After COVID-19 halted the ability of Yukon University students to visit local water treatment plants for on-site training, new funding has allowed the school to acquire a mobile water treatment trailer for hands-on operator learning.
Funded through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and BI Pure Water, the new mobile lab allows students to learn water treatment through troubleshooting, completing daily checks, calibrating analyzers, interacting with automation systems, and adjusting chemical dosage.
“The winterized mobile water treatment plant allows us to offer our existing courses in an experiential way to communities and First Nations that need certified operators, and we are grateful that CanNor helped make this a reality,” announced Yukon University President Dr. Lesley Brown, in a statement.
The three-week long course begins February 21 in Whitehorse to help students achieve the 50 hours of hands-on experience required to take the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) certification exam for small water systems, as required under Yukon Government regulation.
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The first week of the course consists of Water Treatment Level 1 and 2 learning in the classroom before students move to the small water systems mobile lab for the last two weeks.
“Workers in this field carry a lot of responsibility and the systems they operate can be complex,” announced Alison Anderson, coordinator of the Yukon Water and Wastewater Operator program. “Now our students can gain skills and confidence as they operate and maintain an industry standard water treatment plant in a low risk setting with the guidance of our experienced instructors,” she added in a statement from the university.
Anderson said that the mobile drinking water treatment plant allows students to do everything they would in a normal water treatment plant, such as using backwash media filters, changing cartridge filters, maintaining UV reactors, operating pumps, and troubleshooting alarms.
After the program, students will be capable of performing and recording water quality sampling and analysis, as well as executing and recording common water system maintenance tasks.
Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, said that the CanNor funding for the mobile lab consists of $99,000 over one year through the Regional Recovery and Revitalization Fund.
Yukon University has 13 campuses located on the traditional territories of 14 Yukon First Nations.