Water is essential for all life -- including happy campers. A certified water operator, with the knowledge and skills to keep an RV park water system in compliance, makes for a happy park owner. The general rule requires any water system with 15 or more connections, or 25 or more persons, to adhere to certain standards. There are also rules for seasonal water systems.
Safe drinking water is something we expect at commercial campgrounds. Park owners rely on professional water operators and treatment programs to maintain their water safety.
Many RV parks are on the edge of a town or city, and conveniently, have water from an approved municipal water system. A state agency or the federal EPA oversees and regulates these systems according to the Safe Drinking Act.
RV parks not connected to an approved water system may need to have a certified water operator supervising the system. This can put a burden on the owners of small campgrounds. As a certified water operator, you can become a very valuable asset. Parks may either have an operator on staff or contract out the duties.
Seasonal RV parks, especially, may need someone qualified for handling their water treatment program. Your knowledge and certification can be a big help. In this situation, you would probably need to commit for the entire season, including a week or two before opening, and a week or two after.
Initially, when starting up the system for the year, an operator should fill the water system and flush it. He should check for leaks; check the backflow devices; and make sure the sanitizing system is working properly. Then there will be water tests, which have to be taken at certain places in the system; done with certain methodology; and gotten to the lab within a certain timeframe.
With the system up and running, with no leaks, there is periodic testing; general maintenance; and up keep throughout the season.
At the end of the season, you need to drain the distribution system, and shut down the sanitizing system properly. Doing this completely and properly can make the difference between an easy job in the spring or a whole lot of headaches.
In addition to the water testing and record keeping, a water operator should have basic or better plumbing skills. Since the swimming pool contains water, pool maintenance and upkeep may also be part of your duties as a water treatment operator.
It is a good idea to meet with the local water official with whom you will be reporting. At the beginning of the season, you can discuss any problems that have occurred in the past. You can discuss special concerns either of you have. It is especially nice to have met, in case there is a problem during the busy season. Getting together at the end of the season will let him know your system is shut down, and you can discuss any new or upcoming regulations that need to be addressed before the next operating season.
An RV park owner may be reluctant to pay for initial classes and certification. That's one of the reasons your training and certifications are so valuable. Certified water treatment operators need continuing education credits. If you plan on returning season after season to the same park, the park owner may gladly pay for them, as you are an asset to his RV park team.
Editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article. He is an experienced water treatment operator, having worked with municipal water systems. If you are looking to take water operator classes and to gain certification, contact your state agency that oversees water treatment. They should be able to guide you, as they often run the certification programs.