Participants in Program from facilities in Bristol, Burrillville, Cranston, East Greenwich, Jamestown, Newport, West Warwick, Woonsocket, and the Narragansett Bay Commission's Bucklin Point and Fields Point Treatment Plants
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management will award a dozen municipal wastewater treatment operators with certificates of graduation from its industry-driven training program, known as Wastewater Management Boot Camp, on September 12. The year-long program, the first of its kind in the nation, has been recognized as a model for other states to follow. The initiative provides municipal wastewater staff with training, networking, and skill-development course work to help groom the next generation of wastewater management leaders. Training events were held monthly since October 2013 at municipal wastewater treatment facilities, URI's Bay Campus, the RI Emergency Management Command Center, and a variety of DEM sites.
The goal of program organizers is to train individuals to better manage the state's critical wastewater treatment infrastructure as the wastewater profession throughout the United States ages, and long-time wastewater managers retire. Training includes management courses; technical courses such as engineering basics and process control; skills training in the areas of media relations, working with regulatory agencies, and budget preparation; and an overview of the aquatic sciences and climate change.
"It is extremely important that as a new generation of men and women come into leadership positions at wastewater treatment plants, they be well-trained, committed and proactive," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "DEM is pleased to act as a resource for wastewater treatment managers by offering this innovative program. We've worked with an outstanding group of individuals from across the state in this latest round of Boot Camp training."
The Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, and staff at the Narragansett Bay Commission took central roles in assisting DEM with the program, which was funded in part with training monies from the US EPA Region 1 and help from the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association. Most of the training was provided on a volunteer basis by local experts. There was no cost to participants or their communities for participating in the program.
Attendees include Kyle Arnold, Woonsocket; Eric Bogosian, Mark Brasil and Joe Crosby, Narragansett Bay Commission Fields Point; José DaSilva, Bristol; William Dolan, Narragansett Bay Commission, Bucklin Point; Erik Drukovskis, Newport; Paul Robertson, Jamestown; Kevin Savastano, East Greenwich; Donald Shurtleff, Burrillville; Harrison Songolo, West Warwick; and Damyan Zhelev, Cranston.
DEM held the first operator Boot Camp in 2007. The program ran consecutively for three years and was tabled in 2010 with the recognition that the most eligible operator had been through the program. With the need to help newer operators who have joined the field or have been promoted since, DEM ran the current Boot Camp class. DEM is currently evaluating when to re-run the program, but has determined that it will not run for at least a year.
DEM staff received EPA training awards in 2008 and 2009 for the development of the Boot Camp model. The program has also been featured in the Treatment Plant Operator and Water Environment Federation magazines. DEM has also assisted Connecticut and Massachusetts with direct training and has provided input in the development of the program's use in other states.