Montana Spring Water School

Dates: May 4-5, 2021

Meets: Tues. and Wed. from 8:45 AM to 4:00 PM

Location: Online Webex System

$100.00
Registration Fee: $100.00

Montana's water and wastewater systems and the communities they support rely on qualified and trained system operators. The Montana Water and Wastewater Operators Initiative (MW2OI) is a collaborative effort to provide the most comprehensive training possible for Montana's operators. MW2OI is a partnership between the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Department of Civil Engineering and Academic Technology and Outreach at Montana State University, and the professional organizations representing Montana's water and wastewater system operators.

MW2OI is offering Spring 2021 Water School to continue the long tradition of operator training at Montana State University. Due to the restrictions and uncertainties caused by COVID-19, Spring 2021 Water School will be offered virtually over the course of two days to allow operators around the state to participate in training and meet their obligations in their communities. The theme for the Spring 2021 Water School is "System Security and Control."

Knowledgeable speakers from around the nation will provide operators with important training on ways to improve their systems and share their experiences in improving the operation of Montana's water and wastewater systems.

The virtual sessions on May 4th will focus on water systems and sessions on May 5th will focus on wastewater systems. There will be dual credit courses available.

  • Each 1.5 hour session is worth .15 CECs


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

8:45 - 9:00 am
Welcome and Introduction to the Montana Water and Wastewater Operators Initiative (MW2OI) Spring Water School

Craig Woolard

9:00 - 10:30 am
Water Regulatory Update
will cover a wide range of topics including:

  • a brief rule review;
  • a review of waiver requirements;
  • a discussion about emerging contaminants; and
  • a regulatory update.

Speaker: Lisa Kaufman

10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Cyber Security
(Dual Credit) will address how recent incidents targeting water systems in Florida and elsewhere validate the need for all water systems to address cyber vulnerabilities. AWWA has developed cybersecurity guidance and an assessment tool to help water systems evaluate which controls are most relevant to their operating environment. This addresses enterprise and process control systems. Participants will gain an understanding of how to apply the guidance and establish a cybersecurity risk management strategy.

Speaker: Kevin Morley

1:00 - 2:30 pm
SCADA Systems
(Dual Credit) will cover practical aspects of operating and maintaining SCADA, instrumentation and controls systems in water and wastewater treatment systems. The role of SCADA systems in maintaining cybersecurity will also be discussed.

Speaker: Tom Delora

2:30 - 4:00 pm
Water Distribution System Operations and Backflow Prevention
will cover the fundamentals of water distribution system, including system maintenance tasks and leak detection, hydrant flowing and utility locates. Special emphasis will be placed on distribution system cross connections and control and the basics of backflow prevention.

Speakers: Nick Pericich, Tim Tuskan


Wednesday, May 5, 2021


8:45 - 9:00 am
Welcome and Introduction
to the Montana Water and Wastewater Operators Initiative (MW2OI) Spring Water School

Craig Woolard

9:00 - 10:30 am
Wastewater Regulatory Update
will provide an overview of EPA Region 8 activities in Montana as they relate to compliance and technical assistance. In addition, there will be a discussion about wastewater technical assistance offerings at MDEQ, including new initiatives, O&M, optimization and an overall plan for the coming field season and year.

Speakers: Lisa-kay Prideaux, Pete Boettcher, Josh Viall

10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Emergency Power Systems
(Dual Credit) will address the critical system planning and assessment necessary to plan for emergency power systems to prepare utilities for unstable and interruptible grid power supplies.

Speaker: Dr. Robert Cheng

1:00 - 2:30 pm
Wastewater Systems Process and Energy Optimization
will cover practical steps wastewater systems operators can take to optimize power consumption and save money. Wastewater treatment systems are frequently one of the community's top energy consumers and power bills are one a utility's largest energy expenses.

Speaker: Todd Brewer

2:30 - 4:00 pm
Optimizing Nutrient Removal Using Existing Wastewater Equipment: Montana Case Studies
will provide an in-depth review of the projects that two small Montana communities completed to dramatically improve nutrient removal. The lessons learned during these projects will help other communities prepare for future upgrades and operational improvements.

Speaker: Grant Weaver

Fee:   $100.00

Online Webex System

You will receive a confirmation email with Log-in Instructions.

Craig Woolard

Craig Woolard is a professor and head of the Department of Civil Engineering at Montana State University and the Montana Water and Wastewater Operators Initiative director. Before returning to MSU, Craig served as the director of public works for the City of Bozeman. Craig has served as the treatment operations director and then general manager of the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility in Anchorage, Alaska. Craig has been active in professional associations throughout his career and served as the national president for the American Water Works Association in 2008. Craig grew up in Kalispell, Montana, and earned a bachelor's in civil engineering from Montana State University and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He is a registered professional engineer in Alaska and Montana.

Lisa Kaufman

Lisa Kaufman has served as the Surface Water Treatment Rule Manager in the Public Water Supply Bureau at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for 11 years. Lisa relocated to Montana from Indiana, where she worked in the public health sector for 20 years in water quality. She has a bachelor's degree in biology and Spanish.

Kevin Morley

Kevin Morley is the Manager of Federal Relations for the American Water Works Association (AWWA). He works closely with multiple organizations to advance the security and preparedness of the water sector. This includes supporting the development of several ANSI/AWWA standards that represent minimum best practices for water sector risk and resilience management, including cybersecurity guidance. He is a leading expert on §2013 of America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018 and on the many resources that enable water systems to advance their security and preparedness for all hazards. Dr. Morley has been appointed to the President's National Infrastructure Advisory Council. Dr. Morley received his Ph.D. from George Mason University with research on water sector resilience and developing the Utility Resilience Index (URI). He holds a M.S. from the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a B.A. from Syracuse University.


Tom DeLaura

Tom Delora a professional engineer and he has spent 46 years in the water community as a utility employee and consultant. Tom is active on water/wastewater committees at local and international levels. During his career, he has done research, design, construction, operation and maintenance of automation and computer applications for all water and wastewater processes. He is active in training operations professionals around the country through AWWA.


Nick Pericich

Nick Pericich graduated from Montana State University with a degree in chemical engineering. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Bozeman Water and Sewer Division as an operator and now serves as assistant superintendent responsible for operating and maintaining the water distribution and wastewater collection systems. He has 20 years of operations experience in his various positions with the City of Bozeman Water and Sewer Division. Most of his expertise lies in the area between the two treatment plants on everything from making taps to helping plan our daily routine using asset management.

Tim Tuskan

Tim Tuskan is the cross-connection control specialist with the City of Bozeman water department. He has been with the City since 2013 and is a Class IA certified water distribution operator and a certified backflow tester with the American Backflow Prevention Association. Tim supports Bozeman's backflow cross connection and backflow control program by providing testing, education and database maintenance.


Lisa-kay Prideaux

Lisa-kay Prideaux is an operator with EPA Region 8. She was previously an environmental compliance inspector at Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) with a specialization in wastewater. She has been a regular contributor to past water schools.


Pete Boettcher

Pete Boettcher leads MDEQ's wastewater technical assistance program with Josh Viall. Together they are responsible for field operations support.


Josh Viall

Josh Viall leads MDEQ's wastewater technical assistance program with Pete Boettcher. Together they are responsible for field operations support.


Robert Cheng

Dr. Robert Cheng is the Assistant General Manager at the Coachella Valley Water District in California where he manages a group of 570 employees responsible for domestic water, canal water, wastewater collection and treatment, storm water, recycled water and groundwater recharge services of the District. Dr. Cheng is involved in planning and operating emergency power systems for Coachella Valley during times of unstable power.


Todd Brewer

Todd Brewer is the Senior Manager for Grants, Education and Utility Programs with the American Water Works Association in Denver, Colorado. Prior to his current position, he served as the Senior Manager for Partnership Programs at AWWA and oversaw the continuous improvement and optimization of programs for drinking water treatment, distribution systems and wastewater treatment facilities. He continues to manage the Partnership Programs as part of his new role at AWWA. Todd also served for more than eight years as the Manager - Water Quality and Optimization for City Utilities in Springfield, Missouri. Before his tenure at City Utilities, he served as the Water Quality Lab Manager/Treatment Supervisor for the City of Oklahoma City for several years. Overall, he has more than 22 years' experience in the drinking water utility field and has held licenses as a water operator (A) in both Oklahoma and Missouri. Todd is a licensed professional engineer (OK) and holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. He has taught college-level chemistry and engineering courses for the last 22+ years and has served as an instructor for several operator certification classes and AWWA workshops.


Grant Weaver

Grant Weaver is a licensed wastewater operator and professional engineer. For the last 22 years, Grant has taught wastewater nutrient optimization classes for the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and applied his expertise to treatment facilities across the state.
Date Day Time Location
05/04/2021Tuesday8:45 AM to 4 PM Online Webex System
05/05/2021Wednesday8:45 AM to 4 PM Online Webex System

  • If someone can't make the live sessions, but wants credit for watching the recordings, that can be done as long as they register for the water school and have their supervisor sign off that they viewed the recordings.
  • Watching the live sessions as a group, they should contact Mark Chakoian at mark.chakoian@montana.edu to make sure the group info is registered. (Each individual will have to be registered for the course to be elgible for the CEC hours. )


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

8:45 - 9:00 am
Welcome and Introduction to the Montana Water and Wastewater Operators Initiative (MW2OI) Spring Water School

Craig Woolard

9:00 - 10:30 am
Water Regulatory Update
will cover a wide range of topics including:

  • a brief rule review;
  • a review of waiver requirements;
  • a discussion about emerging contaminants; and
  • a regulatory update.

Speaker: Lisa Kaufman

10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Cyber Security
(Dual Credit) will address how recent incidents targeting water systems in Florida and elsewhere validate the need for all water systems to address cyber vulnerabilities. AWWA has developed cybersecurity guidance and an assessment tool to help water systems evaluate which controls are most relevant to their operating environment. This addresses enterprise and process control systems. Participants will gain an understanding of how to apply the guidance and establish a cybersecurity risk management strategy.

Speaker: Kevin Morley

1:00 - 2:30 pm
SCADA Systems
(Dual Credit) will cover practical aspects of operating and maintaining SCADA, instrumentation and controls systems in water and wastewater treatment systems. The role of SCADA systems in maintaining cybersecurity will also be discussed.

Speaker: Tom Delora

2:30 - 4:00 pm
Water Distribution System Operations and Backflow Prevention
will cover the fundamentals of water distribution system, including system maintenance tasks and leak detection, hydrant flowing and utility locates. Special emphasis will be placed on distribution system cross connections and control and the basics of backflow prevention.

Speakers: Nick Pericich, Tim Tuskan


Wednesday, May 5, 2021


8:45 - 9:00 am
Welcome and Introduction
to the Montana Water and Wastewater Operators Initiative (MW2OI) Spring Water School

Craig Woolard

9:00 - 10:30 am
Wastewater Regulatory Update
will provide an overview of EPA Region 8 activities in Montana as they relate to compliance and technical assistance. In addition, there will be a discussion about wastewater technical assistance offerings at MDEQ, including new initiatives, O&M, optimization and an overall plan for the coming field season and year.

Speakers: Lisa-kay Prideaux, Pete Boettcher, Josh Viall

10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Emergency Power Systems
(Dual Credit) will address the critical system planning and assessment necessary to plan for emergency power systems to prepare utilities for unstable and interruptible grid power supplies.

Speaker: Dr. Robert Cheng

1:00 - 2:30 pm
Wastewater Systems Process and Energy Optimization
will cover practical steps wastewater systems operators can take to optimize power consumption and save money. Wastewater treatment systems are frequently one of the community's top energy consumers and power bills are one a utility's largest energy expenses.

Speaker: Todd Brewer

2:30 - 4:00 pm
Optimizing Nutrient Removal Using Existing Wastewater Equipment: Montana Case Studies
will provide an in-depth review of the projects that two small Montana communities completed to dramatically improve nutrient removal. The lessons learned during these projects will help other communities prepare for future upgrades and operational improvements.

Speaker: Grant Weaver

  • Each session will be .15 CECs (for a total of 1.2 CECs, .6 each day).
  • All presentations from both days of the water school will be recorded.
  • If someone can't make the live sessions, but wants credit for watching the recordings, that can be done as long as they register for the water school and have their supervisor sign off that they viewed the recordings.
  • Watching the live sessions as a group, they should contact Mark Chakoian at mark.chakoian@montana.edu to make sure the group info is registered. (Each individual will have to be registered for the course to be elgible for the CEC hours. )

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