Montana Administrative Register Notice 17-329 No. 3   02/09/2012    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 17.40.201, 17.40.202, 17.40.203, 17.40.206, and 17.40.208 pertaining to definitions, classification of systems, certification of operators, examinations, certified operator in charge of system--exceptions












            TO:  All Concerned Persons


            1.  On March 1, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., the Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing in Room 111, 1520 East Sixth Avenue, Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules.


            2.  The department will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this public hearing or need an alternative accessible format of this notice.  If you require an accommodation, contact Elois Johnson, Paralegal, no later than 5:00 p.m., February 20, 2012, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need.  Please contact Elois Johnson at Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, Montana 59620-0901; phone (406) 444-2630; fax (406) 444-4386; or e-mail ejohnson@mt.gov.


            3.  The rules proposed to be amended provide as follows, stricken matter interlined, new matter underlined:


            17.40.201  DEFINITIONS  In addition to the terms defined in 37-42-102, MCA:

            (1) through (4) remain the same.

            (5)  "On-site wastewater treatment system" means a sewage system using a mechanical or septic tank based treatment process where the treated waste is disposed of using a soil disposal system.

            (5) through (8) remain the same, but are renumbered (6) through (9).

            (9) (10)  "Temporary certificate" means a certificate that is issued to:

            (a)  an applicant approved by the department to be an operator in responsible charge of a specified system until the date of the next examination; or

            (b)  an operator-in-training until the person has met the experience requirements in ARM 17.40.208 a department-approved applicant, who does not meet the full certification requirements, to be an operator in responsible charge of a specified system.

            (10) and (11) remain the same, but are renumbered (11) and (12).


            AUTH:  37-42-202, MCA

            IMP:  37-42-202, MCA


            REASON:  The proposed addition of (5) defines the term "on-site wastewater treatment system," as used in these rules.  The proposed addition also ensures that on-site wastewater treatment systems are identified and therefore included under ARM 17.40.208 as a system that requires a certified operator.  When the certified operator program originated, on-site wastewater systems were very simple.  The general design included a septic tank and a drainfield.  Because of their simplicity, they were not required to have a certified operator.  Over time, some on-site wastewater systems have become much more complex in their treatment of wastewater and now require advanced knowledge of those processes for proper operation, maintenance, and reporting.

            The proposed amendments to the definition of "temporary certificate" in existing (9) (renumbered (10) in this notice) would clarify the distinction between a temporary certificate and a fully certified operator.  The proposed amendments are necessary to clarify that a person who does not meet the fully certified operator requirements may be approved by the department to be the person in responsible charge of a public water or wastewater treatment system.


            17.40.202  CLASSIFICATION OF SYSTEMS  (1)  All water supply systems and wastewater systems are classified according to population served and or type of treatment as shown below:

            (a) through (b)(v) remain the same.

            (c)  Wastewater treatment systems:

            (i)  Class 1--conventional, high rate, or biological nutrient removal activated sludge systems or any treatment system with mechanical tertiary (advanced) treatment processes secondary and advanced (tertiary) treatment provided by conventional activated sludge plants, biological nutrient removal plants, ammonia conversion processes, or other tertiary processes such as effluent filtration and membrane bioreactor systems;

            (ii)  Class 2--treatment such as extended aeration, oxidation ditches, trickling filters, package plants, sequencing batch reactors, or bio-disc treatment systems secondary treatment provided by extended aeration activated sludge plants such as oxidation ditches and package plants, fixed-growth trickling filter and bio-disc plants, or sequencing batch reactors;

            (iii)  Class 3--secondary treatment provided by aerated lagoons;

            (iv)  Class 4--lagoons not utilizing artificial aeration.

            (d)  Industrial wastewater treatment systems:

            (i)  Class 1--physical-chemical treatment facilities for precipitation and settling and/or biological treatment plants treating more than 1.0 mgd physical-chemical or biological treatment facility treating more than 1.0 mgd, including, but not limited to, the following:

            (A)  air flotation;

            (B)  air stripping;

            (C)  reverse osmosis;

            (D)  electrochemical treatment;

            (E)  activated sludge;

            (F)  anaerobic digestion;

            (G)  aerobic digestion;

            (H)  nutrient removal systems;

            (I)  tertiary treatment; or

            (J)  chemical clarification;

            (ii)  Class 2--biological treatment plants treating less than 1.0 mgd biological treatment facilities treating 1.0 mgd or less, including, but not limited to, the following:

            (A)  clarification;

            (B)  filtration;

            (C)  constructed wetlands;

            (D)  carbon adsorption;

            (E)  ion exchange;

            (F)  disinfection;

            (G)  trickling filters;

            (H)  bio-disc systems;

            (I)  sequencing batch reactors;

            (J)  biological sand filters;

            (K)  membrane filtration; or

            (L)  advanced on-site treatment and disposal systems described under certification class (e)(ii) requirements;

            (iii)  Class 3--treatment facilities primarily for oil removal industrial treatment facilities, including, but not limited to, the following:

            (A)  oil-water separation;

            (B)  grinding or communitors;

            (C)  land surface disposal;

            (D)  neutralization (pH adjustment);

            (E)  aerated lagoons;

            (F)  on-site septic tank treatment systems with pressure dosed drainfields;

            (G)  siphon dosed drainfields; or

            (H)  elevated sand mounds;

            (iv)  Class 4--ponding facilities for removal of sediment which do not utilize chemical treatment industrial treatment facilities, including, but not limited to, the following:

            (A)  detention ponds;

            (B)  sedimentation ponds;

            (C)  stabilization ponds;

            (D)  lagoons without mechanical mixing or aeration;

            (E)  septic systems treating the discharge from drinking water treatment systems; or

            (F)  on-site treatment using standard septic tanks and gravity drainfields.

            (e)  On-site systems:

            (i)  No class 1;

            (ii)  Class 2--package biological wastewater treatment systems, which are public sewage systems and are regulated with a MGWPCS discharge permit, including, but not limited to, the following:

            (A)  conventional activated sludge;

            (B)  sequencing batch reactor;

            (C)  fixed film; and

            (D)  extended aeration activated sludge systems;

            (iii)  Class 3--treatment systems, which are public sewage systems and are regulated with a MGWPCS discharge permit, including, but not limited to, the following:

            (A)  recirculating media trickling filters;

            (B)  intermittent sand filters;

            (C)  recirculating sand filters;

            (D)  aerobic wastewater treatment units;

            (E)  chemical nutrient reduction systems;

            (F)  alternate advanced treatment systems; and

            (G)  experimental systems;

            (iv)  Class 4--treatment with soil absorption systems, which are public sewage systems and are regulated with a MGWPCS discharge permit, including, but not limited to:

            (A)  standard absorption trenches;

            (B)  shallow capped absorption trenches;

            (C)  deep absorption trenches;

            (D)  sand-lined absorption trenches;

            (E)  gravelless trenches and other absorption methods;

            (F)  elevated sand mounds;

            (G)  evapotranspiration absorption and evapotranspiration systems;

            (H)  subsurface drip;

            (I)  gray water irrigation systems;

            (J)  absorption beds; and

            (K)  experimental systems.

            (2) and (3) remain the same.


            AUTH:  37-42-202, MCA

            IMP:  37-42-104, 37-42-304, 37-42-306, MCA


            REASON:  The proposed amendments to the classifications would clarify the level of certification required for various treatment types.  The proposed amendments are necessary to remove generalizations in the class definitions and to replace them with specific types of treatment.  The proposed amendments will help wastewater treatment systems determine the class of certification that their system requires.

            The proposed addition of (e), which addresses on-site systems, would only apply to wastewater systems meeting the public definition and operating under a MGWPCS discharge permit.  Public systems with a design capacity to discharge 5000 or more gallons per day to ground water must have a MGWPCS discharge permit.  In order to keep the time requirement for full certification under this proposed new rule consistent with the time requirements for other certified wastewater operators, the highest level of certification for the proposed new on-site classification is Class 2.


            17.40.203  CERTIFICATION OF OPERATORS  (1) through (3)(d) remain the same.

            (4)  The department may, upon receipt and approval of a fully completed application and payment of an appropriate fee as determined under ARM 17.40.212, issue a temporary certificate.  The temporary certificate is effective only until the council meeting following the next examination date, unless the holder of the temporary certificate fails to take the examination.  In the latter case, the temporary certificate is effective only until the examination date.  However, if the applicant's employer submits to the department an excuse in writing prior to the examination that provides a credible reason for the absence and the department finds the excuse to be reasonable, the department may extend the effective date of the certificate to the date of the council meeting following the next examination.  A temporary certificate is effective for six months from the date of issuance, or until the operator becomes fully certified, whichever occurs first.  The department may renew a temporary certificate for reasonable cause.  A temporary certificate is valid only for the person to whom it is issued, for the system identified on the certificate, and for the period of time identified on the certificate.  Temporary certificates may not be transferred to another person or system.

            (5) through (11) remain the same.


            AUTH:  37-42-202, MCA

            IMP:  37-42-201, 37-42-301, 37-42-305, 37-42-306, MCA


            REASON:  The proposed amendments clarify where, when, and to whom the certificate applies.  The proposed amendments also remove superfluous and confusing language that refers to the temporary certificate being "effective until the council meeting . . ."  The proposed amendments are necessary because the council is not charged with issuing temporary certificates and the issuance of a temporary certificate is not dependent on the time at which the council meets.


            17.40.206  EXAMINATIONS  (1) through (3) remain the same.

            (4)  Except as provided in (4)(a), aAll classes of examinations will be given by department staff or by a council member at a time and place set by the department.

            (a)  Class 4 and Class 5 water supply system examinations, Class 3 and 4 nonindustrial wastewater treatment examinations, and Class 4 industrial wastewater treatment examinations, may be given by department staff or a council member at a time and place set by the person administering the examination.

            (5) remains the same.

            (6)  Special examinations may be held if the examination date and place regularly set by the council conflicts with special circumstances of the applicant.  To request a special examination, the applicant may petition the department by letter requesting the examination and citing the special circumstances as justification.  If the department allows a special examination, it shall set a time and place that, in its discretion, are appropriate to address the needs of the applicant.

            (7) through (9) remain the same, but are renumbered (6) through (8).


            AUTH:  37-42-202, MCA

            IMP:  37-42-201, 37-42-301, 37-42-305, 37-42-306, MCA


            REASON:  The proposed amendments to ARM 17.40.206 would remove restrictions as to the time and place where certification testing may be held and to renumber as appropriate.  The proposed amendments are necessary to allow the department to serve the regulated public better by offering all examinations at any reasonable time and place.


            17.40.208  CERTIFIED OPERATOR IN CHARGE OF SYSTEM;-- EXCEPTIONS  (1) through (3)(b)(iv) remain the same.

            (4)  An industrial wastewater treatment system that discharges to municipal facilities or removes sediment without a surface water discharge does not need a certified operator.


            AUTH:  37-42-202, MCA

            IMP:  37-42-104, 37-42-302, 37-42-305, MCA


            REASON:  The proposed amendment would delete the exemption that currently allows industrial wastewater treatment systems that discharge to municipal facilities or that remove sediment without a surface water discharge to be operated without a certified operator.  The proposed amendment is necessary because reductions in the maximum limits allowed under a discharge permit could create a municipal facility's treatment system to fail if the industrial wastewater treatment systems are improperly managed.  A certified operator will ensure that the industrial wastewater treatment systems, or those systems discharging to ground water under a MGWPCS discharge permit, are in conformance with any limits or conditions required.


            4.  Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments, either orally or in writing, at the hearing.  Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to Elois Johnson, Paralegal, Department of Environmental Quality, 1520 E. Sixth Avenue, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, Montana 59620-0901; faxed to (406) 444-4386; or e-mailed to ejohnson@mt.gov, no later than 5:00 p.m., March 8, 2012.  To be guaranteed consideration, mailed comments must be postmarked on or before that date.


            5.  Carol Schmidt, attorney, has been designated to preside over and conduct the hearing.


            6.  The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency.  Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies that the person wishes to receive notices regarding: air quality; hazardous waste/waste oil; asbestos control; water/wastewater treatment plant operator certification; solid waste; junk vehicles; infectious waste; public water supplies; public sewage systems regulation; hard rock (metal) mine reclamation; major facility siting; opencut mine reclamation; strip mine reclamation; subdivisions; renewable energy grants/loans; wastewater treatment or safe drinking water revolving grants and loans; water quality; CECRA; underground/above ground storage tanks; MEPA; or general procedural rules other than MEPA.  Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request.  Such written request may be mailed or delivered to Elois Johnson, Paralegal, Department of Environmental Quality, 1520 E. Sixth Ave., P.O. Box 200901, Helena, Montana 59620-0901; faxed to (406) 444-4386; e-mailed to ejohnson@mt.gov; or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.


            7.  The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.


Reviewed by:                                                DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL





/s/ James M. Madden                          BY:  /s/ Richard H. Opper                                   

JAMES M. MADDEN                                   RICHARD H. OPPER, Director

Rule Reviewer


Certified to the Secretary of State, January 30, 2012.


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