Important Circuit Rider Information
The Water and Wastewater Systems Operators’ Certification Act (“Act”), 63 P.S. §1001 - §1015.1 and regulations promulgated thereto at 25 Pa. Code Chapter 302, mandate that each regulated facility have an appropriately certified operator to make process control decisions. The owner is required to report to the Department the name(s) of these available operator(s), including the operator(s)-in-responsible-charge should the owner decide to use standard operating procedures (SOPs) to facilitate compliance with the Act.
Employing a circuit rider is another option that allows many of the smaller water and wastewater systems to meet the requirements of the Act without the cost of a full-time employee. A circuit rider is defined as “a management program in which a certified operator may make process control decisions at more than one system of different ownership.”
Program regulations at 25 Pa. Code §302.1207(e) and (f) require the circuit rider to develop and submit a general work plan and a system specific management plan that cover each system the circuit rider is responsible for operating.
In the work plan, circuit riders should outline their company particulars such as name and location of the circuit riders primary business, name and location of each system along with the classification and subclassification of each system, and the number of estimated hours per week the circuit rider works at each system (time physically present at a system; not including travel time), with the method of documentation to be used for each visit.
The system/facility specific management plan includes SOPs for the system to ensure that the circuit rider is knowledgeable of the actual operations, system personnel understand what needs to be done when the circuit rider is not on-site and that test reports and results are representative of the actual system operational conditions.
Essentially, the work and management plans specify the management methods employed by the circuit rider and operational specifics of the facilities under the umbrella of the circuit rider. It’s a road map that leads to a clearly defined system/facilities operations strategy and guarantees that operations comply with regulatory requirements.
A circuit rider may be in-responsible-charge of more than one water or wastewater system if the following conditions are met:
- The circuit rider has a certificate of a class at least equal to or higher than the class and all the treatment sub-classifications of each facility the circuit rider is responsible for operating.
- The circuit rider is able to provide adequate supervision to all units involved.
- A General Work Plan and System Specific Management Plan or contract conforming to the requirements in 25 Pa. Code §302.1207(e) and (f) signed by the circuit rider are submitted to the owner or governing body of each system to be under the responsible charge of the circuit rider.
- SOPs are in place for every system under the responsible charge of the circuit rider.
- The circuit rider agrees to be present for sanitary surveys and inspections conducted by Department staff when provided at least 24 hours’ notice of the survey or inspection.
As applied to the Operator Certification Program, “adequate supervision” means that sufficient time is spent at a water or wastewater system on a regular basis to ensure that the circuit rider, as the certified operator-in-responsible-charge, is knowledgeable of the actual operations and that test reports and results are representative of the actual operational conditions.
A “daily visit” is the time that a circuit rider, as the operator-in-responsible-charge, is present physically on-site at the facility during a twenty four (24) hour period. A circuit rider will be credited for no more than one (1) daily visit per facility within a twenty four (24) hour period.
Circuit Rider Plan Templates
DEP has developed the following templates that may be used by circuit riders to prepare the General Work Plan and System Specific Management Plans for the systems they operate. Circuit Riders are encouraged to download and use the templates to complete the Plans.