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Monday, March 9, 2020


Opening Keynote:
Pharmaceuticals and Other Emerging Contaminants – Can Soil and Septic Systems Protect Groundwater?

Bryan Swistock, Penn State University

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products have become contaminants of emerging concern in groundwater and surface water because they can disrupt the endocrine systems of aquatic species such as fish and amphibians. Current research is attempting to understand both their environmental and human health impacts. This presentation will briefly introduce some of the most common emerging contaminants and provide results from two recent research projects at Penn State University. The first project sought to understand the occurrence of emerging contaminants in drinking water supplies from surface water rivers and reservoirs both before and after various levels of water treatment. Drinking water from private groundwater wells was also tested in areas utilizing on-lot septic systems. The second project sampled groundwater underneath the Penn State “Living Filter” which has received wastewater effluent for over 40 years from the Penn State University campus. These two studies provide some insights on the occurrence of emerging contaminants and the ability of soils and wastewater treatment systems to absorb these contaminants.

How to Defuse a Hostile Situation
David Holl, Lower Allen Township Director of Public Safety

Sewage Enforcement Officers, not unlike police officers, are charged with enforcing rules, regulations and sometimes laws. Dealing with property owners who are frustrated or angered by bad news over their septic system is an art that all SEOs need to master. This session will discuss how to identify signs that a property owner may be on the verge of becoming belligerent. And if they do become hostile, the presenter will cover techniques that you can employ to verbally de-escalate the situation.

Overcoming Resistance to New Technologies & Alternatives
Panel of Technology Manufacturers

Change can often time be difficult. Certainly, the introduction of new technology is a change from “the way that we have always done it.” A group of wastewater technology manufacturers will discuss methods that can be used to overcome objections from property owners and/or local government officials to new technologies and alternatives. Unique features and benefits of various technologies will be discussed and how they can be used to help find the best solution to property owner’s needs. In the end everyone needs to use the best technology for the given situation. Often “the way we have always done it” is not the best way due to all the great new technology at our disposal.

Keeping What’s In, In & What’s Out, Out
Kayla Hanson, National Precast Concrete Association

Strong, durable, watertight tanks are an essential component of every onsite wastewater system. To achieve effective, efficient, and reliable treatment, tanks must be designed to excel in the conditions they’ll be exposed to during their service life. Water tightness is a characteristic that depends on the quality of the concrete, the tank’s joints and sealants, the pipe connections, and the riser sections. During this session we will examine each of these crucial areas and discuss what goes into making precast concrete tanks watertight. We will also review what mistakes could lead to leaking and what manufacturers and installers are doing, or should be doing, to avoid these issues. We will also touch on some basics of concrete, including its ingredients, how and why concrete hardens, and how it behaves over time. Lastly, we will discuss water tightness testing by the hydrostatic method and the vacuum method.


Search Warrants: When You Need Them & How to Get Them
Steven Chieffo, PA Magisterial District Judge

This session with a local District Magistrate will cover questions like: When can an SEO enter a property? What evidence can a SEO collect without a search warrant? How does an SEO obtain and properly serve a search warrant? Often when a SEO must seek a search warrant, they must first educate the District Judge as to the fact that they are empowered by ACT 537 to obtain one. Judge Chieffo, will explain how to properly educate the District Judge in order to receive the warrant sought.

Right to Know Law for Local Government
George Spiess, PA Office of Open Records

This presentation will cover the fundamentals of Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law and discuss its application to local government units and agencies. Attendees will learn about municipal obligations and how to best handle and process requests for local records. As a regulatory SEO you may work “part time” be it in a given municipality or overall. There are legal time frames that you may be called upon in which to provide information under the Right to Know law. All SEOs should be familiar with the law’s requirements as they themselves and the municipalities they serve can be held accountable for failure to act in a timely manner.

Sampling Wastewater for Evidence
Brian Oram, BF Environmental
Martin Siegel, Barley Snyder

This session will be co-instructed by an environmental consultant and an environmental attorney. It will cover how to recognize the warning signs when sampling may be needed; what are the parameters of interest and is there a need to benchmark; the sampling process and discussions with the laboratory; and, an introduction to chain of custody process. Participants will also learn about the legal questions surrounding access and best practices for handling evidence in a typical enforcement case.

Gravity Grease Interceptor Design
Kayla Hanson, National Precast Concrete Association

Fats, oils, and grease can easily clog on-lot sewage systems and can be a nightmare to utility managers as they can result in sanitary sewer overflows. 73.17 d of the Sewage Regulations require food preparation facilities to install an adequately designed pre-treatment unit but does not provide any further detail. To that end, precast concrete gravity grease interceptors (GGIs) are relied upon to pretreat grease-laden waste streams and reduce FOG emissions to sewers to prevent blockages downstream. GGIs must be designed to withstand anticipated loads, provide easy access for inspection and maintenance, provide an environment that is conducive to separation, and be sized to retain large quantities of grease to reduce pumping/cleanout costs. Precast concrete gravity grease interceptors can be sized from 750 gallons to over 20,000 gallons and have a proven history of durability and service in this industry. As more precast grease interceptors are specified, questions arise about how to size and configure them. This session will contain information on design best practices to create optimum conditions within the precast concrete gravity grease interceptor. Topics will include traffic loading designations, sizing methodologies, and appropriate tank design.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Spatial Requirements for Alternate Systems
Laurel Mueller, Mountain Wastewater Management

This session will highlight the most common DEP Onlot Alternate Systems: pre-treatments and absorption areas. The dimensional and spatial requirements for bed types, based on slope groups of 0- 8%, 8-12%, 12-15%, and 15-20%, as specified in Chapter 73 and Onlot Alternate listings will be explained to participants. This session also includes a stake-out exercise (in-classroom workshop with rod readings, taped measurements, and test pit proximity, isolation distances) to help attendees to visual the reality of best-fit.

Septic Tank Pumping & Sewage Management Plans – How to Do It Right
Ray Erb, Thomas Erb & Sons, Inc.

Septic tank pumpers and haulers play a key role in the up-keep of homeowner onsite treatment systems. Often, municipalities have the pumper/hauler conduct cursory inspections of tanks and report their findings to the township. This session will discuss the ins and outs of properly pumping a septic tank including the inspection of the tank for leaks baffle and structural integrity. The presenter will also cover how pumping fits into a township sewage management plan.

Creative Solutions for Problem Lots
Adam Browning, Penn’s Trail Environmental

A discussion on the use of alternate systems, split absorption area systems, community systems, small flow systems, etc. to overcome obstacles when developing a lot or replacing an existing failing septic system. Too many designers are not aware of the flexibility that the regulations provide when designing a sewage system. Often, they design a sandmound right in front of the house potentially lowering the property value instead of considering an alternate systems or a split system behind the house. This session will help add flexibility and creativity in future designs.

Matching the System to the Landscape
Roger Lehmann, All County Associates

Some designers just find a spot on the property to put a sewage system without regard to how it may function better by siting it on the right terrain. Consideration should be given to how it can be blended into the environment to make it less obtrusive. Consideration should also be given to how the property owner may wish to develop the land in the future (e.g. would they want to put a garage in that location.). This presentation will cover how best to match the system to the landscape.

Carrying a Weapon on the Job
Eric Weaknecht, Berks County Sheriff

Under what circumstances can an SEO carry a weapon while acting in the capacity of a municipal enforcement officer? When is it prohibited? What constitutes a weapon? This session discusses the legality and issues of individuals carrying a firearm while on the job: concealed carry permit vs. Act 235 training, carrying in a vehicle, authorization from a local jurisdiction, etc.


Closing Plenary Session:
I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!

Panel of Sewage Enforcement Officers

Hindsight is always 20/20. A panel of sewage enforcement officers will discuss problematic situations they had to deal with due to insufficient knowledge by the property owner, contractor, and/or themselves. Learn from first-hand experience how using education that you have obtained can help prevent problems before they occur.

Closing Plenary Session:
PA DEP Q&A Panel Discussion

PA DEP Staff, Moderated by Joe Valentine

Have representatives from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection offices answer your questions in a moderated roundtable format. Learn the latest news affecting SEOs in Pennsylvania directly from the Department.



Sunday, March 8 - Monday March 9, 2020
PASEO/PSMA Installation of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems training course (#12-0087). This course is approved for 12 SEO continuing education credits.

Monday, March 9, 2020; Afternoon
Ecoflo in PA – Coco Biofilter (formerly #261-0005). This course is approved for three SEO continuing education credits.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020; Morning
All About At-Grade Systems (formerly #255-0005). This course is approved for three SEO continuing education credits.

Space is limited in all training courses; and, all participants require pre-registration at an additional fee. Sorry, no walk-in’s.



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