Association News - June 2013

Association News - June 2013
Janet Murray

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Committee approves technology
Members of Idaho’s Individual and Subsurface Sewage Disposal Technical Guidance Committee keep the state’s Technical Guidance Manual current by providing oversight for alternative technologies. The committee approved adding the extra-depth sand mound to the manual and updated the list of piping materials to meet current standards. “The extra-depth sand mound, with at least 2 feet of sand below the drain-rock bed, has the potential to be a game changer,” says committee member Joe Canning, P.E., and president of B & A Engineers in Boise. “If nutrient reduction is not a significant issue, this becomes an excellent option for developing more marginal sites without using more aggressive and expensive tools.”


Course for homeowners
Muscatine County Environmental Health officials held a free training session for residents interested in becoming qualified effluent samplers. Homeowners with sand filters, peat filters, aerobic treatment units, constructed wetlands and other biomedia filters are required to have effluent tested twice annually. According to the state Department of Natural Resources, only qualified samplers may collect effluent samples.


Serious about training
During the 2013 Michigan Septic Tank Association conference, more than 200 participants earned a total of 2,100 continuing education hours, equaling more than 1,400 certifications.


Health officer honored
The Missouri Smallflows Organization honored Janet Murray, Randolph County Health Department environmental health supervisor, for her service over 10 years. She has been the president of the board of directors for six years, and prior to that served as secretary. Murray wrote the group’s mission statement and implemented statewide traveling education programs for installers, engineers, service providers, soil evaluators and regulators. She implemented the Daryel Brock Scholarship for children of MSO members, and testified before the legislature on wastewater matters.


NOWRA Nuggets
The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association annual conference is Nov. 17-20 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. A planning committee is developing the program and related activities. Topics under consideration are large commercial decentralized systems, high-strength wastewater, and innovations in treatment technologies. Sara Heger, MS, onsite sewage treatment program extension specialist at the University of Minnesota, is education chair, and Craig Gilbertson is conference chair.

Association members also met with the National Environmental Health Association to discuss updating the 2004 memorandum of understanding. “The revisions will better reflect our beneficial relationship concerning training, and NOWRA’s support of NEHA’s efforts to expand its Certified Installer of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems credentialing program,” says executive director Eric Casey.

NOWRA members are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency MOU group to develop a paper demonstrating the positive effects the onsite industry has on community and economic development. The document will provide reasons why cutting onsite budgets or passing regulations that obstruct system installations will increase hardships for low-income communities. “Installing and maintaining residential or commercial decentralized systems create jobs that benefit the economy,” says Casey. “Once communities manage their wastewater, economic development follows.”

As NOWRA continues to redesign its website, Septic Locator will become a separate website linked to “It will focus exclusively on educating consumers and helping them find qualified service providers,” says Casey. The move enables Septic Locator to appear higher on Google searches and gives NOWRA the ability to accept practitioners who are not members.


Provincial association formed
The New Brunswick Association of Onsite Wastewater Professionals held its first annual meeting and election of officers last November. President Mike Stairs of Fredericton, says the industry and government recognized the need for an association due to the lack of proper installations and inspections, leading to liability for the province, the contractors, and sometimes the product manufacturers. “While the province licenses installers and sets minimum installation standards, cut-rate contractors leave homeowners with huge financial expenses and enormous headaches,” he says. “We hope the association will become self-policing and ostracize those who fail to deliver quality services.” More stringent regulations are due this year. Contact Stairs at


June 7-8
Georgia Onsite Wastewater Association Conference, Sea Palms Resort, St. Simons. Call Bruce Widener at 678/646-0369 or visit



Licensing classes are the joint effort of the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Association and University of West Alabama. Courses are at UWA Livingston campus unless stated otherwise:

  • Aug. 8-9 – Continuing Education, Guntersville
  • Aug. 21-23 – Basic Installer

The first day of continuing education classes is for installers and the second day is for pumpers and portable restroom operators. Call the training center at 205/652-3803 or visit


The Iowa Onsite Waste Water Association has a Site Evaluations and Soils course July 24 in Toledo. Contact Alice Vinsand at 515/225-1051,, or visit


The University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program has these classes:

  • July 9-11 – Soils, Brainerd
  • Aug. 7 – Soils Continuing Education, Two Harbors
  • Aug. 14 – Soils Continuing Education, Winona
  • Aug. 20-23 – Service Provider, St. Cloud

Call Nick Haig at 800/322-8642 or visit

New England

The New England Onsite Wastewater Training Center at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston has these courses:

  • July 11 – Microbiology for Wastewater Professionals
  • July 18 – Surveying Techniques for the Wastewater Professional

Call 401/874-5950 or visit For soil courses, call Mark Stolt at 401/874-2915 or email

North Carolina

The North Carolina Pumper Group and Portable Toilet Group will hold an educational seminar on septage management and land application Sept. 21 in Asheville. Call Joe McClees at 252/249-1097 or visit or


The Chemeketa Community College in Salem has these classes on:

  • Aug. 5-6 –Maintenance Operator
  • Aug. 6 – Installer

Call 503/399-5181 or visit


The Pennsylvania Septage Management Association is offering these courses:

  • July 16-17 – Basic Onlot Wastewater Treatment System Inspection, Bridgewater, N.J.
  • July 23-24 – Advanced Onlot Wastewater Treatment System Inspection, Exton, Pa.

Call 717/763-7762 or visit

Ontario, Canada

The Canadian Onsite Wastewater Institute develops onsite curriculum and training materials for colleges and provincial associations. Courses include an introduction to onsite systems, inspection, pumps and controls, soil analysis, system design, operations and maintenance, grease interceptors, residential and advanced installations, and building code updates. The courses can be tailored for U.S. colleges or associations interested in beginning or expanding training programs. Contact Denis Orendt at 905/372-2722;


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