Category Archives: PWO


Operations Study Session Program

When: Saturdays, 8AM-10:30AM.
See HWEA Schedule for any changes. No class Saturday June 27th 2015.
Where: Sand Island Upstairs Large Conference Room
Who Should Attend: Operators or anyone who require CEUs and would like to learn!
Continuing Education Unit Information: 0.1 CEUs per Class




A volunteer based program to develop the critical thinking skills and the ability to learn within wastewater operators in order to work through written problems and absorb knowledge logically.


Main Objectives:

  1. Have operators learn the basics of math, physics, chemistry and microbiology
  2. Have operators learn to think and work through word and logic problems
  3. Integrate engineers and operators in a comfortable and casual environment where they will be able to collaborate and learn from one another.

Secondary Objectives:

  1. Focus on passing the Operators Licensing Exam I-II
  2. Develop stronger engineer and operator relationships
  3. Minimal amount of CEU credits to promote self-study, requesting 0.1 CEUs per 2-4 hour session, dependent on course work.

Future Objectives

  1. Operator Licensing Exams 2-4
  2. Additional Classes
  3. A slow introduction and testing ground for a full-fledged bootcamp program


Passing rates for the Operator Licensing Exam is devastating low in the state of Hawaii. Between 2007 and 2012, an average of 55%, 42%, 29%, and 15% passing for Grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Failure to obtain licensure within 2 years from being hired results in termination (Young & Babcock Jr., 2013). About half of the work force is gone and 2 years of training money has now been lost. Out of 117 examinees in 2014, 27 of the operators passed the exam, for an overall passing rate of 23%.The certification requirements are only rising as time goes on, with the complexity of wastewater systems increasing as technology develops. Along with low passing rates, the workforce is getting older. In a survey done in 2012, the average age of operators was approximately 50.5 years with an average retirement age of 64. 72% of surveyed operators expect to retire within the next 15 years.



A three month volunteer based program beginning in June 2015. Every Saturday morning between 9AM-11AM, basic math, physics, chemistry and microbiology are discussed at the Sand Island Training Center or Conference Room. These classes/study sessions are free for attendees and will help them develop a method of thinking in order to think though exam problems. Wastewater related sample exam problems will be used in class, as well as given as take home problems for discussion the next week.

We will the use of webinars from WEF, and WEF’s knowledge center. WEF is preapproved for 13 courses in 13 states for the courses below:

  • Purpose & Fundamentals of WW Treatmentis approved for 1.3 Contact Hour.
  • Primary Treatmentis approved for 2.3 Contact Hours.
  • Fixed Film Systemsis approved for 1.1 Contact Hour.
  • Natural Treatment Systemsis approved for 2.6 Contact Hours.
  • Solids Handlingis approved for 5.2 Contact Hours.
  • Activated Sludgeis approved for 5.7 Contact Hours.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Hydraulics:  The Fundamentalsis approved for 2 Contact Hours.
  • Another 100-Year Stormis approved for 2 Contact Hours.
  • Collection System Evaluation, Rehabilitation, and Performance Assessmentis approved for 2 Contact Hours.
  • Sewer Cleaning and Managing Grease Blockagesis approved for 1.5 Contact Hours.
  • Modeling 101:  How to Use Simulators in the Designis approved for 1.5 Contact Hours

Total Contact Hours: 27.2 Contact Hours

Other Courses include:

  • Basic Wastewater Treatment Series Course Bundle Suggested 4 Contact Hours
  • Fundamentals of Disinfection Suggested 3 Contact Hours
  • Fundamentals of Preliminary Treatment Suggested 3 Contact Hours
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Hydraulics – The Fundamentals Suggested 2 Contact Hours

Total Contact Hours: 12 Contact Hours

Note that if the individual or Board of Certification requires WEF sponsored CEUs, each individual must pay the $895 for the Wastewater Treatment Subscription through WEF.

Other courses to consider include free webcasts which cover topics from biosolids, nutrients, utility management and wastewater treatment.

Verification of Attendance:

Each Operator or Operator in Training must sign in and out of the class verifying their attendance. The Hawaii Water Environment Association (HWEA) shall have an officer-in-charge to also verify attendance. Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits for this specific program shall be tracked by the HWEA officer-in-charge, and certificates shall be given/mailed per completion of a course. If a webinar is missed within that course, it must be made up on the Operator’s own time during another study session or scheduled with the officer-in-charge.


Emily Dong, P.E.
(808) 768-8752
Hawaii Water Environment Association – President
City & County of Honolulu – Civil/Environmental Engineer

History of the PWO Softball Tournament


During August of 1985 when the former City & County of Honolulu Wastewater Treatment & Disposal Branch’s Softball League concluded, we celebrated the end of the league’s season as well as a farewell for Eassie Miller, who was transferring to Maui County for employment. Ray Sugita’s last assignment for Eassie was for him to form a softball league on Maui.  This would facilitate a Wastewater Softball Tournament that could rotate from one island to another on a yearly basis.

Eassie was not able to form a softball league; however, he was able to gather enough players to have a team represent Maui and they hosted the first Inter-Island Wastewater Softball Tournament in 1986. The word also got out to Kauai County, so they rounded up a team to represent Kauai in the inaugural tournament. Kauai then hosted the second Inter-Island Wastewater Softball Tournament in 1987.

Word also went out to various engineering firms, in the hopes that a team of engineers (whether private or from the various counties) could be represented in the annual inter-island wastewater competition. Unfortunately, only one engineer in the entire State of Hawai‘i got the word and he ended up playing on the Kauai team since they had the least amount of players when the first tournament was held. This particular engineer, Vic Moreland, was later grandfathered into the Kauai team as a team of engineers never came about.

When the tournament originally started, it was known as the Inter-Island Wastewater Softball Tournament and was organized by Ray Sugita of the City & County of Honolulu. In 1993, Ray retired from the City, and the tournament continued to function with the Hawai‘i Water Environment Association – Professional Wastewater Operators (HWEA-PWO) as the tournament sponsor.  The PWO Representative was placed in charge of the tournament and the coordinator of the tournament would be a person on whichever island the tournament was being held.

With the exception of one year, the Inter-Island Wastewater Softball Tournament has been an annual event for the last 18 years. O‘ahu teams have won the tournament title 9 times, while Maui teams have taken the title a total of 7 times. Kauai has taken the title once, in 1994.

Below are the all-time tournament results:

Year Host Island Champion
1986 (1st) Maui Maui Turd Busters
1987 (2nd) Kauai Oahu Treatment & Disposal
1988 (3rd) Oahu Oahu Treatment & Disposal
1989 (4th) Maui Oahu Treatment & Disposal
1990 (5th) Kauai Maui Turd Busters
1991 (6th) Hawai Maui Turd Busters
1992 (7th) Oahu Oahu Treatment & Disposal
1993 (8th) Maui Oahu Treatment & Disposal
1994 (9th) Kauai Kauai Nitrifiers
1995 (10th) Hawai Maui Turd Busters
1996 (11th) Oahu Maui Turd Busters
1997 (12th) Maui Oahu Sewercide
1998 (13th) Kauai Oahu Hui O Kukae
1999 (14th) Hawai Oahu Hui O Kukae
2000 Oahu No Tournament Held
2001 (15th) Maui Maui Turd Busters
2002 (16th) Kauai Oahu Sewercide Squad
2003 (17th) Hawai Maui Turd Busters
2004 (18th) Oahu Oahu Sewercide Squad