Certification Exams

Saskatchewan Polytechnic will be offering certification exam writing on October 23, 2020 at Regina and Saskatoon Campuses at 9am and 1pm both locations. Please check their website for more information.

Polytechnic Certification Exams

As The Years Go By....

Spring 2020 Pipeline
Spring 2020 Pipeline

Well, there aren’t too many of us that can say that we have been in the water and wastewater industry for 40 years, but there are a few that are close. When I saw the theme for this edition of the Pipeline was, “as the years go by” I started to think about the achievements of the past 40 years in our industry.

There have been huge advancements in technology and many of us have had to learn a lot of new processes, systems and equipment. I am blessed to travel all over the province and see many different eras of water treatment plants. One of the things that stands out in my mind is the ability of some of the 1950’s and 1960’s era plants that can meet today’s regulations. The skill of the operators and the expertise in engineering of these plants has enabled them to stay the course and still be operational.

We are moving into a new era of plant design, operation and maintenance. New plants are extremely complex when it comes to control systems and monitoring. This can be both a blessing and a curse. When our monitoring equipment is working well we can feel reassured that our system and community is safe and our water quality secure. When it isn’t working properly we might, as operators, be struggling to troubleshoot and operate our process in manual. These situations can stretch our skills and patience. Advanced learning is required to keep our new plants operating and to know when a situation is beyond our capability to remedy. Learning to maintain, calibrate and troubleshoot in-line monitoring equipment is now an essential tool for operators.

The improvements in technology are beginning to show huge successes with the increased use of biological filtration coupled with reverse osmosis technology. This is allowing water that was, in the past, untreatable to be available to the communities that so desperately need it. A technology that was once misunderstood and under-utilized is becoming a mainstream solution for difficult to treat water and that is a huge achievement for the water industry.

The amount of theoretical and practical knowledge that operator must obtain has grown exponentially in the past 40 years. 40 years ago, operators needed to undergo on-the-job training with a senior operator to run a water treatment plant. Information about the plant, anomalies of the system, chemical dosing and plant operational routines were all transferred by practical means. Today, operators need to have Grade 12 diploma, experience in a facility and undergo a series of written certification exams before being deemed “competent” to operate a water plant. This is in addition to the practical “hands-on” training with a senior plant operator.

Most of us will not be engaged in the water industry 40 years from now. However, I am sure that we will all be watching, with interest, the advances in technology, the improvements in operator training and the changes in technology from our retirement homes.

Article credit - Dawn Dierker - ATAP

Check out this article and much more in the latest edition of the SWWA Pipeline