The Regional Wastewater Facility Operations Department is responsible for the proper operations of the treatment facility and of effluent flow, conducting laboratory testing to ensure quality, and reporting any problems as needed.
The regional facilities include Alum Creek Water Reclamation Facility and the Olentangy Environmental Control Center.
The daily essential job functions performed by the department include, but are not limited to:
- Conduct routine inspection of entire treatment facility
- Perform routine analysis for NPDES reporting using approved standard operating procedures. Take samples and record data reflecting continued operation of the treatment facility including carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, total solids, total volatile solids, e-coli, and fecal coliform.
- Monitor the facility, and all SCADA computers, and reports abnormalities or problems to supervisor or on call personnel.
- Calibrate, operate, and maintain complex laboratory equipment.
- Identify and classify aquatic organisms with a microscope.
- Conduct laboratory testing procedures to determine condition of biomass and to help calculate quality of waste.
- Field-testing for treatment facility include the following: pH, chlorine residual, dissolved oxygen, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrates, phosphorus, aeration tank concentrations, and return sludge concentration.
- Perform routine and corrective repairs and take preventative measures to protect equipment.
- Perform routine grounds maintenance including, but not limited to, mowing, trimming, snow removal, painting, mulching.
- Responsible for various forms of data entry, logging and other forms of record keeping.
- Clean and maintain specific areas of facility as assigned.
Critical Skills and Expertise
- Ability to obtain knowledge of activated sludge process.
- Ability to learn and interpret the process control methods and relate to the treatment process to determine the condition of facility’s biology, operational targets and wasting amounts.
- Ability to obtain knowledge of required lab/field testing procedures.
- General knowledge of wastewater treatment chemicals and associated Safety Data Sheets.
- General knowledge of various valves, pumps, grinders, samplers, blowers and other facility equipment and their operation.
- General ability to read and understand drawings, sketches, diagrams, blueprints, or maps as may be used in performance of duties.
- Ohio EPA Wastewater Operator Certification
- OWEA Wastewater Lab Analysis Certification
- State of Ohio Commercial Driver License
The Regional Wastewater Facility Operations Department is responsible for maintaining the overall operation of regional treatment plant processes. There are several different programs that have been established in order to maintain compliance with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES).
The specialized programs established to maintain regulatory compliance are as follows:
- Project Planning – There are many projects such as plant upgrades, UV upgrades, and tertiary filter repairs that require initiation by the operations department. Part of the planning process for project completion is to start with a Plan of Action (POA) meeting. The POA should be scheduled and presented to those departments that will have an impact on project completion.
- Process Control – Daily process control methods reveal what is going on within the treatment process. Process control methods include, but are not limited to centrifuge spin (aeration tank concentration) settleability, ammonia testing, nitrate testing, dissolved oxygen readings, pH reading, and alkalinity. With special attention paid to these methods the operators can make sure the plant is operating successfully in order to meet NPDES compliance.
- Sludge Disposal – Solid wasting is a requirement for compliance. If solids are not removed from the treatment plant then they have the potential of causing significant damage to the process. Operators are tasked daily to calculate how much solid needs to be wasted from treatment. Solids that are wasted will be pumped to digesters. In order to get the most solids disposal there needs to be a dewatering process before sludge is hauled to the landfill. Prior to trucking thickened sludge to the landfill it will go through a centrifuge or belt press operated by the plant operators.
- Plant Grounds – Operators have the responsibility to keep the grounds of the facility in good condition. This task includes mowing, trimming, bush trimming, and mulching.
- Lab Analysis – Alum Creek and Olentangy treatment plants have a chemist onsite. The chemist runs a majority of lab analysis. The requirements for what is analyzed in our lab is based off the NPDES permit. Those tests include, but are not limited to ammonia, nitrate, phosphorus, TSS, TS, E. coli, CBOD and oil & grease.
The Regional Wastewater Facility Operations Department is subject to a wide variety of occupational exposures while performing the routine daily duties. Many of the exposures may often cause acute and chronic health conditions and possibly serious health related issues. The Regional Sewer District Joint Health and Safety Committee works diligently to identify work related exposures and provide technical standard operating procedures and hands-on training to protect the employees from illness and injury in the workplace. The most common hazards that the Regional Wastewater Facility Operations Department face each day includes, but is not limited to:
- Electrical Shock
- Forklift Operation
- Crane & Hoist Operation
- Confined Space Entry
- Hazardous Atmospheres
- Blood Borne Pathogens