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<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

6.7 Training (Topic g)

6.7.1 Education and training for planning and design

The education and training of specialists in wastewater and stormwater management, like that of other environmental specialist, has become more multi-disciplinary and multifaceted in recent years. This trend started with the inclusion of subjects from the related sciences into engineering curricula, especially chemistry and microbiology, but also biochemistry and physical chemistry, physiology and the associated analytical methods. Progressively, programmes are now also including subjects from the social and political sciences with the aim to prepare students and trainees for the complex tasks of environmental assessment, planning and management, e.g. economics and finance, law, planning theory, systems analysis, and social anthropology.

Almost all universities and many of the other educational institutions in Western Europe offer programmes in wastewater and stormwater planning and design as part of their civil engineering and/or water resources management curricula. Degree programmes may be part of the curricula for civil engineering, or may provide options for specialization in such fields as water supply, wastewater management, or water resources development. There are not many commonalities among the countries in this respect. Each country has its own tradition and framework. No up-to-date survey exists which would exhibit details on orientation, subject coverage or depth or length of the course. The best source of information are the national professional associations for water pollution control which exist in all Western European countries (for addresses see Section 6.10.1).

In addition to their regular academic programmes, several postgraduate programmes exist for environmental matters in some of the countries. Many of these are broad gauged and focus on meeting the needs for intersectoral and multi-disciplinary environmental planning and administration. However, there are also some specialized postgraduate programmes which focus exclusively on water-related matters, especially water supply and wastewater management. Most of these are open to students from developing countries. Four cases are summarized below (for addresses see Section 6.10.4).

Sanitary Engineering Master Programme of the International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering Delft, The Netherlands

The course ends with a MEng. (12 months duration) or a MSC (18 months) . Participants will be able to carry responsibility in preventing or managing sanitary engineering problems and/or, specifically, in the execution of project activities in sanitary engineering, and provide substantial technical inputs and participate in feasibility studies, and carry managerial responsibilities in the sector. The MEng. course emphasizes the application of scientific knowledge whereas the MSc. course includes research, laboratory and computer analysis, and modeling.

The full programme in sanitary engineering covers water supply, pollution control, and sector and utility management. The course starts with a common basic package including: introduction to sanitary engineering, process technology, chemistry, microbiology, unit operations, computer use, water resources assessment, water transport and distribution, urban drainage, water and wastewater treatment. Following this package, students can specialize water supply, pollution control, and sector utility management. Pollution control covers more advanced subjects such as waste prevention, treatment and disposal, solid waste management, cleaner production technologies, industrial wastewater treatment and sludge management. The final part of the course is devoted to writing an individual study report.

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a full time (12 months) course in Environmental Engineering with a MSC degree. Following the MSC, studies can be continued for a PhD degree.

The first half of the year is spent in lectures, tutorials and individual assignments. The second part consists of project work leading to a dissertation. Field work may be undertaken in the College laboratories, the Water Research Centre of the UK, or, partly at least, in some of the developing countries. The course is modular in nature and offers options in specialist subjects. Each module consists of about 30 hours of lectures per term. The following is an excerpt of the subjects available: water supply and distribution, water collection systems, water treatment, wastewater treatment, environmental engineering, chemistry, hydraulics, urban hydrology and wastewater collection systems, environmental microbiology, water and health in developing countries, and industrial wastewater treatment. Many of the specialized lectures are given by experts from water utilities, consultants, manufacturers and/or research institutions. Formal links exist with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management.

University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

The Department of Civil Engineering offers a 12 month course in Environmental Engineering and a MSC degree and a Diploma.

The course starts with compulsory modules (80 credits) in water chemistry and biology, water pollution assessment, waster supply engineering and infrastructure, wastewater engineering wastewater engineering design, solid waste management, and hazardous waste management. This is followed by a programme of optional modules (20 credits) chosen from a list which may include environmental modeling, environmental impact assessment, environmental engineering and water resources for developing countries, groundwater engineering design and construction, urban drainage, management and computing. A dissertation (80 credits) is based on a four-month research project.

Diploma students take the compulsory modules, fewer optional modules (10 credits) and a dissertation with 30 credits.

Bradford University, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

The Department of Environmental Sciences of the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences offers several MSc courses of interest, e.g. the course in Pollution Monitoring and Control. This course has evolved from the long-established degree programme in Environmental Monitoring and has strong ecological orientation and multi-disciplinary emphasis. It provides training in the various techniques normally available only is separate disciplines. The emphasis is on laboratory and analytical procedures. It covers chemical and biological monitoring, occupational and environmental pollution, environmental modeling, project development, and research methods. Options include: ecological principles and applications, environmental law, solid and liquid waste management, environmental acoustics and noise control, and environmental management techniques and processes. The part of the course dealing with wastewater emphasizes the current theory and practice of water and wastewater treatment both as a science and a technology.

There are related research and PhD programmes within the Departments of Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Engineering.

6.7.2 Education and training for operation and maintenance of wastewater works

The European universities do not offer full-time instruction on the operation and maintenance of wastewater works though some organize short courses and/or seminars dealing with related subjects but these do not normally cover the skills required at the artisan level for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of wastewater works. This type of instruction is normally provided by professional associations with or without the participation of the regulatory agencies involved. Four cases are described below. Most of the association also offer continuing education and training for specialists at the engineering and scientific level, and cover both planning and design and the operation and maintenance. For addresses, see Sections 6.10.1 and 6.10.4, respectively.

England and Wales

Two examples are noteworthy. Both involve private organizations which provide training at a charge.

The Certification and Assessment Board for Education and Training for the Water Industry

The Certification and Assessment Board and the Board for Education and Training for/in the Water Industry (CABRI/BETWI) carries out training aiming at improving O&M through training and better qualified staff, and ensuring that staff assigned will meet stipulated requirements. The key instrument in assuring a high quality of service are the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) which are established by the BETWI and applied (awarded) by the CABRI in consultation with industry experts and organizations. The two Boards function for the Water Industry in the UK. Thus, they are concerned with both water supply and sewerage systems

The National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are established and awarded to qualified personnel whereby a number of actors (persons and institutions) assume functions in the certification process, viz. verifiers, mentors/advisors, and the NVQ Centers. In most cases, it may take a person between 6 and 18 months to achieve a full NVQ depending upon the support his/her company gives in terms of time to collect evidence. Once obtained, an NVQ is for life. There are no exams. However, and "assessor" makes sure that the candidate meets the requirements as regards the knowledge and understanding. There is no general requirement for candidates to participate in training courses before undertaking an NVQ but workshops and courses are offered by some participating institutions.

Having an NVQ, the worker gains a recognized national, and increasingly, international qualification. His organization will gain the benefit of having a skilled workforce. The NVQ is also a tool to up-skill the workforce and/or the individual. Staff moral is boosted, and the NVQ can always be used as part of succession planning within the organization, and to reinforce organizational procedures.

There are five levels of attainment within the NVQ framework covering all levels of occupational performance and all areas of employment. For instance, level 1 requires competence in the performance of a range of activities most of which will be routine and predictable. In contrast, level 5 involves competence in the application of a significant range of fundamental principles and complex techniques of a wide and often unpredictable variety of contexts, and presumes substantial personal autonomy and often significant responsibility for the work of others and for the allocation of substantial resources features, accountability, design planning, execution and evaluation.

Further, there are some 20 NVQ  "elements"  These may relate to water supply or sewerage systems. For each element, performance criteria, the range (of the tasks), the required knowledge and understanding, and evidence requirements are stipulated. An element may relate, for example, to "tracing water pipes and locating leaks"  or "sewerage maintenance - rectifying faults and damage" Other relate to sludge incineration or water quality surveillance. Monitoring of the sewage treatment process, and undertaking laboratory measurements are some of the many elements identified by the Board.

Water Training International

Water Training International (WTI) is a private training organization which provides UK based customized training programmes for students from the UK and a large number of other countries, including European as well as developing ones. Cooperative arrangements with many other organizations, especially with respect to the assessment (of qualifications) and accreditation.

WTI´s programme covers many subject besides water, e.g. building and facilities management, civil engineering, the environment, gas supply, health care premises and estate management, health, safety and risk assessment, management and supervisory, mechanical and electrical engineering, and public utilities distribution. However, a mainstay of WTI's overall programme continues to be for "Water and Wastewater Design and Operation"  More than 100 open courses were offered in 1996/97, such as: sewerage and sewage treatment design and maintenance (20), sewerage operation and maintenance (11), wastewater and trade effluent treatment operations (7), trench support, abrasive wheels and small plant (4), instrumentation (5), law, finance and administration (14), and technical overview (6).


Two examples are also described for France:

Programmes offered by private water companies

The continuing training of the personnel of the private companies discussed in Section 7 is given particular attention by each of these firms. They all maintain training facilities and provide instruction and practical field training. Extensive training material has been developed but has not been published. The example of one of these companies speaks for the system as a whole:

  • A comprehensive training programme is carried out by the training center set up by the company covering technical and managerial aspects. The center integrates the training programme with the company’s technical facilities, their central laboratory, and their technical offices for water treatment, hydraulics, O&M methodology, and research.
  • During 1998, 108 activities were carried out for operating personnel (21 activities), for treatment works personnel (7) engineers and technicians (18), on informatics (17), administration (6), commercial aspects (5), management and human resources development (10), quality control (4), and safety (8).

Office International de l´Eau

The Office International de l´Eau, a government-sponsored yet independent organization, allocates about 50% of its resources to the continuing education and training at all levels and in many fields of water and wastewater, including operation and maintenance. It maintains a training center at Limoges. During 1998, forty-nine activities related to wastewater management: on sewers (12 activities), sewage treatment (17), pumping (3), central technical operations (6), maintenance (7), and on general management (4).

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