Operators of small water systems benefit from mobile TEEX training

4/2/2004 12:00 AM

For the next six months, water utility workers in 10 designated cities will have a chance to receive low-cost, state-of-the-art training in water and wastewater management through a Water Utility Outreach Program provided by TEEX’s Engineering, Utilities and Public Works Training Institute (EUPWTI).

“In Texas there are more than 4,500 water systems that serve populations of less than 3,330 people, and the majority are located in less populated areas of the state that usually lie west of Interstate 35,” said Richard Harbuck, program coordinator with EUPWTI. “This new program, which is funded by general revenue allocations, is designed to provide job skills and training to the operators and employees of water systems in those sparsely populated areas.”

Because it is sometimes difficult for operators to attend training, due to the lack of funds and/or an available course within traveling distance, EUPWTI is bringing the program to the following cities: Alpine, Cotulla, Dalhart, Ozona, Paducah, Pampa, Seminole, Uvalde, Van Horn and Zapata. Eligible employees must work at a public water system located in the same county or in an adjacent county.

“We want to provide these students with state-of-the-art training and give them the opportunity to practically apply what they learned in the classroom using the mobile training trailers,” said Paul Muraca, program manager for EUPWTI. “The job skills which operators at these small systems often lack include performing tasks such as laboratory analysis and equipment maintenance repair on pumps, motors, valves and hydrants.”

The program consists of three courses: “Intermediate Water Laboratory,” “Valve and Hydrant Maintenance” and “Pump and Motor Maintenance.” Each course has a mobile training trailer that allows attendees to get hands-on experience.

“Through this program we would like to develop a skilled and trained water utility workforce that enhances public health and safety,” Harbuck said.

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Kathy Fraser

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