|Comment Period||Ends 4/17/2009|
Plant mechanic experience applied to operator license
The Board has recognized the appropriate time for an operator with a degree in environmental science or engineering, to become familiar with the workings of the plant by setting minimum work experience requirements under the supervision of a licensed operator. This allows time for individuals to become familiar with the mechanics and intricacies of the plant and how it reacts to adverse conditions.
Mechanics that have spent considerable time at the plant have a good portion of this knowledge. To become a licensed operator, they must learn the operator skills then apply them to their existing knowledge.
For the purposes of gaining the necessary experience for obtaining a waterworks operators license, a percentage of the time spent as a mechanic at the water treatment plant should be given. This credit should apply only to work on the plant operating equipment and not to tasks such as painting or housekeeping. This could be documented and verified via a work order system.
Fairfax Water has had very good experience with mechanics that transitioned to the operator position. They have proven that a good working knowledge of the plant gives them a head start towards learning the operator’s duties and responsibilities. This change would allow a pool of dediacated and talented employees who can react quickly to plant upsets and/or diagnose problems, to be recognized by the Commonwealth through the licensing process and use their talents to protect public health.