Certification vs. Credential vs. Licensing or How Virginia Tried to Re-Invent the Wheel - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Certification vs. Credential vs. Licensing or How Virginia Tried to Re-Invent the Wheel


Certification vs. Credential vs. Licensing or How Virginia Tried to Re-Invent the Wheel 01/16/2014 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Certification vs. Credential vs. Licensing or How Virginia Tried to Re-Invent the Wheel

Certification vs. Credential vs.
LicensingorHow Virginia Tried to Re-Invent the
Keynote Speaker - What an Honor!
Then the panic set in - Why Me?
  • Qualifications? - None to speak of -
  • I dont have a PHD, am not a leading Public
    Health Official or Legislator
  • I havent developed some new way to treat
  • I am not a manufacturer of some spiffy new
    treatment or dispersal device
  • Simply a Reformed regulator and owner of a
    small wastewater maintenance company.
  • Am outspoken on my views regarding Maintenance,
    Regulations Licensing
  • Was elected to the Board for the National
    Association and was appointed by two Governors to
    the Licensing Board

OMG - What am I going to Talk About!
Suggestions from my CPOW and my Peanut Gallery -
read Staff and Wife
  • CPOW Regulation Reform, Maintenance
  • Wife - Stick with what you know - (Be a
    Cheering Section for Onsite - Dont tick off the
    designers like you do in Virginia)
  • Staff Youre Going to Colorado? In January?
  • Oh WAIT didnt they just approve recreational
  • Cool!

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Topic Suggestions
Regulation Reform looks like you did it, so not
a lot to say as it appears you have a good
document in 5-CCR-1002-43.
Maintenance lots of good topics here for
discussion, but in truth not enough time for a
Key Note presentation. (ps. Love teaching
maintenance as I get a chance to talk crap for
hours and get paid for it!)
Credentialing WINNER This was probably the
single most challenging and game changing event
in Onsite in Virginia in the last 10 years.
History - 2000
New Onsite Regulations (12-VAC-5-610) passed by
the General Assembly and enacted in 2000.
Opened the door for any NSF Standard 40 system
to be Installed with footprint reductions and
decreased stand-offs and NO additional
testing. Alternative Onsite Regulations
(12-VAC-5-613) requiring perpetual Maintenance,
reporting, sampling and Certified Operators
FAILED! This opened the door for thousands of
installations and building growth that would not
have been allowed under the previous regulations.
History - 2005
State Health Department approaches VOWRA for a
partnership in developing MANDATORY maintenance
regulations with NO GRANDFATHERING! Basically
asked for support in developing a program for
mandatory maintenance that the Legislature would
be happy with AND that the Health Department
WONT get crucified by the general public! Health
Department estimated between 80,000 and 100,000
Alternative OWTS installed in a five year period!

Four Things Needed to Happen
A working group was formed and it was determined
that FOUR things needed to happen!
  1. Dust off 12-VAC-5-613, make some editing changes
    and it should be good to go EASY

2. Develop a DATA BASE and an INVENTORY of
what was permitted! Not so Easy
3. Switch from Criminal enforcements to
Civil Penalties big regulation change and
paradigm shift!
4. Have Certified Operators available so when
1 goes into effect, the property owners cant
holler much!
Inventing the Wheel
So What type of Certification or HOW did we want
to Certify or Credential Operators? Require
Manufacturer Certification for ALL? - 44
manufacturers listed on NSF! What type of age /
education / experience? Who handles the
paperwork? Application / Fees / TESTING? What
type and how much Continuing Education? How
frequently does the Certification get
renewed? How do you discipline the Bad
Actors? What type of Sanctions? Who does the
Investigations? Who foots the bill for the
Investigations? Where does the money come
from? Who sets the Standard of Practice?
First Thought
  • The original thought was to track ALL Operators
    and REQUIRE Operators to have Manufacturer
    certifications for the treatment systems they
    were providing services to.
  • This died a slow and agonizing death as it was
    pointed out
  • Not all manufacturers WANT everyone to be
    certified as an operator for their system(s).
  • There are / were 44 manufacturers with NSF
    standard 40 systems.
  • There are systems out there that have two or more
    manufactured systems installed (ATU / ATU /
    Polishing Filter / Dis-infection / Dispersal)
  • Manufacturers or their dealers can be Fickle in
    certifying and de-certifying individuals or
  • Under this paradigm, the property owner MAY NOT
    have a choice of what company services their
  • An ATU is an ATU is an ATU Media Filters are
    Media Filters are Media Filters, and Drip is

Second Thought
Was to develop a program, where the ONUS of
education and responsibility was solely on the
Operator. As such, it was agreed that the
certification / credentialling process would be
broken up into two parts The first part being
an Interim Certification which was open to
anyone who could produce a manufacturers
certificate as a service provider NSF or NAWT
Inspector Certification or a completion
certificate of the CIDWT Residential OM program.
The Interim Certificate would be good for 48 to
54 months depending on the date that the
regulation change took effect. We hoped that this
would provide a larger initial population of
operators available for the homeowners to work
with. It also allowed time for an operator to
obtain specific manufacturer certifications,
develop their math skills, and gain the knowledge
of how and why Alternative OWTS operate, and how
they fit into the framework of the regulation(s).
Second Thought Part Two
After an Operator gained the requisite
experience, then they could make application for
THE CREDENTIAL which would require minimum
qualifications such as age, education and
experience, and WOULD require that the applicant
take a written test to demonstrate knowledge of
basic operation and maintenance of Alternative
OWTS and demonstrate knowledge of the
regulations. This also allowed time to actually
develop a written multiple choice examination,
further develop the Ethics portion of the
program, and further develop Standards of
Practice guidelines. Hey this stuff is EASY
when sitting in committee the debate of what we
wanted was complete, we had a rough guideline of
what we wanted, now we had to put it all on paper!
The Nitty Gritty - Qualifications
  • Qualifications for The Credential
  • 18 years of age Why? Because that is the legal
    age to vote!
  • High School Diploma or GED Equivalent Why?
    because you need to know Algebraic Math, read
    formal plans and specifications, read control
    panel schematics, etc.
  • One year experience Why? solely based on my
    experience in training my technician. It takes
    me 8 to 12 weeks to train a technician for basic
    Preventive Maintenance, then it is another 6
    months before they have that AHA moment where
    everything finally clicks.
  • Pass a multiple test examination that tests your
    basic knowledge of the Regulations, basic
    maintenance principles for ATUs, Media Filters,
    Soil Absorption Fields, Safety, Math,
  • Maintain 20 hours of Continuing Education per
    Credentialing Cycle.

The Nitty Gritty - Administration
The proposal was that the Health Department would
be the administrator of the program. This means
they had to create a budget, and proposed
staffing. They would process the applications,
verify the applicant had the appropriate initial
certifications, and issue the credential. They
would have to develop and maintain security for
an examination and the examination test sites
(local health departments).
The Nitty Gritty Standard of Practice
Why define Standard of Practice? First, it sets
a base standard of what ALL operators should be
doing when conducting maintenance. Second, it
gives a base line standard for the Investigator
to utilize WHEN the complaint from the homeowner
is filed. We used the Consortium of Institutes
for Decentralized Wastewater Training National
Operation and Maintenance Program for Residential
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems as a primary
reference for the examination and as our baseline
for written SOPs! Just chock full of useful
information, plus CHECKLISTS for what the new
service provider should be looking for when
conducting maintenance visits. Hey, this aint
too bad things are just falling into place!
The Nitty Gritty - Ethics
This was fairly easy to develop as there are
written Ethical guidelines already established
in code for such professions as Engineers,
Physicians, Nurses, etc. So a lot of this was
just cut and paste what we wanted to see
Really, developing this program is a piece
of cake
The Nitty Gritty Complaint Resolution
Have to lump Investigation into this as well. We
pulled information on sanctions and
investigations again from professional
Engineers, Physicians and Nursing licensing
programs. The most difficult part was
developing who was going to Investigate to
keep the investigation impartial, it couldnt
involve any of the EH personnel in the district
where the complaint was filed. So arrangements
and protocols were discussed about pulling a
responsible party in from outlying districts.
The Nitty Gritty Complaint Resolution part 2
Expense was a big part of this, as you had to
provide for travel, possible overnight
accommodations for interviews, etc. We felt
that the majority of this could be handled via
Email as none of the complaints were going to be
an Emergency and though you want the complaint
handled in a timely manner, time itself was not
a factor. The committee never got into the
financial considerations, figuring some of the
offset would come from licensing fees.
Elsewhere and Elsewhen
While we spent a lot of time focused on
developing a Credentialing program, we also
continued to work on the other three elements of
the overall program. We dusted off 12-VAC-5-613
and made it so it was more performance based
vs. proscriptive. We developed a Civil
Penalty regulation allowing the HDs to write a
ticket for non-compliance, with progressively
steeper penalties. And the HD contracted with a
firm to develop a database that would be web
based allowing Operators to file their required
reports electronically.
Lets See What the Attorneys Have to Say!
It is now June, 2006 the committee thought we
had a pretty good program laid out. We had a
Certification Program developed, we had tweaked
the Alternative Onsite Regulations, We had a
regulatory proposal written for Civil
Penalties, the HD was well on their way to
having an online database, so now we put it all
in front of the Commonwealth Attorney for
review. The Attorney liked everything, but said
that the chances of VDH revoking someones
credential, or having a fine paid by a
Credentialed Operator was probably slim to
Conflict of Interest!
It seems that we overlooked or didnt think of
one teeny tiny little thing! In the course of
developing a credentialing program, managed by
the Health Department, we created a Conflict of
Interest within the Health Department. The
Health Department in short was going to be a
partner in training, the credentialing agency,
the primary complainant, the investigator, the
judge, the jury and the executioner of a
credentialed operator! All an Operator had to do
was scream Conflict of Interest and any
sanction would probably NEVER be held up in court.
Back to Square ONE?
  • Luckily NO The attorney asked a simple question
    Did we run the credentialing program or the
    idea of a credentialing program past the
    Department of Professional and Occupational
  • Answer NO! We got tunnel vision and never
    looked outside the initial proposal of the Health
    Department managing a credentialing program.
  • Turns out that all the work we did in developing
    the program is or was already in place!

So What Happened?
The Health Department submitted a major
legislative package in December 2006 for the 2007
Legislative Session. The Legislature passed all
of the proposed regulatory changes, with delayed
timelines for implementation of certain
sections. They expanded the Board for Waterworks
and Wastewater Works Operators to include Onsite
Sewage System Professionals and the Governor
appointed one Designer (AOSE), one Installer
(AOSSI) and one Operator (AOSSO) to the board.
Aftermath Timeline
Licensing for AOWTS Designers, Installers and
Operators became mandatory July 1, 2009. Interim
Licenses expired December 31, 2013. The Health
Department has a so / so online database and
inventory of the treatment systems installed and
currently permitted which went online and active
April 2010 Mandatory maintenance Interim
regulations became effective April 2010 and the
final rule became active December 2011. Civil
penalties went into effect September 2013.
Fall Out?
Surprisingly there has been very little Fall Out
received on the public side. We still have a
few Installers, Pumpers out there that are not in
Compliance with the licensing requirements. We
have however been finding treatment systems
damaged during installation or that have
structural flaws that are needing to be
replaced COSTLY for the property owner.
Un-Intended Consequences
As a result of the Onsite Community being
licensed professionals The Health Department has
reduced their inspections of Privately designed
systems to Quality Assurance inspections. The
Indemnification Fund that was created to assist
homeowners in repairing Bad Designs and Bad
Installations has pretty much been withdrawn for
use on the Private side That is what we
Professionals have Liability Insurance for!
Un-Intended Consequences
A portion of the Indemnification Fund is being
withdrawn from the Health Department and will be
used to fund Betterment Loans to assist low
income property owners with repairing failed
onsite systems. This doesnt fund 100 of the
costs, but is based on financial Needs
assessment A portion of the Fines from Civil
Penalties will go to the local HD to offset the
costs of court, etc. The remainder goes into the
Betterment Loan fund.
Un-Intended Consequences
As a result of having Licensed Professionals,
there is a push for the Health Department to get
out of the soil evaluation and design business
entirely. SHIFT Committee with industry
representatives met throughout 2013 to help chart
the course for this and to make
recommendations. We have lost a few good
installers who have decided they have gotten too
old for the game and that the rules are changing
too fast so they have chosen NOT to become
licensed and retired.
Over All However
New construction and repair installations are up
good economic driver! Operations Permits WONT
be issued without a service agreement in place!
Ergo, a Certificate of Occupancy wont be
issued! Systems that havent been operating
properly are now receiving the TLC they deserve.
Local Governments appear to be more comfortable
with Alternative Systems now that there is
mandatory maintenance Zoning by Septic
complaints are down.
In Closing
There is probably a licensing or credentialing
program of some sort already in place for
Wastewater Operators There are several
companies that have the experience and programs
already in place for Online Data Reporting
Lets save a forest! www.carmody.biz Lets
Stop Re-Inventing the Wheel and spend our time
enjoying our families.
In the Beginning - Life Was Easy, You just had to
have a position in Management!

Thank You
Coastal Plains Environmental Group, llc P.O. Box
236 New Kent, Virginia 23124 Office
804-966-9190 Facsimile 804-966-2739 Email
krdavis_at_cpegllc.com Web www.cpegllc.com
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