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President's Message (C Factor)

Are You Certified?
By Mike Darrow
Posted on 8/1/2019 6:22 AM

August is Water Professionals Month! Our Publicity Committee has put forth an effort across the state to promote this. The goal of this campaign is to bring recognition to our hard-working members and their service to the community and draw attention to the many fine folks and disciplines that keep things flowing!


Part of being a water professional is to ensure that we have the knowledge, 0abilities, and ethics to perform our tasks. Certifications are one way to do that. There are many roles in the water industry, all working together, such as treatment operators, system operators, inspectors, coordinators, technicians, mechanics, meter readers, customer service representatives, and engineers. At FWPCOA we offer voluntary certificates in many of these areas, as well as state licensing-required course work and many continuing educational units (CEUs) training classes. We offer different ways to obtain these, including state short schools, regional short schools and classes, on-the-road courses (that come to your utility), and the FWPCOA Online Institute. All of these provide training to hone your skills or advance your career.


Many of us need certifications or licenses in our craft, and we should never stop learning something new or different. I believe these certifications go a long way to help us achieve goals and be more professional. Knowledge is a good thing, and the training that FWPCOA provides comes at a very reasonable cost—especially for what you’re getting!


Check our website for upcoming training opportunities at These classes help promote good skills and offer ideas for your daily activities to help you accomplish your mission. Use them to your advantage! 


Utility Maintenance Level II and III Courses


You may not know this, but FWPCOA has developed a course for plant mechanics and lift station technicians. Developed by association members David Pachucki and Bob Case, and taught by them (as well by Ric Romanoff), this class is taught in the week-long short school format, both at the state level and for regional short schools.  This course is the certificate you need to have if you’re a lift station techy.


The entry-level III and the intermediate-level II exams will be given by the FWPCOA voluntary certification board on a specified examination date. The board will issue a voluntary certification when the applicant satisfies all of the qualifications for the class of certification being applied for. The association reserves the right to deny access to the certification exam by an unqualified applicant.


These voluntary certification courses are designed for utility maintenance mechanics and technicians who provide plant, pump, and lift station maintenance. Each course is 30 hours in length and includes the course manual published by FWPCOA. The level III course covers many topics, including pumps, motors, basic electrical, controls, backflow prevention and cross connection control, types of maintenance programs, valves, safety, and more. The level II course covers more topics, including pumping and hydraulics, electrical systems, principles of lubrication, crane and hoist safety, shift alignment and vibration analysis, math, and confined space.


The cost of these courses is very reasonably priced as a benefit of membership, which will help you in the task of being more professional.




Level III:

  1. Must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Must attach a copy of a high school diploma or equivalent.
  3. Must have accumulated at least one year (2,080 hours) of documented “Hands-On” experience in the field.
  4. Must successfully complete the FWPCOA level III technology training course.
  5. Must pass the level III written exam.

Level II:

  1. Must have an FWPCOA level III certification.
  2. Must have accumulated three years (6,240 hrs.) of documented “hands-on” experience in the field.
  3. Must successfully complete the FWPCOA level II technology training course.
  4. Must attach a copy of an unexpired standard first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) card.
  5. Must pass the level II written exam.


If you’re interested in becoming a qualified instructor for these courses, please fill out our instructor bio, which can be found at, and contact our committee chair at or the training office at


This course is very popular and I highly recommend it to strengthen your tool box, in combination with your own work experiences, and with our highly successful wastewater collection system operator certifications C, B, A. You will become one very well rounded wastewater lift station professional.


New Training


Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Class B Course 


Our very knowledgeable Region IX director, Scott Ruland, has developed and completed the FWPCOA wastewater treatment operator B course and manual. This will help many members advance their abilities and achieve Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) state licensing.  This course will also be used for the required qualifications for FDEP state exam and licensing in wastewater treatment. This class will be added to our successful Online Institute for enrollment and usage anytime it’s convenient for you at Scott has developed our popular, FDEP-approved drinking water treatment plant operator class B course and manual. Great job, Scott! Our thanks go to you and your hard work for moving the profession forward!


Wastewater Collection C System Operator Manual in Development


The FWPCOA board of directors unanimously approved funding for the creation of our own Florida-geared training manual for wastewater collection system operators. The cost for development of the training manual and support materials was $37,500. The association is moving away from the California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) printed manual for this course. The CSUS manuals have had numerous issues recently and the association felt it was time to develop a printed manual of its own based on our actual short school training.  


Our training for system operators includes the book with the training course included in the total fee. Rim Bishop, the FWPCOA secretary/treasurer, said, “I hope this will be the first manual in what eventually will become an FWPCOA library for all training programs.” A review committee is now being formed for development of the printed manuals, and the task will include updating the look and use of the old training books. This will keep future updating of the manual in FWPCOA control (instead of relying on CSUS) for important changes to the industry or specific disciplines.


Upcoming Events


August State Short School: Fort Pierce


Every August we offer the fall state short school, which will be held in Fort Pierce again this year. The school will be on August 12-16 at Indian River State College.


Course work activities at this year’s short school are in the areas of system operations for water distribution, wastewater collection, stormwater management, reclaimed water distribution levels, treatment operations for facility management and supervision, process control and troubleshooting.  technical and utility maintenance! practices for backflow repair and tester, basic electrical and instrumentation, utility maintenance levels III and II, and customer service training. Contact Shirley Reaves for more information at  or at our


Board of Directors Meeting and Luncheon


There will be a state board of directors meeting open to all members on August 11 at 9:30 a.m., and the FWPCOA annual award luncheon will be held on August 14. Our awards committee will again this year find it challenging to select this year’s recipients, with so many talented folks out there. 


Both events will be held at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce. More details can be found on the association website.  


We hope to see you there—and be professional in all you do!