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Free online courses on water quality for water and wastewater system operators now available

11/08/21 by madison
These courses are intended primarily for operators of small water and wastewater systems. However, information on basic water quality, surface water and groundwater systems, and wastewater systems can benefit a wide variety of professionals, such as local and state level policymakers and planners, educators, construction managers, landowners, natural resource managers, real estate professionals and others. Photo by Kelly Gorham.

Academic Technology and Outreach at Montana State University and the Montana University System Water Center will offer a series of four noncredit courses that provide water quality training and continuing education opportunities for water and wastewater system operators. Registration is now open for these fully online, free courses, which are self-paced and can be accessed at any time.

These courses are intended primarily for operators of small water and wastewater systems. However, information on basic water quality, surface water and groundwater systems, and wastewater systems can benefit a wide variety of professionals, such as local and state level policymakers and planners, educators, construction managers, landowners, natural resource managers, real estate professionals and others.

Water Quality Basics” takes water system personnel and regulators on a virtual expedition through water quality issues, including primers on the hydrologic cycle and determinants of water quality. The course includes sections on issues such as fate and transport analysis, iron and manganese, hard water, fire in the watershed, animal feeding operations, nutrients, wastewater treatment, and emerging contaminants. This course contains one hour of reading content and 1 1/2 hours of video content for a total of 2 1/2 hours.

Operator Basics: Ground Water Systems” is focused on basic hydrology, water quality and issues related to groundwater-dependent community systems. This course contains 5 1/2 hours of reading and 5 1/2 hours of video for a total of 11 hours.

Operator Basics: Surface and Ground Water Systems” is focused on basic hydrology, water quality and issues related to surface and groundwater-dependent community systems. This course contains 6 1/2 hours of reading and 6 1/2 hours of video for a total of 13 hours. 

Operator Basics: Wastewater and Lagoon Systems” is focused on collection systems, treatment options, operations and maintenance, monitoring and reporting, and troubleshooting common problems in community wastewater lagoon systems. This course contains just over four hours of reading and just under five hours of video for a total of about nine hours.

Each course contains a 50-question final quiz. All content must be viewed, and a score of 70% or higher is required to successfully complete each course, receive a certificate of completion and a digital badge. More information on digital badges can be found at ato.montana.edu/badges/.

The courses are available free of charge thanks to funding from Montana NSF EPSCoR and are included as part of CREWS University (“CREWS-U”). CREWS-U is a resource for Montana professionals ranging from land resources managers and wastewater operators to K-12 teachers and informal educators who wish to obtain professional development and resources that relate to the research findings and broad concepts of the Montana NSF EPSCoR Track-1 project. Participants can earn a digital badge for each course and a water basics mastery badge if all four courses are completed.

For more information or to register, please visit ato.montana.edu/water/ or contact Academic Technology and Outreach at 406-994-6550 or ato@montana.edu.  

Academic Technology and Outreach at MSU works across the university to support and advance its land-grant mission through unique and innovative opportunities for online learning; continuing, professional and lifelong learning; and outreach and engagement.

Contact: Academic Technology and Outreach, 406-994-6550 or ato@montana.edu