Certain legislative changes and stakeholder feedback have spurred the Washington Department of Ecology to propose updates to its program for certifying those who operate the wastewater treatment plants.

These updates aim to create more opportunities for professional growth, which will impact Washington’s 2,000 wastewater treatment plant operators who protect the public from contaminated wastewater from homes and businesses.

“We’ve heard from operators across the state who are concerned about succession planning,” Heather Bartlett, Water Quality Program Manager, said in a statement. “We’re adding ‘Operator-in-Training’ categories to help people enter the profession and gain experience so our wastewater infrastructure continues to function properly for decades to come.”

On top of adding the “Operator-in-Training” position, the Department of Ecology plans to update professional growth requirements, recognize more advanced treatment technologies, and clarify rule language when necessary.

Public comments on the proposed updates will be accepted through May 1. Hearings are planned for April 23 in Lacey at 1:30 p.m., April 23 via webinar at 6 p.m., and April 25 in Moses Lake at 10 a.m.