Four things I’ve learned taking a Water Environment Federation Course

By: Kevin Shipp

Water Environment Federation

Thirty years and hundreds of water projects later, I still feel like I have so much to learn about our industry. One of the ways I stay up to date on the latest in education and innovation in water is by taking courses hosted by organizations like the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

I’ve been really impressed with their Wastewater Treatment Fundamentals I—Liquid

Treatment course, and wanted to share a few of my favorite takeaways. Even though it’s an introductory course, there’s always something new to learn, and ‘getting back to the basics is a great reminder of how amazing the wastewater treatment process truly is.


1. A reminder for how interconnected different treatment processes are.


Whether it's pretreatment, primary, secondary, tertiary, and more – each one affects the other.


2. An appreciation for treatment plant operators


As you progress from pretreatment with different screens and sizes of screens for different types of solids that are potentially coming in, and then move into primary and secondary treatment, depending on the loading characteristics of the influent, it's almost like a fine art for these operators to continually dial in or adjust the plant for the current conditions.


3. The origins of BOD5:


This was a new one for me! It turns out that it’s the amount of time that it takes water to go down the River Thames from the source to estuary. It was a test that was developed more than a hundred years ago.


4. How well structured the curriculum is:


WEF does it in a way where it's not just word-for-word multiple choice. You actually need to interpret and comprehend what you’ve read to be able to answer the questions. I expected something totally different! This one kept me on my toes.

Even if you’re a ‘seasoned guy’ like me, or someone brand new to wastewater treatment, there’s something to be learned by taking these kinds of courses. Let me know if anyone has other good course recommendations!

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