Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board
Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals
chapter
[REPEALED] Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals Regulations [18 VAC 160 ‑ 20]
Action Amend regulations to license onsite sewage system professionals.
Stage Final
Comment Period Ends 6/24/2009
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22 comments

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6/11/09  7:55 am
Commenter: VDH Employee

Interim License
 

Please exempt VDH employees from the application fee for the interim license.  The license is non-renewable and valid for 4 years maximum while the individual remains a VDH employee.  The individual is prohibited from practicing privately while employed by VDH.  VDH will not fund employee licensing.

The application fee should not be waived for the conventional and alternative licenses for VDH employees.

Thank you.

CommentID: 7069
 

6/11/09  1:53 pm
Commenter: Michael Swartz

Interim License for Operators and Installers
 

Maintenance" or "maintain" ] means performing adjustments to equipment and controls and in-kind replacement of normal wear and tear parts such as light bulbs, fuses, filters, pumps, motors, or other like components. Maintenance includes pumping the tanks or cleaning the building sewer on a periodic basis. Maintenance shall not include replacement of tanks, drain field piping, distribution boxes, or work requiring a construction permit and a licensed onsite sewage system installer.

"Operate" means any act of an individual, which that may impact on the finished water quality at a waterworks [ or, ] the plant effluent at a wastewater works [ , or the effluent at an onsite sewage system 

These definitions appear to allow a homeowner to clean his effluent filter, adjust dial-a-flows in his distribution box, or replace normal wear and tear parts, such as the pump without hiring an operator.  The owner would not be operating the sewage system but maintaining it.  I support allowing owners to maintain their sewage systems without having to hire an operator if they so choose.   I recommend changing the definitions for the installer and operator definitions so that they can also maintain a sewage system unless maintenance is considered a form of operate, in which case the definition of "operate should include maintenance.  Does a septic contractor have to hold an operator license to replace a pump?  Can installers and operators perform maintenance? 

CommentID: 7071
 

6/11/09  9:09 pm
Commenter: Leon Delaney

Where are the forms incorporated by reference?
 

I cannot find a copy of the following forms on townhall to view:

Experience Verification Form, 19EXP (eff. 07/09)

Education & Training Substitution Form, 19ET_SUB (eff. 07/09)

Licensure Fee Notice, 19FEE (eff. 07/09)

Interim Onsite Soil Evaluator - VDH Employees Only License Application, 1930LIC (eff. 07/09)

Interim Onsite Sewage System Installer License Application, 1931_32LIC (eff. 07/09)

Interim Onsite Sewage System Operator License Application, 1933_34LIC (eff. 07/09)

Onsite Soil Evaluator Exam & License Application, 1940_41EXLIC (eff. 07/09)

Onsite Sewage System Installer Exam & License Application, 1944_45EXLIC (eff. 07/09)

Onsite Sewage System Operator Exam & License Application, 1942_43EXLIC (07/09) 

 

CommentID: 7078
 

6/11/09  9:13 pm
Commenter: Bill Love

Include inspection in definition
 

The definitions for alternative and conventional onsite soil evaluator do not include an allowance to inspect sewage systems.  I think the definitions should allow these persons to inspect their designs.

CommentID: 7079
 

6/11/09  9:17 pm
Commenter: Jay Moore

Board allowed variances
 

The regulations should allow the board to grant variances from the regulations for the experience requirement with good cause.  It is possible that some places, especially in far southwest Virginia, where there won't be enough operators and installers.  The board should be allowed to grant exceptions to the experience requirements and issue interim licenses when need exists.

CommentID: 7080
 

6/14/09  12:52 pm
Commenter: Mark Liepold

Are Operators, OSEs, and Installers also contractors?
 

I would like the regulations to say that having a license as an installer, operator, or OSE means that you are a contractor to your client and must follow the Board for Contractors requirements.  This regulation would then allow the Board for Contractors to regulate contracts and requirements for contracts.  Homeowners would be better protected.

CommentID: 7091
 

6/14/09  12:57 pm
Commenter: John Kratzer

Have rule to require filing of records
 

The regulations should require licensees to maintain a record of their work for clients in case a dispute or complaint is sent to the board and must be investigated.  Right now, the regulations do not require licensees to keep a copy or maintain their records, which is important in case a complaint or problem must be evaluated.  If licensees had to maintain a copy of their records, then lost paperwork could be easily found. 

If a licensee goes out of business, the regulations should require that licensees to turn in their records to the Board unless the records are given or sold to another licensee.   

CommentID: 7092
 

6/14/09  1:08 pm
Commenter: Mathew Mills

Continuing Professional Credit changes
 

The rules should allow continuing professional credits to be applied in multiple license categories.  Many of these professionals will hold multiple licenses from DPOR.  Operators will be OSEs, contractors will have dual licenses, OSEs might hold wastewater works licenses.  Right now, the regulations look like that a person would have to attend many different training sessions to hold multiple licenses.  If the regulations allowed one training class to apply apply to multiple licensee holders' obligations, then it would be less burdensome and expensive to hold multiple licenses.

CommentID: 7093
 

6/14/09  1:12 pm
Commenter: Paul Ellis

Catch 22
 

The rules require a person to submit prior work to get a license. Yet, I cannot do the work until I get a license.  When I work for someone with a license, I still cannot count that work toward my license requirements because nothing will be in my name--it will only be the name of the licensee.  I recommend that the rules allow for submission of work that was performed under the direct supervision of a licensee, but not signed by me, so that I can submit the required paperwork for the license.

CommentID: 7094
 

6/14/09  1:58 pm
Commenter: Mike Janis

Installer Definition more limited
 

In the revised agency background document, the alternative onsite sewage system installer definition removed the language concerning treatment works and point source discharge. The board wrote that the types of systems "which can be installed are not as limited but instead broadly covered by the terms "conventional and onsite sewage systems,"  My feeling is that the definition is now more limited since conventional and alternative systems are not considered discharging systems.  If the agency changed the definition so that there was more options and systems included, then this definition does not accomplish the goal.

CommentID: 7095
 

6/14/09  2:04 pm
Commenter: Paul Ellis

Section 84
 

Section 18VAC160-20-84 is a new section that creates an interim license for individuals who have been practicing as onsite sewage system installers and operators prior to the effective date of the regulations. Standards have been proposed that should allow those who are currently practicing to continue lawful practice after the effective date of the amendments under an interim license.

I think the interim license should be expanded to include those who have at least one year of full-time experience inspecting onsite sewage systems or owner who have been operating and maintaining their own system.  The rules do not seem to contemplate how many systems a person has operated for the operator license so perhaps owners who have been operating their own system can apply for an interim license already.  I would like the regulations to be more clear that their is not a limit on the number of systems one has to have operated for the interim license.

CommentID: 7096
 

6/14/09  2:13 pm
Commenter: Chris Martin

Section 140 change
 

Section 18VAC160-20-140 is amended to include the new professions, including those holding an interimlicense, under the Standards of Practice provisions currently applicable to waterworks and wastewaterworks operators. A new subsection is added to enable the Board to discipline any licensee or interimlicensee who undertakes to perform or performs a professional assignment for which he is not qualified by education or training.

After reading section 140, it appears that all licensees could practice engineering or surveying without a license as long as the work was proper and within their education and experience.  How will the board discipline non-engineers from practicing engineering if their work is approved by other agencies (i.e., the VDH) and was not "negligent?"  I think Section 140 should be expanded to say that no one is allowed to practice engineering, regardless of whether they did the work properly and it was within their education and training unless they are licensed as an engineer.  An example might be an employee of a manufacturer who is well trained and educated in the use of that particular manufacturer's device.  The employee still designs and inspects a system over 1,000 gpd, which is clearly the practice of engineering.  I don't think Section 140 would allow the board to discipline the licensee.

CommentID: 7097
 

6/14/09  3:36 pm
Commenter: Bill Huett

Can OSE inspect sewage systems?
 

"Alternative onsite soil evaluator" means an individual licensed by the board toconstruct, install, and repair a treatment works that is not a conventional onsite sewage system and does not result in a point source discharge evaluate soils and soil properties in relationship to the effect of these properties on the use and management of these soils as the locations for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems, to certify in accordance with applicable state regulations and local ordinances that sites are suitable for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems, and to design conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems suitable for the soils ].

CommentID: 7098
 

6/14/09  4:42 pm
Commenter: Tom

Section 76 Change
 

Any applicant relying on experience with VDH to meet the minimum requirements for licensure shall provide an endorsement from the applicant’s direct supervisor at VDH stating that the applicant’s job performance has been satisfactory. 

Why must VDH applicants provide an endorsement from their direct supervisor but private sector applicants do not?  It would seem that the regulation should have one standard for all and not a double standard.  The rule should require all applicants to provide an endorsement from their direct supervisor.  If a direct supervisor endorsement is not possible, then ask for three references. 

CommentID: 7099
 

6/14/09  4:48 pm
Commenter: Tom

One more Section 76 thought
 

Licensure. Individuals who have passed the board-approved examination shall apply for licensure and shall satisfy the licensure requirements established in this chapter.

This statement does not seem to have universal application since some individuals must show prior work to get a license.  It is not sufficient to just pass the board-approved examination.  Why does the regulations require persons to apply for licensure if they pass the board approved examination?  It would seem appropriate that if the person wanted to apply for licensure, then he should have that option.  Maybe the person just wants to take the test but not be licensed.  Why must the person apply for licensure after they pass the test?

CommentID: 7100
 

6/14/09  5:20 pm
Commenter: Jim

Section 90 change
 

Experience obtained as a licensed alternative onsite sewage system operator may substitute for the wastewater worksoperator in training operator-in-training ] experience requirements established undersubdivisions subparts ] a and b of this subdivision3 ].

I think experience as a licensed conventional onsite sewage system operator should also count. 

CommentID: 7101
 

6/16/09  12:15 pm
Commenter: Bill

Does Board regulate activities not specifically mentioned in rules?
 

Looking at the definition for AOSE and COSE, the Board does not regulate inspections that OSEs perform as part of their normal work to the health department.  If an OSE refuses to inspect a system that VDH requires must be inspected by an OSE, would the Board assist the owner or have authority to handle it?  If an OSE does not perform an adequate inspection or turns in bad work for an inspection, can the board deal with it?  If not, the defintion needs to include inspection of wells and sewage systems.

CommentID: 7110
 

6/17/09  1:49 pm
Commenter: Chris Weaks

Home Inspector Regulations: Add similar rules
 

I just read through the Home Inspector regulations, 12VAC15-40, and I noticed that the board regulates the practice of home inspectors in greater detail.  These regulations seem to mostly address entry requirements while the home inspector rules deal with entry and practice issues.  The board requires inspectors to sign a contract for services with homeowners and spells out what the contract must look like.   I do not see similar and adequate safeguards in these regulations for homeowners.  I would ask the board to consider adding regulations that would address what these license holders must do, similar to what the agency has proposed for licensed home inspectors.

For the protection of both the client and the regulant, these rules should require both parties to sign a legible written contract clearly specifying the terms, conditions, and limitations and exclusions of the work to be performed.

 

CommentID: 7113
 

6/18/09  2:01 pm
Commenter: Jim

Expand interim license
 

I would like to see the board change the requirements and expectations for an interim license so that anybody working under the direct supervision of a licensee can be disciplined for bad behavior.  Right now, only the direct supervisor would get in trouble if an unlicensed person did something wrong.  If every person who was working under a direct supervisor was allowed to apply for an interim license, then that person would also be held accountable to his work.   I would get rid of the temporary period to get a license so that it is a permanent feature of the regulations for those that want to work in this industry.  In other words, operators, installers, OSEs, waterworks, and wastewater works operators could all apply for an interim license, work under the direct supervision of a licensee, and then apply for a regular license when they qualify.  This allowance would help the board to verify someone's experience because they would hold the interim license for a certain period of time before getting a regular license.

CommentID: 7123
 

6/19/09  2:17 pm
Commenter: Rick

Definition unclear
 

"Alternative onsite soil evaluator" means an individual licensed by the board toconstruct, install, and repair a treatment works that is not a conventional onsite sewage system and does not result in a point source discharge evaluate soils and soil properties in relationship to the effect of these properties on the use and management of these soils as the locations for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems, to certify in accordance with applicable state regulations and local ordinances that sites are suitable for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems, and to design conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems suitable for the soils ].

What does "as the locations for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems" mean?  I don't think it is a grammatically correct.  It would make more sense to say something like this: 

"Alternative onsite soil evaluator" means an individual licensed by the board toconstruct, install, and repair a treatment works that is not a conventional onsite sewage system and does not result in a point source discharge (1) evaluate soils and soil properties, (2) identify the soil and soil properties in relationship to the effect of these properties on the use and management of these soils as the locations that are acceptable for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems, (3) to certify in accordance with applicable state regulations and local ordinances that sites are suitable for conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems, and (5) to design conventional and alternative onsite sewage systems suitable for the soils ].

CommentID: 7125
 

6/24/09  8:56 am
Commenter: Sandra Gentry, Gentry Septic Tank Service

Suggested changes
 
If I understand the regulations correctly, the applicant for licensure to become an alternative onsite sewage system operator must already have an interim license as an operator for either conventional or alternative systems, must pass an examination, and must meet one of three additional requirements. These require either (depending on high school graduation status) 12 or 24 months of full time experience working under the direct supervision of an alternative onsite sewage system operator licensee or an interim operator or hold a Class IV or higher wastewater works operator license.
 
The first question is what is the point of requiring an interim license prior to applying for the full license? This means a person who wants a full license must first pay for an interim license and then pay for the “regular” license. This seems to be an unnecessary step and expense.
 
Secondly, what of the person who has been working for several years as a maintenance provider and operator. Does he need an additional 12 or 24 months experience under a licensed operator? The wording of the regulations seems to indicate this is a requirement. If that’s the case, how does anyone ever get a license since no one already has a license to provide this period of supervision?
 
My suggestions are that the requirement for holding an interim license prior to applying for a regular license be dropped and that wording be inserted in the specific entry requirements to allow persons with 12 months of experience as a maintenance provider to forego the additional “working under the direct supervision” requirement.
CommentID: 7673
 

6/24/09  7:56 pm
Commenter: Ken Carbaugh

Well we have all been waiting for this moment to arrive...
 

Conventional and alternative onsite evaluator...oh brother.   I'm seriously disappointed in the fact that this programs development has been hurried through and put in place at the last possible moment.  When are we all going to have to go back to school to get a second or third BS degree to evalate soil and design septic systems (alternative yes) using basic math and algebra from the 10th grade???  I'm very dissappointed to say the least.  What a total waste of tax payers money.

CommentID: 8433