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In April 2004, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) partnered with USEPA, NOWRA, SORA, CIDWT and other national organizations to develop a nationally available credential for onsite wastewater system installers. The credential, which will cover all forms of installation and be offered at both a basic and advanced level, will be released June 25, 2006 at NEHA’s 70th Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.
The credential is intended to set a national standard of practice and knowledge for onsite wastewater system installations. “It has the potential to help alleviate discrepancies in practices across county and city lines,” says Christl Pokorney, NEHA’s Onsite Wastewater Systems program coordinator. “And it’s a way for the installer to demonstrate his competency not only to regulatory agencies, but also to his (or her) potential customers.”
The credential examination will be available for purchase by any state, city or county that would like to add the exam to their existing program. The exam may be administered by the state or by NEHA, and individuals meeting eligibility requirements may also become credentialed through NEHA. Testing will be offered at local and national conferences, as well as testing centers around the country.
Development of the exam involved an extensive survey of professionals in the onsite wastewater industry. Those surveyed indicated the frequency, duration and potential for harm for all installation-related tasks. Their input was compiled into an outline of the knowledge, skills and abilities required by system installers.
To ensure that the credential will be accepted, used and maintained by the onsite industry, NEHA enlisted the participation of stakeholder groups such as The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), The National Association of Wastewater Transporters Inc. (NAWT), National Small Flows Clearinghouse (NSFC) and State Onsite Regulators Association (SORA). Guidelines for the credential were set in part by a group of stakeholders, including representatives from NOWRA, local and state onsite regulators, National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment (CIDWT). Professionals in the industry are invited participate in the development of the credential and to present information at local conferences.