State Water Board Accepting Emergency Requests for Operator Certification Exams
The State Water Board is reminding agencies that due to the cancellation of Wastewater Operator Certification Examinations earlier this year, the State Water Board is now accepting emergency requests for Operator Certification Exams. Please see further information below and be sure to note that prioritization may be based on treatment plant need before an individual seeking certification.
As a result of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) emergency, and state and federal guidance related to social distancing, the State Water Board made the difficult decision to cancel the April 18 Wastewater Operator Certification Examination . All examinees who were scheduled for the April exam are being rescheduled for the October 2020 exam and their fees applied to to the October test.
The State Water Resources Control board is currently working to identify viable options to assist those wastewater treatment plants that may have emergency needs which cannot wait until the regularly scheduled examination. If your agency has an emergency need for an examination to be conducted, please inform the Wastewater Operator Certification program by sending the following information to the email@example.com e-mail address:
- Name of Examinee
- Grade Level of Examination Needed
- Wastewater System Location
- Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor Contact Information (Name, Phone Number & E-mail Address)
- Emergency Need
Thank you for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented circumstances.
Resources for Agency Planning and Operations
As we all struggle to cope with long term “shelter in place” orders and other COVID-19 related restrictions, agencies are adapting with modified emergency staffing plans, continuity of operations plans, modified remote work policies, and revisiting interagency agreements to maintain critical services. Below are examples of approaches developed by CASA member agencies, though these are by no means exhaustive. Feel free to reach out directly to Jared Voskuhl if you are looking from something more specific, and we can place an inquiry out to our LISTSERVs.
In addition, our partners at NACWA have begun to compile similar materials from their member agencies. They have graciously offered to grant CASA members access to the NACWA members only page where these materials are housed. If you are interested in accessing these materials please reach out directly to Cheryl Mackelvie and she can facilitate access for you as a CASA member.
April 1: CWEA/CASA Webinar on Coronavirus Transmission and Operations Planning
April 27 – 30: WRF Virtual International Water Research Summit on COVID-19
May 21: Webinar: CASA Presents: “Virtual” Brown Act Meetings During COVID-19.
May 27: Free webinar: Learn more about EPA’s research on COVID-19 in the environment.
June 5: Free webinar on Workforce and COVID-19: Utility Solutions.
July 22: CWEA & CASA Webinar: Overcoming O&M Challenges to Maintain Essential Services.
Agency Resource and Links Related to Reopening of Businesses
EPA Releases Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool
EPA Releases New Tool to Help Water Utilities Assess the Financial Impact of COVID-19
NACWA Releases White Paper on Funding, Financing Options to Address COVID-19 Economic Challenges
USEPA Information on Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
EBMUD Resources on Reopening
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Cal OSHA is advancing emergency regulations to address COVID-19 in the workplace including at public agencies, such as wastewater treatment plants. The rules were unanimously approved by the Cal OSHA Standards Board yesterday and now go to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for final approval. OAL has 10 days to act on them and have a 5 day public comment period. The rules are attached with some highlighted notes provided by LACSD. These rules are anticipated to take effect on or about December 1st. For further information, please go to https://www.dir.ca.gov/OSHSB/COVID-19-Prevention-Emergency.html.
Notice to Ratepayers about Services
Transportation of Biosolids in Response to COVID-19 Measures
Orange County Sanitation District
OCSD COVID-19 Final
3/16/20 Message from the GM
3/17/20 Message from the GM
3/20/20 Message from the GM
3/11/20 Q&A with OC Health Care Agency
3/17/20 Telecommuting Guidelines
3/18/20 Updated FAQ’s
OCSD Vendors & Suppliers Clearance for Travel
City of Modesto
Draft Pandemic Emergency Plan
Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease – Business Continuity Program Plan
Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity (Policy 7.03)
EBMUD Press Release to Ratepayers about Essential Services
Employee Safety Communication
Copy Machine Signage
Emergency Purchases (Procedure 415)
Vendor Clearance for Travel
Managing Fears Around Coronavirus Flyer
Things I Can Control Flyer
Compendium of Agency Considerations (Courtesy of Moonshot)
Key Considerations for Water and Wastewater Utilities Responding to the Coronavirus
CALPERs has suspended the penalties and restrictions on retirees coming back to work as part of the Governor’s emergency proclamation. Retired operators and agency personnel may be a potential resource for agencies that find themselves short on staffing. CASA is also working with the Water Board to expedite recertification of retired operators who may be willing to help in these unique circumstances.
State Water Board ELAP Site
The Water Board has launched a COVID-19 emergency response website to provide information and support during this time to California’s environmental testing industry and the laboratories accredited by the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). It is available at www.waterboards.ca.gov/elap-covid19
The site includes a list of laboratories capable of taking in additional samples, with contact information, lists of in-service laboratory supply and proficiency testing vendors, information on ELAP application requirements and issuance of accreditation during the emergency, FAQs, and links to additional resources.
CalWARN: Emergency Preparedness and Response
The California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN) is an affiliation intended to assist the water and wastewater sector cope with emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis. Their mission is to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response, and mutual assistance processes for public and private water and wastewater utilities. The new CalWARN Web Portal expands utilities’ ability to achieve agency, regional and state preparedness by providing new tools and proven practices. The CalWARN Program provides its member utilities with:
- A standard omnibus mutual assistance agreement and process for sharing emergency resources among Signatories statewide.
- The resources to respond and recover more quickly from a disaster.
- A mutual assistance program consistent with other statewide mutual aid programs.
- A forum for developing and maintaining emergency contacts and relationships.
- New ideas from lessons learned in disasters.
Many CASA members may already belong to CalWARN, though you may need to update your agency’s contact and other information. Perhaps most relevant during the current crisis, CalWARN can assist agencies by pairing those with deficiencies with those possessing excess resources such as, for example, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or disinfectant. Information on how to sign up, or check if you already are, and how to maximize use of this resource is at www.calwarn.org.
April 22, 2020: The Treasury just released guidance outlining what the eligible uses are for the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The guidance is intended to assist states and local governments that receive assistance through the fund. Along with the guidance, the Treasury also released a short FAQs document about the Fund. The department is working its way through getting the rest of the money out to states and local governments by the end of this week.
Central States Water Environment Association: Fact Sheet