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Qualification of operators of municipal treatment works

Useful information

The Regulation respecting municipal wastewater treatment works has been in force since January 2014. It applies to municipal wastewater treatment works situated south of the 54th degree north latitude and whose average annual flow rate is greater than 10 m3 per day. The regulation contains various obligations, including one concerning the qualification of operators.

A certificate will be required beginning in January 2017

Section 10 of the Regulation specifies that the operation and monitoring of a treatment plant must be carried out by a person who holds a valid qualification certificate in matters of operations of wastewater treatment works. This certificate must correspond to the category of the treatment plant where that person works. This requirement comes into force on January 1, 2017.

The qualification certificate is a document issued by the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity (Emploi-Québec) under the Wastewater Operator Qualification Program. It certifies that the person to whom it was issued has participated in and successfully completed the qualification program corresponding to the treatment plant category indicated on the certificate. The certificate authorizes the holder to carry out, in plants of this category, operation, monitoring and samplings tasks required by the Regulation. The qualification certificate is renewable every five years. Renewal conditions apply.

Measuring the flow rate, which is part of the plant’s monitoring, must also be carried out by a certified person.

Some tasks are not affected

Personnel assigned to operating the sewer system and employees assigned to tasks that do not contribute directly to operating the treatment plant’s liquid processing chain are not affected by this regulatory provision. Therefore, personnel assigned to sludge dehydration at a treatment plant, for example, or personnel assigned solely to equipment maintenance or repair, are not required to hold a qualification certificate.

Three distinct categories of facilities

The three treatment plant categories provided for under the qualification program have been established based on the complexity of operations. Each category contains different qualification requirements and renewal conditions. The three categories are as follows:

  • Category A covers mechanical plants and aerated lagoons with an average flow rate greater than 50,000 m3 per day;
  • Category B covers lagoon type plants with an average flow rate less than 50,000 m3 per day;
  • Category C covers plants that use technology requiring little intervention.

The following table presents a non-exhaustive list of technologies covered by each category:

Wastewater treatment plant category Wastewater treatment technologies included in the category
Category A :
Wastewater treatment by mechanical plant
  • Rotating biological contactors
  • Biofiltration (all types)
  • Bio-fosse MN
  • Biotowers (all types)
  • Activated sludge (all types)
  • Rapid oxidation with polishing
  • Chemical-physical
  • Moving bed biological reactor (all types)
  • Membrane biological reactor (all types).
  • Aerated lagoons with average flow greater than 50,000 m3/d
Category B :
Wastewater treatment by aerated lagoons
  • Aerated lagoons with average flow lower than 50,000 m3/d
  • Non aerated lagoons
Category C :
Wastewater treatment by specific technology
  • BionestConstructed
  • Constructed wetland (all types)
  • Intermittent recirculation filter
  • Peat filter
  • Sub-category (RIT-ISF-ST)
    • Rapid infiltration trench (RIT)
    • Intermittent buried sand filter (ISF)
    • Septic tank (ST)

In category C, each certificate identifies the type of technology used at the plant where the certificate holder may work. RIT, ISF and ST technology is grouped into a single sub-category. Operators who are certified for this sub-category may work with any of these three types of technology. Operators who are certified for another type of category C technology may also work with these three types of technology.

For additional clarification

For more information on the qualification program, contact:

Emploi-Québec
Centre administratif de la qualification professionnelle
1-866-393-0067
Web site

If you have questions concerning the Regulation respecting municipal wastewater treatment works, do not hesitate to contact your MDDELCC regional office.

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