Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals
Onsite Sewage System Professionals Licensing Regulations [18 VAC 160 ‑ 40]
Action General Review 2014
Stage Final
Comment Period Ends 2/22/2017
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
2/22/17  10:48 am
Commenter: Jeff T. Walker

Standards of Practice

The absence of established standards of practice in the proposed language creates an unenforceable regulation. This deficiency neither protects the public, nor satisfies requirement to define requirement of a consistent professional practice. 

DPOR under the Agency Statement asserts “The Board’s regulations are applicable to individuals and the proposed regulations include standards of practice and conduct,” and references amendments to 18VAC160-40-470. I recognize this well established concern might be addressed through a guidance document, however while the Regulation is open please consider remedy to institute language which provides recognition of the fundamental scope of practice. Following admission from the Director that the OSE is an engineering discipline it seems prudent for the board to integrate standards of practice into the OSE Regulation, specifically those aspects of which are incidental to other professions. The proposed language lacks any reference to standards of practice except penalizing violation under this section and 18VAC160-40-440.

Suggest language such as:    

18VAC10-20-730. Competency for Assignments.

A. The professional shall undertake to perform professional assignments only when qualified by education or experience, or both, and licensed or certified in the profession involved. Licensed professionals may perform assignments related to engineering and survey provided they do not hold themselves out as certified in this profession unless they are so certified by this board. The professional may accept an assignment requiring education or experience outside of the field of the professional's competence, but only to the extent that services are restricted to those phases of the project in which the professional is qualified. All other phases of such project shall be the responsibility of licensed or certified associates, consultants or employees.

B. A professional shall not misrepresent to a prospective or existing client or employer his qualifications and the scope of his responsibility in connection with work for which he is claiming credit.

C. The professional shall adhere to the minimum standards and requirements pertaining to the practice of his own profession, as well as other professions if incidental work is performed.

During prior comment periods for this and related regulation substantial remarks supported integrating standards of practice as defined under 12VAC5-615 Authorized Onsite Soil Evaluator Regulations. The amended language neglects to bring these accepted standards into the Regulation.

Further recommend Board integrate standards of practice into the OSE examination recognition of such standards, the OSE requires establishment of engineering fundamentals including drafting of site plans, assessment and reporting of topography, including elevation and contour; measurement of standoff from horizontal and vertical limitations; certification and/or seal of design specifications are made under the professionals direct supervision; and satisfy requirements of ensuring suitability for future performance. These responsibilities are unique to the engineering profession and contrary to Geology or Soil Science licensures stand alone under limited exemption to engineering licensure without requirement for a PE’s direct oversight.

In light of these substantial public concerns please consider whether regulations to date, or in the future  establish standards of practice which enable consistent enforcement of 18VAC160-40-470 and is consistent with the following requirements:

§ 54.1-404 includes requirements for the proper discharge of registered professionals

duties. Those duties include:

1. The protection of the public health, safety and welfare;

2. The maintenance of standards of objectivity, truthfulness and reliability in public

statements by professionals;

3. The avoidance by professionals of conflicts of interests;

4. The prohibition of solicitation or acceptance of work by professionals on any basis other

than their qualifications for the work offered;

5. The restriction by the professional in the conduct of his professional activity from

association with any person engaging in illegal or dishonest activities; or

6. The limitation of professional service to the area of competence of each professional.




CommentID: 57413