Water Utility Training & Assistance During COVID-19

NATIONAL TRIBAL WATER AND WASTEWATER OPERATOR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

ANNOUNCEMENT ON NOVEL CORONA VIRUS COVID-19 

POSTPONEMENT OF IN-PERSON TRAINING AND

CONTINUATION OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND OPERATOR CERTIFICATION SERVICES

March 19, 2020

The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) is a tribally-controlled non-profit organization that serves on behalf of Indian Country.  ITCA’s Board of Directors consists of the elected officials that have the sworn duty to protect and serve each of their respective tribal nations.  As a tribal consortium of 21 tribal nations, we work in tandem with tribal communities in Arizona and beyond.  As a tribally-controlled non-profit organization, we put the safety and health of tribal members as our highest priority.

In order to respond to the ever changing COVID-19 situation, the Executive Managers of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. have made the decision to postpone all in-person tribal water and wastewater operator training classes, all Paper-Booklet Testing operator certification examination sessions, and all in-person technical assistance field work that ITCA had originally scheduled to take place during the time period March 16, 2020, through June 30, 2020.  ITCA is acting on behalf of concern for the safety of all community members, attendees, tribal leaders, and our staff as the ongoing concern of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to emerge with updates daily.  ITCA will continue to monitor the situation and in time, when conditions improve, will begin the rescheduling process for the postponed events.  The following services will continue as much as possible through a staffing succession and continuity plan that the ITCA Tribal Water Department is activating.  To access these free services, please contact the individuals listed at the end of this announcement.

TECHINCAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES WILL CONTINUE BY VIRTUAL MEANS
The existing network of ITCA consultant subject-matter experts that provides free technical assistance to Tribal water and wastewater utilities throughout the Midwest and Western U.S. remains available through virtual means.  In the coming days, ITCA endeavors to offer free “Tele-Technical Assistance” services for Tribal water and wastewater utilities.  Use your phones, portable devices, and computers to directly connect with ITCA consultant subject-matter experts on technical, managerial, and financial matters of operating and maintaining water utilities.

In addition, ITCA is planning to conduct Tribal utility peer-to-peer conference call and webinar forums for continuity of operations and mutual aid networks.

TRAINING ALTERNATIVES
ITCA is working to establish free alternative training pathways for Tribal water and wastewater utilities.  In the coming days, ITCA endeavors to offer both web-based training and other distance training options in lieu of in-person trainings.  The following list are examples of the types of options that are being considered.  The ITCA website will be updated as alternative pathways become available.

    • Operator Resources Library
      • Loaning of Training Books (distributed by mail)
    • Distance Learning through structured self-lead plans
    • Online Training
      • On-Demand Training Modules
      • 1-on-1 Live Tutoring through web-based streaming arrangements

OPERATOR CERTIFICATION SERVICES WILL CONTINUE
ITCA endeavors to maintain continued operator certification services and water utility technical assistance services through virtual and limited in-person interaction.  Please see the ITCA website for updates, application forms, and registration information.

  • Renewal of Expiring Tribal Operator Certification – ITCA will continue to accept and process applications for the renewal of expiring operator certifications.  ITCA has always assisted Tribal operators who timely submit renewal applications prior to certification expiration and has worked with such operators to extend expiration deadlines in concert with an approved continuing education plan.  In response to the COVID-19 situation, ITCA will allow an automatic extension (of at least 10 months) to certifications that are set to expire during the 2020 calendar year.
  • Computer-Based Testing – For several years, ITCA has offered year-round Computer-Based Testing for Tribal operator certification through a third-party arrangement with PSI, which maintains a network of over 300 testing centers nationwide.  ITCA will continue to accept and process registrations and applications for Tribal operator certification through Computer-Based Testing.  However, please understand that specific computer-based testing center locations may close and open at various times due to testing center employee responses to the COVID-19 situation.  ITCA is exploring alternative options for web-based operator certification examinations.
  • Reciprocity – ITCA will continue to accept and process applications for reciprocity of water and wastewater operator certifications.

In case of water related emergency, contact your primacy agency and follow local emergency response procedures.  If you need further assistance, contact ITCA.

How to Contact the ITCA Tribal Water Department during the COVID-19 situation.

ITCA automated phone directory, (602) 258-4822

Tribal Water Department email address:  TWSInfo@itcaonline.com

Brian Bennon, ITCA Tribal Water Department Director, brian.bennon@itcaonline.com,

Bruce Robinson, ITCA Technical Assistance Project Manager, bruce.robinson@itcaonline.com,

Lionel Puhuyesva, ITCA Training & Certification Program Manager, lionel.puhuyesva@itcaonline.com, cell phone: (602) 316-2961

Waquin Preston, Certification Specialist II, waquin.preston@itcaonline.com

Marguerite Sheehan, Certification Specialist II, marguerite.sheehan@itcaonline.com

Raquel Begay, Certification Specialist, raquel.begay@itcaonline.com

Harrenson Gorman, Certification Specialist, harrenson.gorman@itcaonline.com

Craig Lewis, Certification Specialist, craig.lewis@itcaonline.com

Michelle Ragsdale, Certification Specialist, michelle.ragsdale@itcaonline.com

Click Here: Water Utility Training & Assistance During COVID-19

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2020 ITCA Tribal Water/Wastewater Operator of the Year

Attention Tribal Water and Wastewater Professionals:

Have you noticed a water/wastewater operator working in Indian Country…

• Going above and beyond their assigned job duties?
• Lending support to a co-worker or staff member?
• Providing assistance to another utility?
• Volunteering in the community?
• Going the extra mile in any form?

Here is your chance to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts and hard work. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA) is requesting nominations for the 2020 Tribal Water/Wastewater Operator of the Year Award.

Anyone is welcome to submit a nomination to show appreciation for the quality and integrity of the work done by an operator of a Tribal water or wastewater system that is located within the ITCA National Tribal Water & Wastewater Operator Certification Program service area, which includes USEPA Regions 5 through 10. Nominations should be submitted by those who have personally witnessed the great work of the operator being nominated.

How to Nominate an Operator
Complete the attached Nomination Form and return it to ITCA either by:
o Email: waquin.preston@itcaonline.com or harrenson.gorman@itcaonline.com
o Fax: (602) 258-4825, or
o Mail: Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.
TRIBAL WATER DEPARTMENT
Attention: Waquin Preston
2214 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

2020 Operator of the Year Nomination Packet Coming Soon!

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2020 Training Calendar – POSTPONED

POSTPONED

2020 Calendar of Tribal Water and Wastewater Operator Training and Certification Examination Events

The National Tribal Water & Wastewater Operator Training Calendar publication has been postponed. Periodic updates with listings of planned training’s and exam events will be posted on this webpage as they are confirmed.

Shown below is the current list of training and exam events, as well as their associated dates and locations that are proposed to be offered in 2020. Please note: the information listed here is in draft form and may be subject to change.

Click Here: USEPA Regional Map

 

Operator Training/Certification Exam Event Date Location
Computer-Based Testing 2020 year-around Nationwide
Paper-Booklet Exam Session    
Program Advisory Committee Meeting February 26, 2020 Phoenix, AZ
Region 9
EPA Region 9 Tribal Drinking Water Conference  POSTPONED  Las Vegas, NV
Region 9
Safe Drinking Water Act 101 Training Course  July 20-24, 2020  Chandler, AZ
Region 9
Safe Drinking Water Act 101 Training Course September 28-October 1, 2020 Albuquerque, NM
Region 6
Wastewater Operator Regulations & Operator Workgroup Meeting July 6-9, 2020 Santa Ana, NM
Region 6
Small Wastewater Treatment Lagoons Training January 29-30, 2020 Fort Wingate, NM
Region 6
Backflow Assembly Tester  POSTPONED Tempe, AZ
Region 9
Tribal Utility Management Training  POSTPONED  Coachella, CA
Region 9
General Module & Very Small Water System POSTPONED
Hopland, CA
Region 9 
General Module & Very Small Water System POSTPONED  Blue Lake, CA
Region 9
Water Distribution – Level 1 February 10-14, 2020   Sloan, IA
Region 7
Water Distribution – Level 1 March 9-13, 2020 Laughlin, NV
Region 9
Water Distribution – Level 1 POSTPONED Flagstaff, AZ
Region 9
Water Distribution – Level 1 POSTPONED  Reno, NV
Region 9
Water Distribution – Level 1 POSTPONED  Browning, MT
Region 8
Water Distribution – Level 2 August 17-21, 2020  Region 9
Water Treatment – Level 1 POSTPONED Mobridge, SD
Region 8
Water Treatment – Level 1 July 13-17, 2020  Flagstaff, AZ
Region 9
Water Treatment – Level 1 July 27-31, 2020   Horton, KS
Region 7
Water Treatment – Level 1 POSTPONED Fulton, MI
Region 5
Water Treatment – Level 1 August 3-7, 2020 Albuquerque, NM
Region 6
Water Treatment – Level 1 August 24-28, 2020  Kingston, WA
Region 10
Water Treatment – Level 2 September 14-18, 2020 Alpine, CA
Region 9
Wastewater Collection – Level 1 August 11-13, 2020  Banning, CA Region 9
Wastewater Collection – Level 1 August 25-27, 2020  Lawton, OK
Region 6
Wastewater Collection – Level 1 September 9-11, 2020 Portland, OR
Region 10
Wastewater Collection – Level 2  September 14-18, 2020 Camp Verde, AZ
Region 9 
Wastewater Treatment – Level 1 POSTPONED Bismarck, ND
Region 8
Wastewater Treatment – Level 1 POSTPONED Region 7
Wastewater Treatment – Level 1 July 27-31, 2020  Winterhaven, CA
Region 9
Wastewater Treatment – Level 2 August 31-September 4, 2020  Maricopa, AZ
Region 9
Online Operator Trainings Coming Soon Online

Tribal Utility Tune-Up Workshop

Tribal Utility Tune-Up Workshop

ITCA is pleased to offer free, Tribal Utility Tune-Up Workshop that we bring to your location and custom-tailor to your specific water/wastewater utility program.

Attached is a brochure for the Tribal Utility Tune-Up Workshop. For more information on how to bring this event to your utility, please contact the Tribal Water Department at (602)258-4822.

Click Here: Brochure for Tribal Utility Tune-Up Workshop

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Technical Assistance to Tribal Communities

The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) Tribal Water System Program is dedicated to providing technical assistance to tribes in order to develop technical, managerial, and financial capacity (TMF), as well as water & wastewater utility sustainability through education, access to resources, training, and technical assistance. The program partners with federal agencies and other organizations to ensure these services are available to Tribal Water Utility operators and managers.

Want to Learn more? CLICK HERE