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January E-News

NOWRA is pleased to announce that the Onsite Wastewater Association of Idaho has voted to affiliate with NOWRA for 2013. The relatively new organization, which was formed in 2011, outlines the following purpose on its website: The Onsite Wastewater Association of Idaho (OWAI) was formed to provide onsite wastewater professionals, developers, realtors, regulatory personnel, municipal authorities and homeowners in Idaho a stake in an association through which organized efforts may be made towards enhancing the use of onsite wastewater treatment and disposal practices.  The ultimate goal and vision is to afford the general public in Idaho the highest standards of safe, sanitary, and environmentally sound onsite wastewater management. Creating open forums of information exchange for all interested and affected parties is a priority for OWAI.

On January 14-15, 100 industry professionals from New Jersey gathered in Flemington, NJ for a 2-day Advanced Installer Training program hosted by NOWRA. The training was held in response to a recent requirement by New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection that installers obtain the advanced level of the Certified Installer of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (CIOWTS) credential offered through the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). On January 17, representatives from NEHA were at the same facility to offer the CIOWTS exam.
“NOWRA stepped up to offer this training as soon as we became aware of the requirement,” said NOWRA President Tom Fritts. “This was a perfect opportunity for NOWRA’s Installer Academy training program to offer professional training to contractors who needed it. Because we learned about New Jersey DEP’s requirement only a short few weeks before the January 1, 2013 deadline when the certification would be required, we had to scramble a bit to line up dates, secure a facility and promote the event. While we were unable to offer the training prior to the deadline, we were the first organization to step up to provide assistance.”
Fritts and Sara Heger of the University of Minnesota served as instructors for the event, which was well received by the installers in attendance. Mike Dunn of Hoot Systems, Inc., provided a huge assist, both in advance of the meeting and while it was held. Dunn helped to identify the facility, promote the event locally and brought breakfast, coffee, and snacks to the event. He also helped check in installers who registered. Eleanor Krukowski and Mark Miller of NJDEP also helped to promote and support the event.
Demand was so great for the event that it sold out nearly two weeks ahead of time, and a fairly large waiting list was created. As a consequence, NOWRA is planning at least one additional training program in New Jersey (March 3-5 at the New Jersey Environmental Health Association annual conference in Atlantic City). A third training program is likely some time after that at a to-be-determined location in Northern New Jersey.

NOWRA provided comments on the EPA’s draft document “A Model Program for Onsite Management in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” While NOWRA generally supported the overall document and its call for state and local governments to adopt the best practices outlined in the document, the Technical Practices Committee made a number of suggestions to improve it. It also questioned some of the scientific assumptions underlying sections of the document. Read NOWRA’s comments here.