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

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

2020-2021 Training Course Catalog for Tribal Water and Wastewater Operator Certification

The ITCA National Tribal Water & Wastewater Operator Certification Program is pleased to provide this updated listing of free operator training and certification events. Please note: due to public health and safety concerns, ITCA Tribal operator certification training events are currently provided in a high-quality, student-focused online learning format. A detailed listing of all online training courses for 2020, through March 2021, is provided in this downloadable Online Course Catalog.

A listing of online training courses for the full 2021 calendar year is coming soon.

Click Here: 2020-2021 Online Training Course Catalog

Each course consists of sequential lessons that are provided in a series of live online classes that are each 3-hours in duration. Some courses are offered more than once to provide operators with options. Courses that occur more than once are labeled with “Section” numbers. A person that registers for a course should only attend a single course Section. Instructors may vary from one course section to another.

The terms “lesson”, “class”, and “course” are defined in the ITCA Standards for Contact Hour Credit from Virtual Training Events document.

Click here: ITCA Standards for Online Training Contact Hours.

Specified Regional or Area Designations
Most of the online training courses are listed without any specified region or area and are therefore, open without restriction. However, some training courses are listed for certain regions or areas. Such training courses are made possible by funding agencies for the express purpose of serving certain geographic areas. When a course is listed for a specific region or area, two different registration options are available—Priority Registration, and General Admission Waiting List.

  • Priority Registration
    If you work on Tribal lands in the region or area specified for the course, please use the “priority registration” option. Priority registration will be monitored and tracked based on the work address provided during registration.
  • General Admission Waiting List
    Online training course size is limited to preserve the high quality of student-focused instruction. A general admission waiting list is available for personnel working on Tribal lands that are outside of the region or area specified for the particular course. Selection for the course will be first come, first serve based on seats available after the priority registration seats are filled.

Click Here: USEPA Regional Map
Click Here: IHS Area Map

Table of Events
The table below provides a summarized listing of all ITCA Program training and certification events (past and upcoming) for 2020, through March 2021. Click on the individual course listing for details and registration instructions specific to a particular upcoming course. Events that have already occurred are shown in gray and the links are no longer active.

 

Training Format Operator Training/Certification Event Start & End Date Region/Area
In-Person Computer-Based Testing 2020 year-around Open/Not Specified
In Person Program Advisory Committee Meeting February 26, 2020 Phoenix, AZ
Online Operator Workgroup Meeting March 30-31, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Safe Drinking Water Act 101, Section 1 January 19-February 25, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Safe Drinking Water Act 101, Section 2 March 17-April 14, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Regulations for Wastewater Operators February 1-10, 2021 Open/Not Specified
In Person Small Wastewater Treatment Lagoons Training January 29-30, 2020 Ft. Wingate, NM
Online Tribal Utility Management Training,
Section 1
August 18-September 17, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online General Module & Very Small Water System, Section 1 July 27-August 24, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online General Module & Very Small Water System, Section 2 September 16-October 19, 2020 Open/Not Specified
In Person Water Distribution – Level 1 February 10-14, 2020 Sloan, IA
In Person Water Distribution – Level 1 March 9-13, 2020 Laughlin, NV
Online Water Distribution – Level 1,
Section 1
July 27-August 24, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Water Distribution – Level 1,
Section 2
October 26-December 7, 2020 Priority Registration Region 9
Online Water Distribution – Level 1
Section 3
January 6-February 12, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Water Distribution – Level 2
Section 1
January 11-February 19, 2021 Priority Registration Region 9
Online Water Treatment – Level 1,
Section 1
July 27-August 24, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Water Treatment – Level 1,
Section 4
October 14-November 20, 2020 Priority Registration Region 7
Online Water Treatment – Level 1,
Section 5
November 30-December 18, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Water Treatment – Level 1,
Section 3
January 5-February 25, 2021 Priority Registration Great Plains Area
Online Water Treatment – Level 1
Section 6
February 1-March 10, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Water Treatment – Level 1
Section 2
February 17-March 24, 2021 Priority Registration Region 9
Online Water Treatment – Level 2
Section 1
October 7-November 12, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Collection – Level 1,
Section 1
September 17-October 15, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Collection – Level 1, Section 2 November 30-December 16, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Collection – Level 1, Section 3 February 22-March 10, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Collection – Level 2, Section 1 February 2-March 25, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Treatment – Level 1,
Section 1
July 27-August 24, 2020 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Treatment – Level 1,
Section 2
January 5-February 25, 2021 Priority Registration Great Plains Area
Online Wastewater Treatment – Level 1,
Section 3
January 6-February 10, 2021 Open/Not Specified
Online Wastewater Treatment – Level 2,
Section 1
February 17-March 24, 2021 Open/Not Specified

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