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Operating For Success
Author: Eric J. Wahlberg
Date: 10/01
Presented at the 74th Water Environment Federation Technical Exposition and Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Operating for success means meeting all permit requirements within a specified budget (or cheaper) in a controlled, predictable manner. This definition can be broken down to three essential elements: knowledge, information, and communication. The science of wastewater treatment must be known to operate for success. As more and more is asked of wastewater treatment plant operators, the art-based, or experience-based, approach to operation will become more and more inadequate. Operators must become more proficient in math and science to succeed. The information needed to operate for success comes in three forms: process data, cost data, and technology transfer. Operating for success means knowing the accuracy and precision of all process data and why every bit of process data is being collected. Cost data most be more itemized and made more available to all operators, but especially front line operators. Technology transfer covers everything from associate degree programs to correspondence courses to conference workshops to manuals and textbooks to certification exams to trade journals. This entire system needs to be revamped to eliminate the use of subjective, qualitative information and replaced it with a solid foundation of math, including statistics, and science. To do so requires communication, communication, communication.