Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>
Several of the national water pollution control associations in Western Europe run
programmes for operational personnel. The German model is of particular
interest because in that country, operators of water supply and wastewater
works are a legally recognized trade since 1984 as part of the national system
which exists for the certification in many other trades. As part of this
system, workers are trained at trade schools during their apprenticeship, and
examined and certificated by government boards at the State level. Within the
same system, "Master Technicians for STPs" were recognized already in 1987 for
the operation of sewage treatment works. At the lower level, "Technicians"
are trained for both network
operations and STPs. The German Association for the Water Environment (ATV) has
developed most of the training material and participates in the training and
The system has enhanced the quality and the standing of operation and maintenance
personnel and has helped to create beneficial conditions of employment,
including negotiated remuneration. It has also been instrumental ameliorating
the problem of the staffing of operation and maintenance which is plaguing
sewage works in so many countries, especially the developing ones.
Training required to take the examination for certification recognizes three main
fields, i.e. water supply, wastewater and solid waste. There are more than 10
000 sewage treatment plants in Germany and they employ about skilled 25000
workers. The ATV has trained more than 18000 during the last 35 years.
The scheme is exhibited in Figure 6.12 and
information on the two categories of certificated technicians is included in
Tables 6.18 and 6.19.
Table 6.18: Fields of activity and skills required of
|Certificated Sewer Technicians
||Certificated STP Technicians
|Field of activity:
= Monitoring and servicing of network, operation and
maintenance of pumping stations, vehicles, apparatus, aids, accident prevention
and rescue equipment.
= Execution of simple repairs.
= Collaboration in monitoring indirect discharges on
instruction by supervisors.
Knowledge and skill required:
= Purpose, types and properties of systems, including
combined and separate systems, pressure and vacuum systems; and special structures.
= On-site sanitation.
= Sewer inspection with TV.
= Methods for the cleaning of sewers.
= Occupational risks and their prevention.
= Keeping operational log.
|Field of activity:
= Carrying out simple tasks
on sewage treatment plants, including monitoring, operation and maintenance of
machinery, equipment and aids.
= Simple repairs.
Knowledge and skill required:
= Water management,
wastewater discharge, stormwater relief
= Types, amounts and properties of wastewater and sludge.
= Treatment processes and associated installations and machinery, and
= Accident prevention: regulations, handling protective equipment.
= Monitoring, operation and maintenance of facilities in accordance
with instructions, operating data and measurements, and recognition of faults.
= Simple measurements and evaluations.
= Maintenance of an operational log.
To take the exam for Master Technician, applicants must have three years
experience as certificated operator before, or have 4 years experience in
wastewater operations if qualified in a similar trade, or 5 years experience in
the operation of a wastewater system if qualified in a dissimilar trade, or 8
years if without a trade qualification.
Figure 6.12: Prerequisites for Technicians and Master
Taken together, the ATV runs a five-component programme as listed below. For all
components, syllabuses and teaching material is available (the latter only for participants):
- ATV Basic Courses for skilled workers for sewer
systems or sewage treatment plants.
- Preparation for the qualifying examinations for
certificated Sewer and/or Sewage Treatment Plant TechnicianE Table 18
exhibits their field of activity and the knowledge and skills they must have.
- Courses for "Master Technicians" the operation
and maintenance of STPs. The courses are offered both formal or by
correspondence. Once they have passed the Master's examination, they are
authorized to independently operate systems/plants serving a population of
between 200 000 and 30 000. Table 19 contains a summary of the subjects covered
during the training for master operator. They are authorized make independent decisions,
- directing and managing the operation;
- supervising the functioning of the process, the
components and the machinery;
- occupational safety and accident prevention;
- training and supervision of operators;
- participation in the planning of modifications of the system.
- Continuing education (at all levels of staff).
Advanced training courses, seminars, info-days, specialists´ cooperation with
universities, and group training with other specialist associations are
organized and conducted.
- Continuing training in special subjects for
supervisors and managers, engineers and scientists. For 1999, more than 80
activities are planned.
Table 6.19: Main subjects taught for Master Technicians for
sewage treatment plants
Part 1: General
Basics of cost effective management
Basics of effective legal management
Basics of team work in operation and maintenance
Part 2: Technical
Mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology
Basics of data processing
Measurement and control mechanisms
Scientific principles concerning wastewater collection and
treatment - municipal and industrial
Sludge treatment and use
Sampling and analytical methods
Processing of operational data
Part 3: Vocational matters
Basics of vocational training
Planning education and training