Wastewater technician training continues despite challenging year

British Water’s wastewater treatment technicians’ training continued successfully through 2020 despite the COVID-19 crisis, with the accreditation receiving Environment Agency praise.

Onsite assessment procedures, carried out by a workplace assessor as part of British Water’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Accreditation Scheme, were rigorously reviewed to ensure they complied with the government’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The certificate covers small packaged sewage plants up to 1,000 population equivalent (PE) and was reviewed in June 2019 to include onsite observation.

Environment Agency deputy directory of water quality, groundwater and contaminated land, Helen Wakeham, said, “British Water has worked hard to enhance and modernise this training for service engineers seeking accreditation. It should give confidence to everyone with an interest in package sewage treatment systems.”

Package plant manufacturers and installers are feeling the benefit of the accreditation.

Premier Tech Water & Environment technical director Evangelos Petropoulos said, “It is essential that freshwater quality is protected at all times and to achieve this, wastewater treatment plants require precise maintenance, so they are always in good working order.

Manufacturers like us need to work with site maintenance teams that are fully aware of the technicalities of our plants and can maintain them in perfect condition. Accreditation by British Water provides this assurance.”

British Water technical manager Dr Mar Batista said, “The performance of wastewater treatment plants of all sizes can have significant implications for the natural environment. With increasing concerns from UK regulators about the quality of rivers and streams, it has never been more important to have properly managed plants that provide robust treatment and prevent pollution.

“A lot of hard work has gone into developing the new training for wastewater treatment technicians, raising the bar on service and maintenance across the UK. I would like to thank all those who have delivered this important training in such a challenging year and congratulate the technicians who have gained accreditation and had their skills and expertise recognised.”

As part of the accreditation, trainees need to show competence carrying out maintenance on septic tanks, biological filtration plants, rotating biological contactors, activated sludge plants, submerged aerated filters, biological aerated flooded filters and pumping stations.

Prerequisites for certification are recognised qualifications in Electrical Safety and Working in Confined Spaces along with completion of EU Skills’ Safety Health & Environmental Awareness (SHEA) Water scheme. Technicians with a certificate that is expiring will need to renew with the new accreditation.