OSHA Trenching and Excavation Requirements

Image courtesy of http://www.mo.nrcs. usda.gov.

Safety Information for Water and Wastewater System Operators

By Bill Clark

Trench cave-ins can happen in seconds without warning, with no time to escape in the majority of cases.

Soil is an extremely heavy mate- rial. A cubic yard of soil (3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet), which contains 27 cubic feet of material, may weigh more than 2,700 pounds. That is nearly one and a half tons (the equivalent weight of a car) in a space less than the size of the aver- age office desk.

Furthermore, wet soil, rocky soil or rock is usually heavier. The human body cannot support such heavy loads without being severely injured.

Let’s review OSHA regulations that cover Trenching and Excavation, 29 CFR, 1926.650, 651 and 652.

1. OSHA requirements state that if the trench is 5 feet or more in-depth some type of cave-in protection is absolutely required.

2. A person designated as qualified and competent to rec- ognize and evaluate hazards must be present.

3. If the excavation is 20 feet or more in depth a profes- sional engineer is required to evaluate the soil and determine cave-in protection before any- one enters the excavation, 29 CFR 1926.652 (b)(c).

These rules are there to save your life. Think about your family the next time you’re thinking about jumping into a trench without cave-in protection, even for a few minutes.

No water or wastewater line repair is worth your life.


Disinfectant Byproduct Control Class at Rose State

Are you having Disinfectant Byproduct problems? If so, then you need to attend the Disinfectant Byproduct Control class at Rose State College’s Professional Training Center on May 21.

Call (405) 733-7488 to sign up for this class or for pricing information.

Free Job Vacancy Postings Available from Rose State College Career Services


By Connie Myrick 

Do you need your job openings posted? You can for free with Rose State College Career Services.

Career Services will post job openings to a public job bank, share job openings with current trainees and Rose State College students, and send out emails to past trainees.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get your job notice out to many job seekers at no cost to you.

Call the Career Services Office of Rose State College at (405) 733-7488 or email your job notice tocareercoach@rose.edu for more information.



Tulsa area water and wastewater operator

 D Water and D wastewater classes will be held April 23-26 at Tulsa Community College in Tulsa. To enroll, call (405) 733-7488. 

All operators needing C Water Lab Certification

There will be a class April 30 through May 3 at the Training Center in Midwest City. Space is limited so sign up early. To sign up, call (405) 733-7488.

The 1973 Union City, Oklahoma tornado, shown here, was the first tornado captured by the National Severe Storms Laboratory Doppler radar and chase personnel. The tornado here is in its early stage of formation. Photo courtesy of NOAA.gov.

Severe Weather Information

By Bill Clark

We are getting into the severe weather months. While out working at your water or wastewater treatment system be weather aware. Have a weather radio or stay tuned to your local radio station. Severe storms can pop up quick. Make sure you know where you will take cover when the tornado siren goes off. Make sure all of the operators at your system or in your community know where to go if there is a tornado warning. Make sure you have plenty of flash lights with extra batteries. Be prepared.

Severe Weather Alert Definitions

Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Conditions are prime for the development of severe thunderstorms with large hail, severe lightning and damaging winds.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning – severe thunderstorms have developed in our area and produce large hail, severe lightning and damaging winds in excess of 60 mph.

Tornado Watch – Conditions are present for the development of tornadoes.
Tornado Warning – A tornado has been seen in your city or the National Weather Service has one indicated on their radar.

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