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TOWA Insider

The Official Texas On-Site Wastewater Association Publication

Volume 13 - Number 3 - 3rd Issue 2006 President's Message

With increasing frequency, people are asking how to use NSF-listed home plants for office, restaurant, or other nonresidential applications. Based on the last several years of experience, I now have come to the opinion that at no time should any NSF-listed home plant be used on anything other than residential strength wastewater. There are two basic reasons for this opinion. The first reason is that nonresidential applications usually generate wastewater of higher strength and higher solids content than residential wastewater. The treatment capacity of these home plants is insufficient to handle higher strength wastewater. Further, the pretreatment and treatment capacity of these home plants is not intended to handle the higher solids content. The second reason is that many nonresidential applications have other wastewater strength parameters that are also outside the treatment capacities of these home plants. Restaurants, for example, have high fats, oils and grease (FOG) content, high levels of undigested foods, high levels of toxic products, as well as often having high temperature wastewater. I don't believe that any home plant is intended to treat this type of wastewater. It is my opinion that the only way a home plant can be used correctly on a nonresidential strength wastewater application is if the wastewater is first pretreated by a product or process specifically designed for the high strength constituent. If the wastewater is pretreated

In This Issue:

Jeff Snowden-Austin, TX

NSF Listed Treatment Units, ONLY for Residential!

to reduce the strength to a residential strength, then, and only then, can a home be used correctly. The following is a listing of quotes that seem to support our opinion for only using home plants for residential applications. NSF Standard 40: Residential Wastewater Treatment Systems 1.1 Purpose: The purpose of this Standard is to establish minimum materials, design and construction, and performance requirements for residential wastewater treatment systems. 1.2 Scope: This standard contains minimum requirements for residential wastewater treatment systems having simple, defined discharge points and rated treatment capacities between 1514 L/day (400 gal/day) and 5678 L/ day (1500 gal/day). 3.6 Residential Wastewater: Human body waste and liquid waste generated by the occupants of an individual residence." 3.7 Residential Wastewater Treatment System: An organized and coordinated system of components that functions to treat wastewater generated by individual residences. 30TAC285: Since the promulgation of these rules in February 1997, Table III has stated, "Commercial / institutional facilities (continued on page 3)

President's Message.............. 1 TOWA Board of Directors....... 3 2006 Corporate Partners........ 5 Executive Director's Report.... 5 Legal Counsel Update............ 7 TOWA Calendar of Events..... 9 Local Chapter Contacts.......... 9 Fall Superconference Recap..11 Board Nominations Form....... 13 High Strength Designs........... 15 New TOWA Staff.................... 15 TOWA-PAC Form...................19 Basic Maintenance Courses.. 19 Annual Waco Exhibit Info....... 21 Basic ATU Requirements....... 23 512-494-1125

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TOWA Insider





President: Jeff Snowden Snowden On-Site, Inc. 10908 Ranch Road 2222 Austin, TX 78730 512-338-1804 phone/512-338-4475 fax [email protected] Secretary: John D. Redfern Tyler Products & Sales 10383 Spur 164 Tyler, TX 75709 903-593-8633 phone/903-593-8862 fax [email protected] Treasurer: Wayne Peyton Clearstream Wastewater Systems, Inc. PO Box 7568 Beaumont, TX 77726 409-755-1500 phone/409-755-6500 fax [email protected] Immediate Past President/ President Elect: Ron Suchecki Hoot Aerobic Systems, Inc. 1237 Autumn Oak Circle China Spring, TX 76633 254-299-0821 phone/254-299-0822 fax [email protected] Directors at Large: Rick Ashley - Lake Dallas Bret Brown - Marion Kenneth Davis - College Station William H. Hudspeth - Tomball George Johnson - Downsville, LA Bruce Lesikar - College Station Gerald Snyder - Waco Tim Snyder - Baytown Harold Stubblefield - San Angelo Tim N. Taylor - Nacogdoches George Witta - Elgin

TOWA Insider

The Official Texas On-Site Wastewater Association Publication

Volume 13 - Number 3 - 3rd Issue 2006

President's Message (continued from cover)

must pretreat their wastewater to 140 BOD5."

Jeff Snowden

NSF Listed Treatment Units, ONLY for Residential!

TOWA High Strength Workshop: "Home plant ATU's are not designed for high strength, and should not be used for high strength wastewater." "Wastewater is considered high strength if it possesses anything outside the parameters of residential strength wastewater", which is considered to be: BOD < 300 (many say 200) mg/l FOG < no visible film TSS < 300 (many say 200) mg/l pH 6.5-8.0 My recommended solution is as follows: 1. Immediately stop using inappropriate treatment products. NSF-listed units are only for residential strength wastewater applications. a. Use a high-strength treatment product or process to pretreat the wastewater, bringing the wastewater strength down to residential strength. Then, and only then, can you use 30TAC285 for the design of the balance of the OSSF. 2. For all non-residential strength applications, use the design approach presented by TOWA's high strength wastewater workshop. a. Quantify Q by determining maximum flow, minimum flow, and average flow ­ hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, even annually (schools). b. Quantify influent wastewater strength parameters i. BOD, CBOD ii. TSS iii. pH iv. FOG v. Temperature c. Determine effluent wastewater strength parameters d. Select a treatment and disposal process appropriate for the above conditions and for the site-specific conditions. 3. The Designer must state in writing the assumed influent Q, BOD/CBOD, TSS, pH, FOG, Temperature, and any other criteria, such as nutrients, if applicable, and must state, in writing, the effluent values that the design is intended to achieve. 4. The Regulatory Agency must condition the permit on achieving the effluent values required by the rules or permit. For restaurants, the renewal of the food license should be conditioned on continual compliance with the OSSF permit.

Texas On-Site Wastewater Association 918 Congress Avenue, Suite 200 Austin, TX 78701 512-494-1125 phone/512-494-1129 fax Executive Director: Don Canada [email protected] Association Manager: Krista Richter [email protected] Administrator: Casey Bell [email protected] Legal Counsel: Mark Hanna, JD [email protected] 900 Congress Avenue, Suite 250 Austin, TX 78701 512-477-6200 phone/512-477-1188 fax



TOWA Insider



TOWA Insider


Executive Director's Report

Don Canada

On Friday, October 27, 2006 a meeting was held with Joe Strouse of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to discuss the Basic Maintenance Provider Course (BMP), legislative issues and rules for homeowner training. TOWA Legal Counsel, Mark Hanna, and Board Member, George Witta, were present at the meeting. TCEQ recently sent a 4,100 piece mailer to maintenance providers across the State reminding them of the deadline and requirements to register. TCEQ plans to track maintenance reports and will begin cracking down on non-registered providers beginning December 1. To-date there are over 100 maintenance providers currently maintaining aerobic units without valid registrations.


Special Thanks to our 2006 Corporate Sponsors for their Year-Round Support of On-Site Wastewater in Texas Consolidated Treatment Systems Ecological Tanks: Makers of AquaSafe & AquaAire HOOT Aerobic Systems Infiltrator Systems K-Rain Manufacturing Longhorn, Inc. National Wastewater SystemsSolar Air Tuf-Tite, Inc. Visit them at

Platinum Sponsors: Delta Environmental Products, Inc. Gast Manufacturing HiBlow, USA Norwesco, Inc. Orenco Systems, Inc. Pentair Water (StaRite Industries) Tyler Products Sales, Inc. Gold Sponsors: AquaKlear, Inc. GeoFlow, Inc. Goulds Pumps - ITT Industries Preferred Pump & Equipment Silver Sponsors: Chlorine & Chemical Supply, Co. SJE-Rhombus Controls Bronze Sponsors: Cimarron Marketing Associates RMSYS, Inc. Snowden On-Site, Inc.

Although TOWA has provided the BMP training to over 1,500 providers to-date, the number of non-registered providers could be larger than initially thought. This concern has prompted the need for additional BMP courses to be offered. In response, TOWA will add two more BMP courses between now and the Annual Waco Conference in March. A third BMP course will be held in conjunction with the Annual Waco Conference, March 4-5, 2007. There still is a great deal of confusion regarding the necessary registration requirements for all maintenance providers. Recommendations include clarifying the registration requirements for individuals AND for maintenance companies and better differentiating between the registration steps for each. The BMP course will also reiterate that Class-D Wastewater licenses are being phased out by September 1, 2008. All personnel who maintain ATUs for reporting purposes, all personnel listed in a maintenance contract, and all personnel who sign the reporting form are required to register as maintenance providers with TCEQ. There is no doubt that it is the responsibility of the manufacturer or installer, if requested, to provide homeowner training at the home site. A `Homeowner Maintenance Course Outline' is provided on the TCEQ website at compliance_support/regulatory/ossf/trainingoutline.html#homeowner that details the requirements for homeowner training by a manufacturer. According to this outline, six hours of homeowner training is required. Current TCEQ rules do not require an approved course for homeowner training, nor do they require the approval of installers and manufacturers to provide homeowner training. In regard to TCEQ rules revisions, Chapter 30 is being `cleaned up' and an advisory committee has been formed. Ray Stubblefield is serving on the Chapter 30 Rules Revision Committee, and will represent TOWA in that capacity. Since TOWA represents over half of the installers and maintenance providers in Texas, we have asked to serve as a resource in future matters. Chapter 285 will also undergo similar `cleaning up' and an advisory committee will be developed in the next few months. Since TOWA needs to be pro-active in regard to the Rules process, President Jeff Snowden is developing a TOWA Rules Committee. If you are interested in volunteering for the Rules Committee, please contact TOWA at 512-494-1125.


Call for Nominations

Nominate a Member to Serve on the Board of Directors

A Call for Nominations form can be found on page 13. Fax this form to TOWA at 512-494-1129 to nominate a fellow TOWA Member to serve on the Board of Directors. Please submit all nominations by January 1, 2006.


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TOWA Insider


Legal Counsel Update

Mark J. Hanna, JD Employment Law: Most Frequently Asked Questions

2. Exempt salaried employees (employees paid a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly salary, whose duties qualify them for an overtime exemption): a) If less than a full work week is missed due to jury duty, federal law (the FLSA) would not allow a pro rata docking of the salary for time not worked; the employee would have to receive the agreed-upon salary for the entire work week. Available paid leave may not be used to cover such an absence. b) If a full work week was missed due to jury duty, federal law (the FLSA) would allow a pro rata docking of the salary for time not worked. And, since that would involve a pay deduction, it would need to be authorized by the employee in writing for purposes of the Texas Payday Law. Available paid leave can be applied to the extent provided by the company's own policy. Can you tell me what is considered full-time vs. parttime employment? I had the understanding that the employer defined how many hours applied to each category. Yet, I am faced with a situation in which I have been told that 30 hours or less is defined as part time. If so, defined by whom? In the absence of a written policy, is it 30 hours? There is no federal or state law defining full-time vs. parttime employment. A part-time employee can work however many hours the company determines they should work each week. Most companies define full-time employees as those who are regularly scheduled for a set number of hours each week (40, 37.5, 45, or a similar amount), and part-time status is for anyone who is regularly scheduled to work less than that amount of time each week. I have an employee who just gave us her two weeks notice. What do I do? Can I ask her to leave earlier? If an employee gives you two weeks or less notice of their intent to quit, you can accept their resignation immediately and it remains a voluntary quit. You could reply, "I accept your resignation effective today." You don't have to keep them around for the remainder of the two weeks and/or pay them for those two weeks since they did not work. Once you have accepted their resignation, the Texas Payday Law states that you will need to issue their final paycheck by the following scheduled payday. This will depend on how you pay your employees (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.). HOWEVER, if the employee comes and says they want to quit three months from now, if you let them go at that time, it would be considered a termination. What is the maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount that a highly-compensated person may receive? Surely, there must be a ceiling to unemployment benefits. There is a ceiling. For initial claims filed between October (continued on page 9) TOWA TOWA Insider 7

The Texas Workforce Commission receives thousands of inquiry calls each month regarding a variety of employmentrelated questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked and answered questions that arise as reported by the Employer Commissioner's Office. As an employer, can you tell me what the laws are regarding lunch breaks and regular breaks for employees who work a six- or eight-hour day? Do I have to give employees a lunch break? How many minutes long does it have to be? If not, am I required to give them breaks during their shift? Breaks are a common source of confusion for employers. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to give rest or lunch breaks during the workday; however, if they are given, certain rules apply. Rest or coffee breaks, defined as 20 minutes or less, are compensable hours worked. Meal breaks, on the other hand, are not compensable if they are at least 30 minutes in length and the employee is "completely relieved from duty for the purpose of eating a regular meal." As an employer, do I have to pay for holidays? Under the Texas Payday Law, holiday pay is an optional benefit, on the use of which an employer can impose any conditions it deems appropriate, and it is enforceable only if promised in a written policy or agreement. A written policy is enforced according to its terms, so it is very important to have any written policy state exactly what the employer wants to occur. For example, "an employee who works on a scheduled holiday will be paid for the time worked, but will not receive additional holiday pay for the day. Instead, the employee will receive a day off, which the employee may use in lieu of a vacation day in the future at a time that is mutually convenient for both the company and the employee." It is really up to an employer to design its optional benefit policies any way it sees fit. The main idea is to express the terms of the benefits as clearly as possible, since in the event of a dispute, the written policy will usually control the outcome of the case. Do I have to pay an employee who missed work due to jury duty? That depends on the type of employee we're talking about, 1. Hourly employees: whether the employees are classified as part-time or full-time, the law requires payment only for the time an hourly employee actually works. If an hourly employee is on jury duty, they're not working and are not required to be paid by law. However, time not worked can be covered by available paid leave according to the company's own written policy.



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