Continuing Education, St. Cloud

April 17-18 – Design/Inspector Continuing Education Combo, St. Cloud

April 23-26 – Advanced Onsite System Design and Inspection, St. Cloud

April 29 - May 1 – Introduction to Onsite Systems, Bemidji

Call Nick Haig at 800/322-8642 (612/625-9797) or visit

North Carolina

North Carolina State University has these courses:

March 19 – Redoximorphic Features, Soil Wetness, and Water Table Relationships, New Bern

March 20 – Nature's Way: Water Movement and Treatment through Soils, New Bern

March 27 – Soils of the Felsic/Mafic Piedmont Region, Salisbury

April 2-3 – 18-hour Introductory Installer Training, Raleigh

April 4 – Gravity and Pump Systems: A Better Installation Equals a Better System, Raleigh

April 5 – Advanced Septic System Installer Guidance, Raleigh

April 9-10 – Soil Profiling for Wastewater and Stormwater System Siting, Carthage

April 24 – Soils for the Outer Piedmont and Foothills, Morganton

Contact Joni Tanner at 919/513-1678 or


The Chemeketa Community College in Salem has these classes:

April 2-3 – Maintenance Operator, Bend at O2WA Conference

April 4 – Installer, Bend at O2WA Conference

Call 503/399-5181 or visit


The Pennsylvania Septage Management Association is offering these courses at Wyomissing:

April 2-3 – Basic Onlot Wastewater Treatment System Inspection

April 2-3 – Advanced Onlot Wastewater Treatment System Inspection

Call 717/763-7762 or visit


The Virginia Center for Onsite Wastewater Training has these classes at Pickett Park:

March 4 – Foundational Concepts of Pump Systems

March 29 – Understanding the Septic Tank, online

April 9-10 – Water Movement in Soils

April 12 – Nitrogen Dynamics, online

Contact Latonya Fowlkes at 434/292-3101 or or visit


The Washington On-Site Sewage Association and Washington State Department of Health in cooperation with Washington State University are offering these certification courses at the Puyallup training center unless stated otherwise:

March 13 – Troubleshooting Onsite Systems

March 20 – Design/Install Subsurface Drip

March 21 – First Aid/CPR

March 27 – Advanced Soils

April 3 – Design High-Strength Waste

April 17 – Design/Install Subsurface Drip, Moses Lake

April 18 – First Aid/CPR

April 24 – Pumper, Vancouver

Call WOSSA at 253/770-6594 or visit


Wieser Concrete Products offers simultaneous six-credit Septic Training seminars for: Commercial Plumbing Inspector Certification, Initial Qualifying Training - POWTS Maintainer Registration, Journeyman Plumber License, Journeyman Plumber - Restricted Service License, Master Plumber License, Master Plumber - Restricted Plumber License, POWTS Inspector Certification, POWTS Maintainer Registration, and Soil Tester Certification. The courses will be held:

March 5 – Wieser Concrete, Fond du Lac

March 12 – Wieser Concrete, Maiden Rock

March 14 – Wieser Concrete, Portage

March 19 – Arts Center, Shell Lake

March 21 – Town Hall, Arbor Vitae

Call 715/647-2311 or 800/325-8456 or email


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