Meet Instructor Larry Cook

Larry Cook, Contract  Environmental Education Trainer at OETC

Q: What training do you teach?

A: Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Water Operator Certification Courses Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality Wastewater Operator Certification Courses

Q: Why would someone be interested in training at OETC?

A: OETC is a state-of-the-art facility that caters to professional adults. The OETC offers training in a multitude of different fields and professional capacities. Students who attend training at the OETC can expect a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The courses offered are taught by local professional that actually currently work or have previously worked in the field in which they are teaching. The OETC instructors teach from personal experience and not just from a textbook. All course materials are current and updated as new information comes available.

Q: What can someone expect while taking the training?

A: Students can expect to be taught by the highest quality instructors in the area. Most of the instructors have at least 10 years of actual hands on experience in the water and wastewater fields which vastly compliments their textbook knowledge. These same instructors have the unique ability to relate the course material to their own personal experience and actually give the students a good mental picture of what they are learning.

Q: What are the benefits of this training?

A: Once the student successfully completes their training, they are qualified to sit for examination through the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Once the student passes the ODEQ examination they will be certified to work in either the water or wastewater industry. The benefits to this certification are endless.

A student will be hard pressed to find a more stable professional field than the water and wastewater industry. Here is why. Water is the one commodity that mankind cannot live without and cannot be replaced by a man-made product. Everyone needs water for hydration, irrigation, production, etc. As long as we continue to use water we’ll have to continue to clean it prior to returning it to nature. Absolutely everything that occurs in life requires the use of water in one facet or another.


DEQ Interactive TV No Longer Offered

Online Classes Now Available 

The DEQ Interactive TV is no longer available. It has been replaced by the following online classes. You just need a computer with Internet access and Microsoft PowerPoint. To enroll in an online class, call (405) 733-7488.

Two classes available online; one on wastewater system operation and the other covers basic bio-monitoring. Currently, there is no charge for online renewal classes. OETC also has the following renewal classes if you don’t have computer access. Call (405) 733-7488 to sign up for any class. There will be morning and afternoon classes for each class. When you call, please specify which class you want. There is currently no charge for these classes.

  • March 30: OSHA Safety for Operators, OKC Zoo, Zoo Training Building
  • April 20: Water Well Operations. Okmulgee at the main Fire Station
  • April 24: Collection System Cleaning & Safety, Rose State College, Midwest City
  • May 14: Subject TBD, OKC Zoo, Zoo Training Building
  • May 29: Subject TBD, Rose State College, Midwest City
  • June 11:  Subject TBD, Rose State College, Midwest City
  • June 25: Collection System Cleaning & Safety, Rose State College, Midwest City

OSHA Confined Spaces

Requirements for employees and employers

By Bill Clark

What is the definition of a confined space? According to OSHA, a confined space is defined as an area large enough for entry with a limited ability to enter and exit and is not intended for continuous occupancy. If you have to duck, crawl, climb or squeeze into the space then it is more than likely a confined space. That means a water and wastewater systems has numerous confined spaces.

If a confined space, as identified above, has any one of following hazards then it is a permit-required confined space; oxygen deficiency, the potential for buildup of toxic or explosive gases, engulfment and chemical hazards.

Photo courtesy of

Employers are required by OSHA to evaluate all work places and identify all permit required confined spaces. Employers are required to provide training to all employees who enter permit-required confined spaces.

Examples of permit-required confined spaces are: wastewater lift stations, manholes, wastewater collection systems, meter pits, valve pits, storage tanks and chemical feed systems that are underground.

According to OSHA you must monitor the atmosphere in a permit required confined space with calibrated gas detectors continuously.


For more information on job responsibilities and other OSHA confined space requirements, go to OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.146 or your DEQ water or wastewater study guide.

Some gases in confined spaces that can kill you are odorless and colorless. Think and test the air before entering a confined space. Remember your confined space training ‑ use the buddy system.