Alabama Onsite Wastewater Training Center
The Alabama Onsite Wastewater Training Center (AOWTC) was established in 1997 because of a growing need for education in the rapidly changing wastewater field. The organization is dedicated to expanding public awareness of water quality issues, with a particular emphasis on wastewater management. The center was established with funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and by donations from the University of West Alabama and other contributors. The center is a member in a partnership that includes many federal, state, and local agencies, including the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Association, the Tombigbee Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board, , the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee, and the Sumter County Soil and Water Conservation District. Continuing education classes are offered at the University campus each year. Online classes are also available.
Wastewater Management: Why?
Traditionally, rural homeowners have used simple wastewater treatment systems consisting of a concrete septic tank and a connected network of perforated pipes, or field lines, buried in the neighboring soil. Sewage generated within the home flows into the septic tank. In the septic tank, solids settle down to the tank bottom, and the wastewater is partially treated by anaerobic microorganisms within the tank. The wastewater, also called effluent, leaves the septic tank and flows into the field lines. As the effluent trickles out of the perforations in the lines, soil borne microorganisms, along with the natural filtering properties of the soil itself, continue the treatment process. By the time the wastewater reenters the groundwater supply, it is relatively free of pollutants. However, many people who live in rural areas cannot utilize a conventional system. Why? Conditions within the soil, such as the presence of thick clays, high seasonal water tables, shallow bedrock, or an overabundance of sand can prevent a conventional system from performing properly. When a septic system fails, disease-causing pathogens, nutrients, and chemicals can contaminate local water supplies. Thus, the use of alternative wastewater treatment methods has become necessary.
To install and demonstrate various advanced wastewater treatment systems.
To provide education regarding installation, cost, maintenance, and suitability of advanced treatment systems to specific site conditions for system designers, installers, and government personnel.
To bring about attitudinal and behavioral changes on the part of local and state policy makers and general public by educating them on the use of advanced treatment systems.
To serve as a regional and international demonstration and educational facility.
In 2000, the state of Alabama passed legislation requiring all onsite professionals to have special licenses before performing work in the field. There are three licensing programs in Alabama for professionals in the onsite industry. The first is the Pumpers Licensing Program, the second is the Septic Tank Manufacturers Program, and the third is the Installers Licensing Program. The Installers Licensing Program is divided into three categories of licensure: the Basic Installers License, the Advanced Level I Installers License, and the Advanced Level II Installers License. The Basic Installers Licensing Class must be completed before an individual can perform any installations of conventional onsite wastewater treatment systems. Basic Installers who have completed the licensing class and passed the Basic Installers Licensing Exam are required to fulfill a minimum two years "time-in-grade" period, and must also meet certain performance-based requirements before applying for the Advanced Level I Installers Class. After having completed the Advanced Level I Class and Exam, Advanced Level I Installers are required to fulfill a minimum two years "time-in-grade" period, and must also meet certain performance-based requirements before applying for the Advanced Level II Installers Class. In the state of Alabama, any onsite system that generates more than 1800 gallons of daily sewage flow must be installed by an Advanced Level II Installer. Advanced Level I Installers that have completed the "time-in-grade" requirements and installed the required Advanced Level I systems may apply for the Advanced Level II Installers Class and Exam.
All individuals seeking licensure in Alabama must complete the appropriate licensing class and then pass the required licensing examination, which is administered by the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board at the end of each class. After becoming licensed, individuals are then required to receive continuing education each year in order to maintain their licenses. For complete information on UWA's continuing education program, call the AOWTC at 205-652-3803.
Getting to the AOW Training Center
The AOW Training Center is located on the University of West Alabama Campus in Livingston, Alabama.
Directions to the AOW Training Center at UWA:
I 20/59: Traveling south on 20/59 from north Alabama, take the Livingston exit, (Exit 17). Take a left at the stop sign and go over the interstate. You will be on AL Hwy 28. Go approximately 1 mile and take a right immediately past the Western Inn Motel (Tres Hermanos Mexican Restaurant is across the street from the motel). You will be on Country Club Drive. Go approximately ¾ of a mile and take the first paved road on the left on to Bartram Street into the Gardens Apartments. There will be a sign for the Training Center at the entrance to the Gardens.You will pass the apartment building on the right. At the top of the hill, the pavement will end and become a slag road. Bear to the right and you will run right into the Training Center.
AL Hwy 28 : Traveling west on Hwy 28 (connecting from U.S. Hwy 80 or U.S. Hwy 43), you will come into Livingston and go straight through two red lights. Continue going straight. You will pass Livingston High School on the right and go through a sharp curve. Keep going straight. You will pass the Livingston Jaycee Park on the left, and then go over the Lake LU dam (the lake will be on the right). You will go through another sharp curve and see the Livingston Country Club on the left. The entrance to the UWA Rodeo Complex will be on the right. Go approximately another ½ mile and take the next right on to Bartram Street into the Gardens Apartments. There will be a sign for the Training Center at the entrance to the Gardens. You will pass the apartment building on the right. At the top of the hill, the pavement will end and become a slag road. Bear to the right and you will run right into the Training Center.
- The Comfort Inn: 205-652-4839
- Days Inn in York, AL: 205-392-9675 (Approximately 10 miles south of Livingston off of I 20/59)