Come and Get Your Learner’s Permit at the WWETT Show

Take in as many of this baker’s dozen of onsite-related education seminars as possible to enhance the value of your visit to the greatest wastewater show on earth

Come and Get Your Learner’s Permit at the WWETT Show

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The Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show, known as the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo for many years, has a rich history of focusing on education for wastewater industry professionals.

Sure, the greatest wastewater show on earth, Feb. 20-23 in Indianapolis, has at its foundation in exhibits of the latest and best tools to serve contractors. If you need it as an installer, you will find it at the Indiana Convention Center. There is indeed no shortage of bright, shiny objects to capture your imagination as you think about better ways to serve your customers.

But at the bedrock of the WWETT Show is also an emphasis on preparing you and your installing crews to utilize the newest technology and follow best practices in the field. If you have newbies in your company, this is the place where they can become immersed in the learning process that will lead them through a successful career start as a wastewater professional. If you need to brush up on new advanced systems, system inspection procedures or safety techniques, you can do all of that here.

The first day of the WWETT Show has always been considered Education Day. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, before the exhibit hall opens, there are nearly 50 seminars to choose from, spanning a broad array of wastewater topics. And a heavy classroom schedule continues on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 21 and 22. In all, there are nearly 100 seminars.

How do you choose where to spend your time? You can look over the entire schedule before you arrive in Indy by visiting Or when you arrive to register at the convention center, pick up a program and take some time to carefully review the courses and plan your days. To get you started, I’m highlighting a baker’s dozen seminars aimed at installers.

Take a look. Compare my list to the full schedule. I couldn’t cover all of the valuable WWETT Show education resources in one short column.

Don’t forget to bring a pen and notepad, and I’ll see you at the show!


The Driving Forces of Septic Failures
Presenter: Jason Ravenscroft, manager of the Marion (Indiana) County Public Health Department and adjunct professor at the Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University
Ravenscroft will summarize a Marion County Health Department survey of septic system users in an urban area where many systems are 50 years old and replacement would be challenged by limited lot space, flood plains, potential for sewer expansion and threats to local waterways. He will define and identify methods to reduce septic failures.

What’s Going Down the Drain Matters
Presenter: Sara Heger, engineer, researcher and instructor in the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program in the Water Resource Center at the University of Minnesota, as well as a board member and education chair of the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
Heger will address the varying quantity and quality of wastewater in public facilities and private homes and suggest design scenarios for a broad spectrum of settings. Topics include the difference between hydraulic and organic loading, identifying challenging water streams from commercial properties and the impact of chemicals entering the wastewater stream.

Compaction – The Enemy of Septic System Longevity
Presenter: Sara Heger
Heger will discuss causes of soil compaction — including wet soils, material handling and the weight of vehicles, equipment, pedestrians, and animals — and best techniques to avoid issues. She will explain how a variety of distribution methods affect biomat formation.

Point of Sale or Time of Transfer: Navigating the Politics
Presenter: Dendra Best, executive director of WasteWater Education, Traverse City, Michigan, past member of the Water Environment Federation, member of Michigan League for Public Policy and the National Environmental Health Association
Best will discuss how point-of-sale or time-of-transfer regulations differ by jurisdiction and help installers determine if ordinances are in effect, the pros and cons of such inspections and the political implications of these rules. She will also discuss the details of filing inspection reports.

Checklists, Inspections, Evaluations and Disclosures
Presenter: Dendra Best
Best will look at creating sound policies and procedures to avoid legal issues when performing system inspections or evaluations. Topics will include disclosure statements, service checklists, recording findings, dealing with lenders and Realtors and creating a database of services performed.

Troubleshooting Pumps and Controls
Presenter: John R. Buchanan, associate professor in the Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Department at the University of Tennessee and a member of the Water Environment Federation, Soil and Water Conservation Society, NOWRA and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Buchanan will focus on the issues faced when service providers are called to inspect a failed pump system. He will explain common pump failure modes and evaluate when it makes sense to rebuild or replace the pump. Topics will include tracing electrical failures, reviewing necessary repair tools, identifying types of controls used and determining voltage amperage and resistance within electrical controls.

Troubleshooting Drip Distribution
Presenter: John R. Buchanan
Buchanan will look at methods for identifying and repairing problems in drip distribution systems. He will start with a refresher on how drip systems work, then explore topics including the impact that filters, air/vacuum relief valves, and pumps may have on system performance. He will also discuss simple fixes, when and how chemical treatment would be utilized on emitters and calculating and measuring the flow rate from a drip system.

What to Do With Water and Solids
Presenter: Dave Gustafson, engineer and trainer with the Water Resource Center at the University of Minnesota
Gustafson will discuss separation of liquids and solids in onsite systems and options and considerations for disposal of both waste streams. He will address U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 503 requirements and land application loading rates for wastewater.

Troubleshooting Floats and Onsite Septic Controls
Presenter: Mark McCollum, regional sales manager for SJE-Rhombus and a member of the Oregon Onsite Wastewater Association
McCollum will discuss control panel components and their functions, how to use a digital multimeter, proper ways to troubleshoot a float and timesaving methods to begin assessing problems at the control panel. His intent is to provide basic theory of operation for residential onsite control panels, how to read schematics and demonstrate basic knowledge of electricity use in residential onsite controls.

Online Tools for In-Depth Review of Soils, Hydrology and Geology
Presenters: Paul R. Finnell Sr., owner of Prairie Hills Soils Consulting, and Dena Anderson, a resource soil scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service
Finnell and Anderson will focus on web-based tools for preliminary soil evaluation for onsite system locations, including Web Soil Survey, SoilWeb and Google Earth Pro, and talk about information available on the National Soil Survey Database.


Soil Evaluation – Soil Properties
Presenters: Paul R. Finnell Sr. and Dena Anderson
Finnell and Anderson will use many demonstrations and give an introduction to soils treatment capacity depending on composition such as description forms (site, profile, limitations), soil texture, color, structure, depth and restrictive layers.

NOWRA Land Surveying Workshop for Septic System Installation and Location
Presenters: John R. Buchanan; Kevin Sherman, technical specialist at Presby Environmental Inc.; Sara Heger
The speakers will focus on tools and techniques of measuring elevation and distances during onsite system installations and for locating the components of existing systems during service or maintenance calls. They will also discuss system mapping and teach proper operation of surveying instruments.


NAWT O&M – Professional System Technician
Presenter: Dave Gustafson
Gustafson will introduce the basics of operations and maintenance services for onsite systems, provide an overview of necessary skills for technicians, explain the importance of developing files and communications, and recognize wastewater flows and their impacts on systems.


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