Adapting to Changes in the Industry

March 1, 2010

Recent revisions to each of the certification programs of EnviroCert International Inc. are designed to reflect the latest industry standards and current government rules and regulations for protecting water from the impacts of sediment and other pollutants. These programs include CPESC (Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control), CPSWQ (Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality), and CESSWI (Certified Erosion, Sediment, and Storm Water Inspector).

“These programs continue to evolve to keep pace with the ever-improving technology and expanding knowledge of how to control erosion and sediment and manage stormwater,” says Jeff Econom. He chairs both the EnivroCert International Inc. Executive Committee, which oversees all three certification programs, and the CPESC Council, which administers the CPESC program. “Whether you’re a current registrant taking a certification review program as refresher training or a candidate preparing for the certification exam, these changes will help ensure that you have the information you need to stay on top of the newest regulations and practices.”

In the case of the CPESC certification, a committee of 12 volunteer CPESC registrants representing a broad range of professional duties has been revising the review course that helps candidates prepare for the written certification exam. Similarly, a group of volunteers representing each of the other two EnviroCert International Inc. certifications has not only been updating its respective review courses but also setting up the way the actual programs are organized and managed.

The administrative procedures have been prompted by the reorganization of the corporate structure of EnviroCert International Inc. two years ago. Originally, the CPESC Council administered all three certification programs. However, the reorganization established each certification program as an independent entity with its own governing council and elected regional representatives under one umbrella corporation, EnviroCert International Inc.

“This allows each program to focus only on the issues pertaining to its particular certification,” explains Jonathan Smith, who chairs the CPSWQ Council. “As a result, last year the newly formed CPSWQ Council began developing administrative protocols and processes necessary for operating a full-fledged autonomous program. These volunteers have been updating standards for the CPSWQ certification and professional development.”

At the same time, about two-dozen CPSWQ registrants and several EnviroCert International Inc. staff members have been revising the CPSWQ certification exam and review course. Those doing this work include the complete 10-member CPSWQ Council, representing each of the program’s regions, and the review course instructors.

“We’re updating these parts of the certification process to reflect changes in the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements, new knowledge about how water pollutants interact with the environment, and improved approaches for managing stormwater,” Smith says. “All areas covered by the review course and exam are being revised, such as rules and regulations, watershed hydrology, impacts of water pollutants, erosion and sediment control measures, methods of removing pollutants, and stormwater management practices for urbanizing areas.

“Over the years, CPSWQ registrants have provided a number of ideas for improving their certification program, and they can expect the CPSWQ Council to request additional feedback in the future. These latest revisions will help ensure that CPSWQ registrants are proficient in the most up-to-date topics in the stormwater-quality profession.”

More Opportunities for Inspectors
The recent revisions in CESSWI certification made by the CESSWI Council expand the program’s scope to include inspection of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4), required by the NPDES municipal stormwater permits as part of post-construction inspections, and industrial site stormwater facilities, in compliance with updated requirements of the multisector industrial stormwater permits. In the past, this program has focused on inspection of erosion and sediment control practices and construction-related stormwater facilities at construction sites. “These changes will certify the training, demonstrated expertise, and experience of the registrant in inspecting land-disturbing activities as well as the maintenance and operational practices of industrial and MS4 stormwater facilities for compliance with national, federal, state, provincial, and local regulations,” says Susan Clarke, chair of the CESSWI Council.

In revising the review course and exam with appropriate new material, the changes in the CESSWI certification add more depth to the qualifications of registrants, offering them a new niche in the market, Clarke notes. “Many MS4s need qualified people to inspect the stormwater systems to make sure they were built correctly and are being operated and maintained correctly,” she says. “Also, a lot of companies need a qualified inspector to meet the requirements of their industrial stormwater permit. What’s more, it gives stormwater inspectors who are not involved with erosion and sediment control at construction sites a way to enhance their professional standing and marketability.”

Even those who earned their CESSWI certification before these newest changes became effective may also inspect MS4 and industrial stormwater facilities, if, as Clarke points out, they are qualified to do so and if they observe the certification’s Code of Conduct and Ethics. In effect, one of the provisions prohibits registrants from inspecting practices outside of their areas of expertise.

“If you already have your CESSWI certification and want to make sure that you are up to speed on MS4 and industrial stormwater requirements, you should take the revised review course to assure you can adequately inspect these facilities, if you feel qualified to do so, without taking the new test,” Clarke says.

For more information contact EnviroCert International Inc. by phone, 828-655-1600, or e-mail, [email protected].