Water and Wastewater Workforce – the Impending Challenge Part 3 – Why is Having an Experienced and Diligent Water & Wastewater Operator So Important?

EPA authorizes most states to have primary enforcement responsibility “Primacy” for the Safe Drinking Water Act and authorizes most states to operate their own clean water discharge permitting program.  Per EPA regulations, states are to have inspection programs for these utilities.  Of the two-hundred-eighty-four (284) Community Drinking Water System inspections recently completed in the State of Indiana, otherwise known as Sanitary Surveys, two-hundred-forty-four (244) systems, or eighty-six-percent (86%), were found to have minor and/or significant deficiencies.  To ensure the ability to provide clean and safe drinking water and reliable wastewater treatment, we must not only plan for and build suitable infrastructure, but this infrastructure must be properly operated and maintained.  This, in part, served as stimuli for Indiana State Government to pass House Bill 1406, which among other things establishes requirements for utilities to assemble and maintain Asset Management Plans.  However, House Bill 1406 did not address the impending challenge that will occur due to lack of qualified water and wastewater operators.