KIRKLAND LAKE, ON: Northern College’s Kirkland Lake campus now boasts a pilot water treatment plant (WTP). The WTP will provide an invaluable teaching resource to students in our Environmental Technician – Water & Waste Water Systems Operations program, providing students the opportunity to treat and purify raw water using a chemically assisted filtration process, in which the students operate, control and monitor the process at every step.
Under the leadership of regional manager Tony Janssen and more recently Eric Nielson, the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) provided invaluable practical design and construction direction as well as supplying some components. In particular, Anthony Danis, Team Lead from OCWA’s Kirkland Lake office contributed detailed CAD plans, bills-of-material and co-ordination planning expertise. Members of OCWA’s Emergency Response Team (OERT) came from across the province as part of a training exercise which included connecting the process fittings of onsite treatment tanks. Northern College also appreciates the generous support provided by the following organizations: Walkerton Clean Water Centre, Endress+Hauser, Bray Controls Canada Corporation, Metcon Sales and Engineering, Xylem, ProPipe Construction, IPEX, and J.J. Downs Industrial Plastics Inc.
Northern College’s Water & Waste Water Systems Operations program offers the fastest path in Ontario for students to obtain the combination of applied theory and real-world experience in order to work as licenced Class I operators at drinking water or waste water plants. This co-op diploma program prepares students to write the Operator in Training (OIT) examinations and the Drinking Water Operators Entry-Level Course, then obtain enough co-op experience for their Class I operator licensing, all within a two-year period. Additional courses in the program further enhance graduates’ employability. This program is now recognized by OACETT as meeting the requirements for the Certified Technician designation for graduates.
“The pilot water treatment plant is a testament to Northern’s effective industry partnerships,” said Fred Gibbons, President at Northern College. “The generosity and foresight of our partners will go a long way to ensuring more skilled tradespeople are entering this in-demand career path.”
Benefits of the new water treatment plant will trickle beyond the Kirkland Lake Campus. Future enhancements to the Instrumentation program at Northern’s Haileybury Campus will enable students to monitor process activity at the WTP from 100 kilometers away. The WTP will be able to support future applied research projects, allowing controlled experimentation of various drinking water treatment regimens in a way that is not possible with actual municipal drinking water plants.
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