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Big Sky

Vol. XXXII, Issue 2

Fall 2002

Inside this issue:

Flushless Urinal Project




How Does DEQ Use


Operator Expense
Reimbursement Grant


Dishwashers and
Phosphorous Load


Hamilton Treatment
Plant Award


System Security


New Water Sampling


Stockholm Junior
Water Prize


Wastewater Treatment
Down Under


Proposed Operator
Certification Rules

Mike Certalic


2002 Fall Exams


Fall School Agenda


Reflections in the Ripples
By Bill Bahr

Time flies when you're having fun and it will be ten years in September since Scott Anderson
talked me into coming to work for the Water Quality Bureau. My how the time has flown and,
more importantly, I have had the good fortune to work with and meet many talented operators,
consulting engineers, managers and other professionals in this span. The dedication of local,
state and federal employees to protect environmental resources in Montana is a constant source
of inspiration. It would be impossible to calculate the overall value to public health that these
water and wastewater professionals have brought to the state.

The faces and names are changing, but the concern for our waters and our people carries on.
John Campbell, my good friend from the City of Poison, is retiring from his position as public
works director. He always told me he wanted to work until the wastewater system serving Pol-
son was upgraded. That being accomplished in the last couple of years, John is now looking to
do more fishing, I guess. John has just finished his term as Chair of the Montana Section of the
American Water Works Association (MSAWWA). In my eyes, an even more significant under-
taking by John was the tremendous work he has done with the Water for People program. This
program assists water systems in Honduras and other Central American countries to bring safe
drinking water to their citizens and to recover from hurricane damage. Thanks, John.

Shirley Quick has retired as the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification officer for Mon-
tana. Shirley was a significant positive force, not only in our certification program in Montana,
but also in guiding development of national standards for certification programs. My words add
little to the long list of congratulations she has received from her peers and friends around the
state, the nation and Canada. She has received many honors, among them, awards from the na-
tional Association of Boards of Certification (ABC), Montana Rural Water Systems (MRWS)
and the sincere thanks from all of us here at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Thanks, Shirley.

Henry Hathaway, Public Works Director for the City of Belgrade, is ending over 27 years of
work as an operator this summer. I have always enjoyed working with Henry. He worked hard
to improve the operation of the water and wastewater facilities in Belgrade. He helped us con-
duct valuable on-site training programs at the city facilities in Belgrade. Thanks, Henry.

Mixed with the joy at seeing some friends seek new adventures in life, is sadness at the un-
timely passing of two fine gentlemen this past year. Mike Certalic served the City of Bozeman
for many years in their water department. He was a friend, a consummate professional and was
always ready to lend a helping hand when we would come to town to put on the annual Fall
Water school or other training programs. He welcomed the classes at the distribution center and
proudly showed the work he and his staff were performing in order to illustrate effective ways
to conduct public works programs.

(Continued on page 3)


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Big Sky


Volume XXXII, Issue 2
Fall 2002

Big Sky Clearwater, a publi-
cation of the Montana Depart-
ment of Environmental Qual-
ity, is for water and wastewa-
ter operators and managers.
The Department welcomes
articles of interest and sugges-
tions for articles related to wa-
ter quality, water and waste-
water treatment and the water
environment. Articles may be
about your treatment plant ex-
periences, or those of others,
technical papers or any infor-
mation that may benefit other
operators or managers. Please
submit articles 30 days before
publication (August 1 and
March 1).

Please contact DEQ at 406-
444-6697 or 406-444-4400
or write to:

Editor, Big Sky Clearwater
Department of Environ-
mental Quality
Metcalf Building
PO Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620-0901

The Big Sky Clearwater is
published twice a year by the
Planning, Prevention and As-
sistance and Permitting and
Compliance Divisions of the
Montana Department of Envi-
ronmental Quality.


Eric Minetti (Spring Issue)

BillBahr (Fall Issue)

Mike Hagel worked in many capacities, both for the cities of Forsyth and Choteau and as the
DEQ representative in the Poison office. As we say back home on the ranch, Mike was a good
hand. He served the citizens of Montana well, and we will miss him. To the families of Mike
Certalic and Mike Hagel, I offer my deepest condolences.

Some new folks that I have the opportunity to work with are Susan Stanley, wastewater
treatment plant (WWTP) manager for the City of Billings, and Tom Adams, wastewater su-
perintendent for the City of Bozeman. Montana is lucky to have such talented professionals in
charge of these important public works facilities. We have already had the good fortune to
have both Susan and Tom make presentations to other operators at our training
programs and they will both be a part of the Fall School program this fall in Bozeman. Addi-
tionally, earlier this summer, I attended the Bozeman city council meeting to present the Wa-
ter Environment Federation Burke safety award to Tom and his staff for their outstanding ef-
forts to make the Bozeman WWTP a safer place to work.

Notes for operators: The new wastewater operator certification exams supplied by ABC
have been in use for a complete one -year cycle. This Fall School will be the beginning of the
second year. We have worked through a few problems and, no doubt, most people have had to
do more preparation than with the old exams. The new exams test knowledge in more areas
such as, collections systems and electricity, than the previous tests did. Also, the current ex-
ams have 100 questions worth a single point each, so, in that sense, are more difficult, since
the earlier versions only had about 70 questions to answer. Members of the advisory council
for the certification program have indicated they support moving eventually to using ABC
exams for the water and distribution exams. There are many good reasons for changing, not
the least of which is that the exams will be fairer and based on 'needs-to-know' criteria.

An improved lagoon study manual will be available to operators preparing to take the test
this fall. New sections have been added and some information has been updated to be sure that
operators get a chance to study areas covered on the exams. Opera will use UV for disinfec-
tion of pathogens, replacing the chlorine system and eliminating it from the discharge. The
Big Sky Water & Sewer District has gone through many changes as that community has
struggled to deal with burgeoning growth over the past few years. The latest phase will in-
clude a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) activated sludge treatment plant and the Yellowstone
Club will use the discharge for golf course irrigation. The City of Belgrade is upgrading a
facultative lagoon system to an aerated lagoon system to deal with population growth. The
upgrade will also expand the infiltration percolation (I/P) cells and add spray irrigation of the
effluent to water the landscaped areas of the Belgrade regional airport. This was a win-win
situation for both the city and the airport. The City of Missoula is building a BNR facility
similar to the new Helena plant, but will also remove phosphorous to meet targets set in the
Clark Fork River Voluntary Nutrient Removal Plan (VNRP). The new plant will also be con-
verting a chlorination system to UV in this project.

The Town of Nashua is upgrading to a facultative lagoon system with three cells, which
should improve treatment by providing the operator with more control options. The City of
Scobey is upgrading their facultative lagoon system to eliminate leakage and will provide
treated effluent for use on the community golf course. All in all, there are many new and im-
proved systems in use or on the way, which bodes well for the future users of the waters of

An improved lagoon study manual will be available to operators preparing to take the test
this fall. Operators preparing for the mechanical plant exams, 1C and 2C, should study the
lagoon manual, too, since they will be tested on lagoon operations as well as both volumes of
"Operation of Wastewater Treatment Plants" available from California State University, Sac-
ramento. Additional study sessions are scheduled for the Fall School in Bozeman to review
problems people are having with exam preparation. It is very important that people study
these manuals well in advance of taking the exams. Much of the material covered can be com-
plex and solving mathematical problems may require repetition. The good news is that the
passing rate is consistent with those of the previous exams.

(Continued on page 4)


(Continued from page 4)

Some closing thoughts: Ten years after. For the first time in nearly ten years I am not on or chairing the program committee for
the joint annual conference of the Montana Water Environment Association (MWEA) and the Montana Section of the American
Water Works Association (MSAWWA). It has been extremely rewarding for me to be involved with the technical programs for
the conference. I have always felt that the program was the heart of the conference and all the talented people who served with
me on the committee through the years shared that sentiment. I looked back after this year, and combining conference sessions
with the emergency response planning sessions MWEA held in Missoula, Great Falls, Billings and Bozeman and the financial
planning sessions MWEA co-sponsored with the finance agencies, we must have held over 300 sessions, with greater than that
number of speakers. That is a tremendous accomplishment and I'd like to thank everyone involved. In particular, this past year,
Amanda Mclnnis did a ton of work organizing and scheduling conference sessions. The committee is in good hands with Dave
Aune and Karen Sanchez, so next year in Missoula ought to be great.

Deodorant? The City of Poison is using an ozone odor control system for the lift station located near the city park. According
to the retiring John Campbell and his replacement, Tony Porrazzo, the system has eliminated the odor problem, which caused
some problems during the summer when the park was in full use. It sounds similar to a system I saw in use in Glacier National
Park a couple of years ago at the St. Mary's campground pumping station. Bad, bad birds. The operators at the Anaconda la-
goon system wanted to prevent birds from leaving their calling cards on the aeration system header pipes. They strung wires
along the tops of the pipes and the birds apparently don't like to roost there anymore, eliminating a messy clean up problem. Log-
ging project. The Opheim lagoon system had a large tree in the corner of the evaporation cell. The operator, John Marvin, re-
moved the tree to fix the cell, and shot before and after pictures (below) illustrating not only the fact that the tree is gone, but
what a difference he made in the landscape. Way to go, John! That had to be a tough job. Recreational area? This diagram
(below) from a 70's vintage facility plan shows proposed improvements to an unnamed lagoon system. Please note that the sec-
ond cell is to be 'retained for recreation.' Ideas on what sorts of recreation would be most suitable for this system can be submited
to the editors.


Water Conservation Pilot Project at DEQ

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is spearheading a water conservation project that uses flushless
urinals in men's public restrooms. This new technology will help relieve costs associated with water usage and main-
tenance of flush-type urinals for the State.

Flushless urinals are gaining acceptance with federal government agencies, the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. military ser-
vices, ski resorts, federal parks services, schools and other entities. In a collaborative effort, DEQ's Planning Division
programs in the Technical and Financial Assistance Bureau including the programs Montana Rebuild, Water Pollu-
tion Control State Revolving Fund and Energy Efficiency are working with the Montana General Services Division
Facilities Management Bureau of the Department of Administration to establish baseline usage in a single location in
the Metcalf Building at the State Capital complex in Helena, MT.

Preliminary analysis by DEQ indicated at current usage rates, the model should be paid for in water, energy and
maintenance savings in the range of 2.5 to 4.5 years. Assuming the flushless urinal works as well as promoted by
product literature and other reports, saving an average of 42,178 gallons per urinal annually, replacing each urinal on
the state complex could save substantial costs in water and energy. To put the potential water savings in perspective
for the Capitol complex in Helena, assuming one urinal per building, the proposed annual water savings would be
equal to the annual water consumption for 12 homes.

Following monitoring to establish a usage baseline, a flushless urinal will be purchased and installed during the fall of
2002. Monitoring will continue for a period of approximately one year to determine durability under routine mainte-
nance, water savings, related energy savings and other aspects. Survey information from staff and contracted mainte-
nance services will be included in the analysis.

The flushless urinal model selected costs about $600, including a year's worth of supplies. The Facilities Manage-
ment Bureau will provide the staff to remove the current flushing model and install the flushless model. DEQ's
Montana Rebuild program will provide the funds for the project. Toby Benson, Dave Bausch and Bill Bahr will coor-
dinate monitoring, maintenance and acceptability of the urinal in combination with Clay White and Bill Covey of the
Facilities Management Bureau.

For more information, contact Dave Bausch, P.E., Ph (406) 444-6812.

New Sanitation in Subdivision Regulations

This is a notice to inform the public that new Sanitation in Subdivision regulations became effective on
May 17, 2002. For information regarding these regulations, you should contact the Water Protection Bu-
reau, Subdivision Review Section, at (406)444-3080 or obtain a copy via the DEQ website at http://www.
deq. state. asp

The Subdivision Review Section has also opened a Missoula field office at 2681 Palmer St, Suite I, Mis-
soula MT 59808, phone (406) 329-1482.



MSAWWA & MWEA Officers

MT Section of American Water Works Assn.
2002-03 Board of Directors

Jim Melstad, National Director
John Campbell, Past Chair
Shelley Nolan, Chair
Terry Threlkeld, Chair Elect
Doug Whitney, Vice Chair
Scott Smith, Senior Trustee
John Camden, Junior Trustee
Barb Coffman, Secretary /Treasurer

MT. Water Environment Assn.
2002-03 Board of Directors

Karen Sanchez, National Director
Boris Krizek, Past President
Starr Sullivan, President
Todd Teegarden, President Elect
Dave Aune, Vice President
Carl Anderson, Senior Trustee
Gene Connell, Junior Trustee
Dana Audet, Executive Secretary

MSAWWA Committees

Small Systems

David Haverfield 406-273-2733
sid90 1 @in-tch. com


Fred Phillips 406-449-8627
[email protected]


Al Towlerton 406-657-8310
[email protected] . billings, mt. us


Kevin Kundert 406-994-7738
[email protected]

Water for People

John Campbell 406-883-8215
[email protected]


Barb Coffman 406-265-9031
[email protected]
Ray Hedglin 406-582-3201
[email protected]

MWEA Committees
Long Range Planning

Carl Anderson 406-869-6304
[email protected]


Mike Jacobson 406-727-1325
[email protected] great-falls, mt. us


Kristi Kline 406-265-9031
[email protected]


Todd Teegarden 406-449-21 13
[email protected]

Government Affairs

Joe Sterner 406-457-5223
j [email protected]

Honors and Awards

BillBahr 406-444-5337
[email protected]

Host City

Gerry Lukasik
Logan Mclnnis
Dave Aune
Scott Murphy
Joe Steiner



MSAWWA/MWEA Joint Committees

gerry @mtnwater. com
[email protected]

[email protected] com
[email protected]

j [email protected] . com

Public Education/Information

Kristi Kline 406-265-9031 [email protected]

Manufacturer's Representative

Terry Threlkeld 406-582-0221 [email protected]

Historical Committee

Joe Steiner 406-457-5223 [email protected]

Honors and Awards

Terry Richmond 406-752-2216 [email protected]


How Does DEQ Use the Public Water Supply
Service Connection Fees?

by Jim Melstad

As you probably know, public water suppliers pay an annual service connection fee to DEQ. On behalf
of the Public Water Supply Section and DEQ, I would like to thank you for payment of these fees every year.
These fees allow DEQ to administer the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in Montana on behalf of EPA.
Without this support, there would be no state program to help you comply with complex federal regulations.

We receive about $540,000 in service connection fees each year. An additional $40,000 in plan review
fees is received annually. We try to use as much of these fees as possible for direct assistance to public wa-
ter suppliers. Approximately $240,000 is used to match the EPA grant that we receive each year to adminis-
ter the SDWA. Most of the balance is used for contracted activities as shown below. The summary shows
how the fees were budgeted in state fiscal year 2002 (July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002).

If you should need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will try our best to provide
assistance directly or through one of our contractors.

• Contracts

Contracted plan review by local governments

of proposed water & sewer improvements $ 3,750

Contracted water supply training position at

Montana Environmental Training Center 44,300
Contracted assistance for rural water system development 3,500

Contracted assistance for groundwater investigations 24, 1 00

Database development 50,000

Contracted compliance inspections of public water supplies 102,000
Development of standard construction specifications

for small public water systems 10,000

Contracted compliance assistance for public water systems 65,000

Temporary office support services 38,000

TOTAL contracts $ 340,650

• Match funding for EPA grant to state (25% requirement) $ 239,300

• Misc. expenses (minor equipment, office supplies etc.) $ 6,000

TOTAL annual fee expenses (state fiscal year 2002) $ 585,950


CEC Naggings

CONGRATULATIONS to all operators who got re-certified by getting their CEC's (continuing educa-
tion credits) and renewals fees in by June 30, 2002.

Now its time to start over again and why not earn your credits early so you don't have to rush at the end.
There are lots of fun and exciting ways to get your credits. These include attending any approved courses
(the METC 2002 calendar lists courses from the current training providers, so check out the ones from July
through December). You can complete an approved correspondence course (these are also listed in the
METC calendar), or find your own class and apply to have it approved for credit. There are also some new
ways to earn credits: Internet and CD-Rom courses. Remember that operators-in-training are not required
to earn CEC's.

If there are any problems on your CEC status or you need information on any of the training options, simply
contact Ashley Finnegan, Water/Wastewater Operator Certification Office clerk at (406) 444-4584. Hope
to see your credit forms across my desk soon!

Operator Expenses Reimbursement Grant Approved

The DEQ Water and Wastewater Operator Certification program is happy to announce that on
March 1, 2002 we received written notification from the USEPA that our application for the $1.6 million
Operator Expense Reimbursement Grant has been approved. Our workplan for this grant funding is to actu-
ally reimburse the training, examination, and renewal expenses for operators of community and nontran-
sient, noncommunity water systems serving 3,300 or fewer people.

The reimbursed expenses may include: training costs, training travel & per diem costs, exam & ap-
plication fees and renewal fees. We have also received permission from the USEPA to contract with a
trainer to: supply free personalized pre-exam training; teach pre-exam basic track training as requested; and/
or work with PWS field services program to develop standardized basic track training materials

Even more good news! On April 22, 2002, Ruby Miller started work as the Operator Certification
Program Accountant. Ruby's main responsibility will be to setup and administer the Operator Expense Re-
imbursement Grant process. Ruby was previously employed in the DEQ Public Water Supply Section and
the DEQ Remediation Division. We are happy to welcome Ruby to the operator certification program and
we are sure that you will enjoy working with her as much as we do.

So, what happens next? Ruby is in the process of developing application forms and instructions,
setting up the reimbursement tracking system, and working with the DEQ fiscal staff to develop the reim-
bursement system. Watch your mail for more detailed information from Ruby on how to apply for this re-
imbursement funding within the next few months. We hope to make the reimbursements retroactive to July
1, 2002 so start saving your receipts from training fees and travel costs starting this July.

Any questions? Contact Ruby Miller at 406-444-2954.



Dishwasher Detergent Contributes to Phosphorus Load

Detergents used in automatic dishwashers
have a high phosphorus content, and are a major
source of phosphorus for municipal wastewater treat-
ment plants, including those in small towns, accord-
ing to a study by the Tri-State Water Quality Council,
a collaborative group working on nutrient and algae
issues in the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille basin of Mon-
tana, Idaho, and Washington. A pilot study done for
the council in Lolo, Montana, in 200 1 reported that
15-17% of the total phosphorus load to that plant
originated in automatic dishwasher detergents. The
council believes that this situation may be typical of
small and large municipality wastewater plants in
Montana and surrounding states.

Will McDowell of the Tri-State Water Qual-
ity Council's Voluntary Nutrient Reduction Program,
says, " We did this study to look for economical op-
tions for smaller communities and sewer districts to
reduce phosphorus discharge to streams and rivers in
western Montana, Idaho, and Washington. We be-
lieve that source reduction through education of con-
sumers and wastewater management personnel is an
important tool in controlling nutrient problems in our
surface waters. Biological nutrient removal may be a
good treatment option for larger systems, but it may
be too expensive for many smaller communities."

Bans applying to laundry detergent phospho-
rus generally do not apply to automatic dishwasher
detergents so many of the common brands have up to
eight percent (8%) phosphorus, or about the content
of Miracle-Gro fertilizer. The Council and University
of Montana surveyed detergents at grocery stores,
then conducted a telephone survey of Lolo residents
to determine the number who use automatic dish-
washers and the frequency of use. From this data they
estimated that the average household in Lolo (70%
have automatic dishwashers) produced 1 1 grams/day
of phosphorus from automatic dishwasher detergent
alone. This translates into over 15% of the 11.5 lbs/

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Online LibraryMontana.Water Quality BureauBig Sky clearwater (Volume 2002 Fall) → online text (page 1 of 3)