Opened in October 2011, the New Hampshire Operator Training Facility is an expansive, hands-on water system designed to demonstrate and teach basic principles of water and wastewater system operations. The facility incorporates many aspects of water and wastewater operations into one compact module. Many of the individual functions can be found at various schools and manufacturers throughout the country. Nowhere else, however, are they found together in one place.
The idea for the facility developed from a need expressed by New Hampshire water and wastewater system operators to have hands-on training opportunities incorporated into the state’s operator certification training program. The concept for the facility grew from there. The facility was built with funds from New Hampshire’s Operator Certification Expense Reimbursement Grant and donations from many contractors, manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers who generously donated ideas and materials. In fact, donated time and materials alone were worth more than the contracted price for the facility.
The facility is available for use by water and wastewater associations, training groups, distributors, and manufacturers. The topics that can be demonstrated with the unit include: pumps and pumping (pump curves, output/speed and pressure relationships); chemical feed (metering pumps, adjustments, troubleshooting); controls and alarms (variable frequency drive , tank level, SCADA); meters (types, applications, pressure loss); backflow; pump station operations; well pumps and controls; system hydraulics; and transitions between various piping materials. The facility is entirely indoors, in a 10’ X 24’ area, and is designed for easy access and viewing.
Results to Date:
The facility is currently being used, as envisioned, to supplement various classroom training courses. The early feedback from state operators and trainers is extremely positive. The facility allows trainees to observe firsthand the theories taught in the classroom or read in books. New Hampshire trainers are currently working with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Drinking Water & Groundwater Bureau to develop courses based on the facility’s capabilities – courses that were never before envisioned for operator training. The New Hampshire Water and Wastewater Operator Training Facility has opened the New Hampshire Operator Training Program to new horizons. Staff cannot wait to see where it will take them.
Harrison “Chip” Mackey
Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services