Pete McNeely, operator at Western Carolina University’s water treatment plant, has earned “A” Surface Water Certification from the state.
“It can take roughly two-and-a-half to three years to obtain an ‘A’ Surface Certification with the state of North Carolina when starting out as a trainee,” said Kristy Maddy, plant supervisor “It is the highest surface water certification obtainable in the state. To obtain it means you have acquired all the knowledge needed to operate any surface water treatment plant and that you could be the operator in responsible charge (supervisor) of any surface water treatment plant in North Carolina.”
A “C” Surface Certification is required to operate any surface water treatment plant in the state without another certified operator present, Maddy added. “To earn a ‘C’ Surface Certification, an employee would train on the job for six months, attend an approved school and pass a ‘C’ Surface Certification Exam. Then, while continuing to work full time as an operator for a year after obtaining a C Surface Certification, an operator would work towards earning a ‘B’ Surface Certification by attending an approved school for it and passing the ‘B’ Surface exam. Then, while working full time as an operator for a year after obtaining a ‘B’ Surface Certification, an operator can work towards the ‘A’ Surface Certification by attending an approved school for it and passing the ‘A’ Surface exam.”
All four WCU water treatment plant operators, including Maddy, now have earned their “A” Surface Water Certification. McNeely has worked at the plant for four years.
“We are all proud of Pete as it is a wonderful accomplishment,” she said. “But I am equally proud of us all and the fact that we all obtained them after becoming employed at the water plant.
“An ‘A’ Surface Certification is not required to work at the WCU water plant,” Maddy said. “We all just took the initiative to better ourselves by achieving it.”