Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: College Diploma (2 Year)
Campus: Kirkland Lake
Program Length: 4 or 6 Semester

Program Codes
T089 – 6 Semesters Compressed with Co-op
View Flow Chart of Courses by Semester for T089
T090 – 4 Semesters Uncompressed (No Co-op)
View Flow Chart of Courses by Semester for T090

Interesting and diverse work where you make an environmental difference, daily!

This program provides the specialized training required to become a licensed drinking water and/or wastewater systems operator under Ontario’s rigorous standards. You’ll train for interesting, good-paying, stable work opportunities that are making a real difference in our environment. This is the fastest path to Ontario licencing qualifications.

It’s a trades-focused, hands-on operator’s line of work – where operators and practical environmental stewardship meet. Students have a choice of studying under the original compressed co-op delivery program or an uncompressed, non-co-op delivery. Both options include a blended program combining on-site and distance learning. Co-op education provides an opportunity to earn while you learn.

Graduates may find employment in municipal water and waste water facilities, environmental departments in mines and other industries, solid waste management facilities, and in government.

Contact Information

Kellie Broderick
Program Assistant, Environmental Technician Program
705-672-3376 ext. 8854
envtech@northern.on.ca

Admission Requirements

Domestic Admission Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Grade 12 English (C, U)
Grade 12 Math (C, U) (MCT4C preferred; MAP4C is accepted with a minimum GPA of 60%)
Or equivalent.

Or mature student status (an applicant who does not have a high school diploma or equivalent, and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program). The grade 12 equivalency can be obtained in different ways (e.g. OSSD, GED or equivalent). Mature students must undergo academic testing prior to admission into a program. Call the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 for details. Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading. The Ministry of the Environment requires all students to have their high school diploma or grade 12 equivalency in order to qualify to write the Operator in Training (OIT) examination. An OIT certificate is needed to work in any Ontario municipal water or waste-water plant.

International Admission Requirements

1. Proof of Senior High School Diploma/Certificate

2. English Proficiency (we will require one of the following):

  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System – minimum overall score of 6.0 must be achieved, with no individual band score under 5.5.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – Computer based overall minimum score of 79.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic 58+.

PLUS Grade 12 (OSSD) equivalent Core Course with 50% in each equivalents for Mathematics (technical)

This is an Ontario college two-year diploma compressed into 3 academic semesters, and 3 co-op placement semesters. A non-co-op diploma is an option but with shorter program completion dates – but can affect immigration visa dates.

Based on International student feedback we are advising International students to choose our uncompressed 4 semester non-co-op program option since it gives greater certainty of being provided with a (minimum) 2 year post-graduate work permit on program completion.

If your country of citizenship has English as its official language, we may accept alternate proof of English Proficiency.

All educational documents must be submitted in English and will be dependent on the country of citizenship.

For more information, please contact admissions@northern.on.ca.

Additional Requirements

A valid Class “G” driver’s license is required by many co-op employers. Employment as a water or wastewater operator entails a physical component including some lifting. Students who are concerned about their ability to meet the physical requirements of their intended career are strongly urged to discuss the matter with the College’s Admissions Office before registering in the program.

Equipment

Students need to purchase two pieces of equipment. These are a requirement for students when working in Ontario drinking water and wastewater plants:

  1. A non-programmable scientific calculator – e.g. Texas Instruments TI30XA Scientific/Statistics (or equivalent. Preferred that students purchase this model for ease of instruction if you do not have one.
  2. Steel toed work boots are a requirement in certain of our program labs – e.g. Pumps and Motors, Millwrighting, and when working with the water treatment plant.

For those students in the co-op version of the program, many employers provide work wear (pants, shirts, hard hats) to students free of charge while they are on co-op. However, steel toed work boots are not supplied. Therefore, the following is a suggested personal equipment list to prepare you for this program:

  • Steel toed work boots (required)
  • Work pants (optional)
  • Work shirts – orange reflective type (optional)
  • Safety goggles (optional)
  • Hard hat (optional)
  • Lab coat (optional)

Industry Regulations and Licensing

Operator-In-Training (OIT) Certificate: This is a “learner’s permit” earned via an exam taken during our program, that is required to work in municipal water or waste-water plants.
The Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) oversees this process, and requires that students must pass an OIT written exam AND provide evidence of equivalent to Ontario Grade 12 education prior to working in these plants. (see further note, below)

Class 1 Operator Licensing: A Class 1 operator licence is the entry-level qualification needed to work as a full-time water and/or waste-water operator in Ontario. We provide students with the theoretical knowledge to write this exam that is set by the MOE’s Water and Wastewater Certification Office (OWWCO). Students must also first obtain a total of 12 months of industry-related work – via placements, summer jobs or after graduation — to be able to write this provincial licensing exam and become a fully Class I licensed operator.

Regulation – Equivalency to Ontario Grade 12
The MOE requires all students to have evidence acceptable to them of their educational equivalence to Ontario high school in order to qualify to write the OIT examination. We encourage International applicants who have a diploma or degree to have this documentation evaluated early in your application process by sending your documentation to the World Education Services (WES) assessment centre.

  • WES (World Education Services): Students that wish to be able to work in municipal plants during summer 2020 are advised to proceed via WES (World Education Services). This is the preferred route for students that want to work in municipal plants in their first summer, helping them progress towards the 12 months of related work experience needed to obtain their Class I operator’s exam.

OR

  • Completing the First Year of the Program at Northern: After students successfully complete all their courses in the first two Academic semesters they will be able to receive a letter from Northern College stating that since they have passed their first year of college they have achieved the equivalence of Ontario Grade 12. With this and their OIT certificate, they will be able to look for work in municipal water or wastewater plants. This does not delay graduation from the program (possibly with a non-co-op diploma), but the timing results in students not being eligible to work in summer 2020 in an Ontario municipal water plant.

International students who don’t have their WES-certified equivalency to Ontario Grade 12 prior to entering the program will not be able to work in Ontario municipal drinking water and wastewater plants in summer after program completion. Students can work in other jobs in Ontario summer after competition of program (and part-time during the academic semester — as per the student study visa rules). Students may find program-related work in non-municipal wastewater treatment plants (various industries, mines etc.) during summer after completion of program. Depending on the nature of this work, it may be able to count towards the year of workplace experience needed to write the Class 1 wastewater licensing exams.

Semester 1 & 2
CM1903 Communications I – Model A

The student will apply the fundamentals of formal oral and written communications for current, practical business and technical communication situations. Specifically, students will be able to identify, correct, describe, demonstrate and/or discuss topics in: Communication Foundations (importance of communications and the communications process and barriers); Grammar Essentials (basic sentence faults such as Sentence Fragments and Run On Sentences); Writing Process (techniques for greater effectiveness); and Business Correspondence (characteristics of well written letters and different letter patterns). In addition, students will demonstrate they can plan, conduct and participate in meetings and prepare for, deliver and explain the parts of effective Oral Presentations.

EV1013 Chemistry and Physics

This is a course in basic chemistry and physics for water and wastewater plant operations. Topics include chemical processes involved in water and wastewater treatment, the physics of water distribution systems and wastewater collection systems, and basic electricity.

EV1053 Basic Math for Systems Operators

Fundamental mathematical skills of an operator/technician, including basic arithmetic, the metric system, unit conversions, mensuration, and basic algebra.

EV2013 Soil and Air Monitoring & Sampling

Basic soil and air sampling, and analytical techniques for waste facility workers. Soil characteristics, soil classification, monitoring and sampling, the composition of our atmosphere, air pollution, and air quality monitoring and sampling.

GN1033 Health and Safety

This course introduces the student to health and safety in their home, in society and within an occupational setting. Students learn about the social and personal benefits of safe work practices and the methods to best prevent accidents or injuries. Students will review the role, right and responsibilities of an individual in today’s health and safety conscious world. Students also learn how to read and interpret the Occupational Act and Regulations.

IN1093 Computer Applications for Business & Technology

Students are introduced to commonly used features of the most widely used microcomputer applications – Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Basic computer skills are required as prerequisites. A series of lectures, projects, and exercises will take advantage of Microsoft Office features. Word’s extensive menu, toolbar, and template features will be used to create various business documents. Project material is developed so that students will apply their software skills to course material throughout their program of studies.

IN4163 Introduction to GIS

Introduction to Geographic Information Systems which involve manipulation of databases to produce a variety of reports and maps.

WM1004 Water Monitoring and Sampling

Basic sampling, lab skills and analytical techniques for water and wastewater plant operators.

WM2023 Intro to Wastewater Collections and Treatment

Introduction to the design and operation of facilities for wastewater treatment and collection.

CM2903 Communications II – Model A

Communications II is a one-semester course which applies the oral and written communication tools learned in the first semester to specific business/technical applications as required by industry today. The student will enhance writing skills acquired in CM1903 and learn to produce effective documents including business letters, memoranda, emails, employment documents as well as reports and problem solving documents as applicable to their field of study. The course presents the theory and practice necessary for the planning and presentation of short informal and formal reports and introduces the dynamics of planning and participating in meeting situations. Students will participate in mock interviews (as applicable), so that they are prepared to sell themselves as they transition into the competitive employment market. Students will continue to review grammatical structures and apply editing strategies to business/technical documents through both in-class activities and the usage of the customized online grammar tool. As with CM1903, the content will be inclusive and reflect the diverse workplace that students will find themselves in in the future.

EV1000 Drinking Water Operations – Self Study

This 40 hours self study is preparation for the classroom component of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) Entry Level Course for Drinking Water Operators, taught as part of EV3005 Certification Preparation.

EV2004 Plant Operations II

Operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities preparing for successful completion of the Class I Operator Examination.

EV2053 Problem Solving in Water and Wastewater Treatment

Applied mathematics for water and wastewater treatment operators.

EV3005 Certification Exams Preparation

Design and operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities in preparation for the Operator In Training (OIT) Examinations (40 hours), plus a 35 hour course in preparation for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) Entry-Level Course for Drinking Water Operators exam, delivered in partnership with the MOECC and the Walkerton Clean Water Centre.

EV4013 Pumps and Motors

The use of pumps and motors in water and wastewater plants; their choice for a given application, installation, use and maintenance.

EV4016 Instrumentation and Process Control

An introduction to industry instrumentation; basic electricity and motor control relays, starters, switches, breakers, overloads, float controls, instrument recorders, process loops, and the fundamentals of PLCs. Process control including measurement and control systems, process parameters, safety, and the operation and maintenance of this equipment.

EV4032 Chlorine Maintenance

The use of chlorine as a disinfectant including handling, operation of chlorinators, confined space rules and procedures, and SCBA.

GN2013 Co-op Studies

This course is intended to raise the awareness of the importance of experiential learning through the co-operative education process. The student is encouraged to actively identify and discuss the merits of a three-way partnership between the college, the employer, and the student. Various skills are introduced to help the student prepare himself/herself using self-assessment, career planning, and job search tools.

EV4022 Laboratory Procedures

Plant operator’s laboratory responsibilities including lab techniques, safety and hygiene, regulations, sampling, quality control, record keeping, and the interpretation of laboratory results.

WM4002 Waste Characteristics

The activated sludge treatment process in depth; types and roles of microorganisms in wastewater treatment.

Semester 3 & 4 (Compressed Co-Op - Semester 5)
Co-Op Work Term (T089)

During the Summer / Fall semesters of the program, students will complete three co-op work placements totally 1170 hours.

Fall intake students will complete Work Term 1 and 2 after second semester of studies and Work Term 3 in the summer after the last semester.

Winter intake students will complete Work Term 1 after the first semester of studies and Work Term 2 and 3 after the last semester of studies.

EN2010 Co-Op Work Term 1

EN4010 Co-Op Work Term 2

EN6010 Co-Op Work Term 3

For More Information: https://www.northernc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FlowChartCompressed.pdf

 

General Education Elective

General Education Courses are selected online each semester by the student from a list provided and exposes students to a related area of study outside of their immediate academic discipline. Certain programs have predetermined electives. 

EV2004 Plant Operations II

Operation of water and wastewater treatment facilities preparing for successful completion of the Class I Operator Examination.

EV4013 Pumps and Motors

The use of pumps and motors in water and wastewater plants; their choice for a given application, installation, use and maintenance.

EV4016 Instrumentation and Process Control

An introduction to industry instrumentation; basic electricity and motor control relays, starters, switches, breakers, overloads, float controls, instrument recorders, process loops, and the fundamentals of PLCs. Process control including measurement and control systems, process parameters, safety, and the operation and maintenance of this equipment.

EV4023 Statistics for Operations Process Control

Directed lab exercises to reinforce theory concepts in EV4016 Instrumentation and Process Control.

EV4032 Chlorine Maintenance

The use of chlorine as a disinfectant including handling, operation of chlorinators, confined space rules and procedures, and SCBA.

WM4002 Waste Characteristics

The activated sludge treatment process in depth; types and roles of microorganisms in wastewater treatment.

Compressed Co-Op - Semester 3, 4 and 6
Co-Op Work Term (T089)

During the Summer / Fall semesters of the program, students will complete three co-op work placements totally 1170 hours.

Fall intake students will complete Work Term 1 and 2 after second semester of studies and Work Term 3 in the summer after the last semester.

Winter intake students will complete Work Term 1 after the first semester of studies and Work Term 2 and 3 after the last semester of studies.

EN2010 Co-Op Work Term 1

EN4010 Co-Op Work Term 2

EN6010 Co-Op Work Term 3

For More Information: https://www.northernc.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/FlowChartCompressed.pdf

 

Delivery Options

Compressed with Co-op (T089)

Co-operative education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with an academic credit for practical work experience. Our original program co-op delivery option provides students with the fastest path to becoming fully licensed operators in Ontario. Students follow a continuous 6-semester cycle of academic and placement semesters, taking 2 years of continuous study or placements until graduation. This compressed (4 academic semesters into 3) delivery prepares students with a strong combination of theory and the opportunity to obtain up to one year of paid co-op practical systems operator experience. Because it is a compressed delivery, the academic semesters have up to 27-28 hours classes/ week. Northern College will make every effort to assist students in finding co-op employment, but cannot guarantee co-op employment. Students are encouraged to speak with local employers in water and/or wastewater treatment plants about co-op placements prior to starting the program.

Students write the Ontario Operator-In-Training (OIT, a kind of “learner permit”) examination and the Drinking Water Operators Entry-Level Course exam, and through three 4-month-long co-op placement semesters have the opportunity to obtain the year of work experience required to take their full industry certification exams and enter the industry as fully licensed Class I operators. This program is now recognized by OACETT as meeting the requirements for the Certified Technician designation for graduates. This provides a path to earning the C.Tech. credential but please note the program is not nationally accredited by Technology Accreditation Canada (TAC) so some additional steps are required. Please contact us for further clarification.

Uncompressed No Co-Op (T090)

This delivery option paces the 1170 hours of courses more evenly across 4 regular fall and winter academic semesters. It is a recommended path for International students for greater certainty of obtaining a minimum 2-year post-graduate work visa permit after graduation, or for students that prefer a workload with lighter weekly hours of study. Students may be able to find industry-related work in the summers but still will require acceptable proof of Ontario Grade 12 equivalency as a prerequisite to writing their Operator in Training (OIT) exam. An OIT certificate is needed to work in Ontario municipal plants.

This program delivery option provides the same 1170 hours of course instruction as the compressed 3 academic semester co-op program. However, the weekly hours of instruction are lighter given the courses are spread over 4 instead of 3 academic semesters.

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