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New classes to train water and wastewater treatment plant operators

By Staff | Mar 20, 2014


KAHULUI – Next month, the University of Hawaii Maui College’s Edventure will offer a new noncredit training session for entry-level water and wastewater treatment plant operators.

The first of its kind in Hawaii, the training was developed to meet an emerging need identified by the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM) due to the impending retirement of water and wastewater treatment plant operators.

Maui County Wastewater Operations Program Superintendent Steve Parabicoli said, “The course is relevant now because in the coming years, many existing water and wastewater treatment plant operators here in Hawaii and throughout the nation will be retiring. The industry needs qualified personnel to fill these vacancies, as safe drinking water and a clean environment are so critically important for the protection of public health. This entry-level course will give those who complete it an opportunity to enter this dynamic industry.”

“I always tell people considering this line of work that this is not a job – it is a career, and one with many rewards,” said Tony Linder, division chief of the Department of Water Supply for the County of Maui.

The water/wastewater treatment training will provide technical classes combined with field experience, with both daytime or evening classes to accommodate different schedules.

“But we encourage those who are interested to enroll soon,” said instructor Raymond Sled, former water maintenance manager for the City of Renton, WA. “Space is limited to enhance instructional quality and job placement.”

Managing Maui’s water and wastewater is an ever-present need that also translates to job opportunities in an industry many of us take for granted.

“Water is our most important resource, and we must protect it,” added Parabicoli. “Water and wastewater treatment plant operators often go unnoticed, but just think if we did not have these dedicated professionals working to ensure that our tap water is safe to drink and our environment is protected from water pollution. In my opinion, operations personnel at water and wastewater treatment facilities are unsung heroes, much like our police officers and firefighters. I am proud to work with water because I feel I am making a difference.”

Skills in math, science, communications and teamwork translate well to this growing field.

Interested in working with water? Visit sustainablemaui.org/water-and-wastewater-treatment to learn more. To apply to the program, e-mail rsled@hawaii.edu or call 984-3391 to arrange an interview.

The water/wastewater program is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in the amount of $287,419. Funding does not pay for student costs to participate.