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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $201,900 to the Hawaiian Department of Health to create a drinking water system operator training program for staff at small drinking water systems statewide.
"This education program will ensure operators of small drinking water systems are properly trained and certified to correctly operate their facilities," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Water Division. "Proper operation of drinking water facilities is critical to providing clean and safe drinking water that meets all federal and state standards."
The state Department of Health's Safe Drinking Water Branch will be working with the University of Hawaii's Outreach College to develop and implement a training program to provide continuing education courses for operators of drinking water systems servicing 3,300 or fewer people. The training will be made available to operators throughout the state. The grant is intended to provide start up funds to create a self- supporting training program for the operators.
All operators in Hawai'i are required by law to obtain continuing education credits and training to maintain their operator's certification.
The grant funds will support:
-developing a plan to implement the training program statewide;
-developing the training program and lesson plans;
-creating a financial plan for continued funding of the program;
-providing eight hours of training to operators on each island per year; and
-establishing a schedule for classes and other logistics.
The EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act requires that all states have a program to certify drinking water system operators to ensure every water system has operators that perform certain key compliance functions, such as monitoring, and repair and maintenance of the system. An operator needs specific training and certification that is appropriate to the functions, facilities and operations of each particular system.