If you are a NJPDES permittee or own a water system, your facility must have an Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Manual. The questions each facility must answer include: do your licensed operators know where the O&M Manual is, do they use it, and is it up to date? Under proposed rules, the Department is establishing more requirements for NJPDES permittees and the licensed operators to ensure that facility O&M Manuals are updated within 30 days of a substantial change in treatment works design, construction, operations, or maintenance that changes the treatment works operations and maintenance procedures. In addition, the DEP wants to ensure that adequate preventative maintenance is performed.

The Department is proposing to amend the Licensing of Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Operators Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:10A-1 et seq. and a provision of the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:14A-6.12, in order to promote updated O&M plans and to ensure that a preventative maintenance plan is prepared that is consistent with the O&M plans. Additional minimum O&M requirements also have been proposed to address monitoring system process controls, emergency contact numbers, scheduled meter readings, sampling, etc., and the equipment inventory necessary to operate and maintain the system. The proposed operator rules:

  •  significantly increase record-keeping requirements;
  •  mandate the type of continuing operator training courses required in order to keep current on technical issues;
  •  clarify that operators may be required at industrial facilities with industryspecific stormwater permits;
  •  increase license fees; and
  • call for closer scrutiny if an operator of a very small water system wants to operate more than 10 facilities.

In part, these rules also are proposed in order for the DEP to maintain federal funding related to the operation of community and nontransient noncommunity public water systems. The O&M Manual requirements are found in the federal regulations at 40 C.F.R. §§ 122.41(e) and 144.51(e), and are consistent with USEPA Guidance “Water System Operator Roles and Responsibilities: A Best Practice Guide” (September 2006).