More than 30 now hold grade specific certification

White House Utility District (WHUD), the state’s largest geographic water and wastewater provider, has reason to celebrate – three employees have earned Grade II certifications for distribution or wastewater collection systems.

  • Braden Douglas, field technician, earned Grade II Distribution certification.
  • Kim Klotter, collection systems coordinator, earned Grade II Wastewater Collection System certification. Klotter previously earned a Grade III Wastewater Treatment Plant certification.
  • Jacob Knight, wastewater technician, earned Grade II Wastewater Collection System certification. Knight previously earned a Grade II Distribution certification 

“This training will definitely improve our daily work,” said Knight. “There are so many elements with wastewater or raw sewage that we don’t always think about – we just deal with them. This training gave us some great tips on how to work in a smarter and safer manner, both for us and for the overall health of the communities we serve.”

Earning a grade specific certification qualifies an individual to operate a system equal to or below the specific grade level of certification; i.e., Grade II operators can operate a Grade I or Grade II system. Facilities and systems are graded by size and complexity. WHUD has a Grade II wastewater collection system, a Grade I wastewater treatment plant, a Grade II water distribution system, and a Grade IV water treatment plant.

“One of the greatest ways we can serve our customers is to ensure our employees have the training and resources they need to do their jobs well,” said Bill Thompson, WHUD general manager. “We are very proud of these three. They devoted a lot of time and energy into earning this certification, which really underscores their personal commitment to the safety and integrity of our water distribution and wastewater collection systems.”

To earn certification, WHUD employees first complete an in-depth study course from the University of Southern California, in their respective operational area of responsibility. They also take a weeklong certification class through Fleming Training Center, a division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), followed by four days of intensive math classes, also offered at Fleming. They then complete a four-day training program through the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts (TAUD), again, focused on the specific area of responsibility. All of this, plus years of experience in wastewater collection or water distribution and approval from the state Operator Certification Board, are required before employees can sit for the exam.

“This training was a great experience for us and will be extremely beneficial to us and our customers,” said Klotter. “Learning about the potential issues that can occur within the collection system, as well as the industry standards and best practices for resolving those issues, will provide us with the skillset to work faster and keep service interruptions at a minimum.”

Douglas expanded on that saying he is very appreciative of the support and resources WHUD provides. “Our leaders really value education and professional development,” he said, “and not just for our own personal growth, but so we have the knowledge and tools we need to better serve our customers.”

They join 30 others within WHUD who have previously earned a grade specific certification in water distribution system, water treatment plant, wastewater collections system or wastewater treatment.