Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Small Water System Operations

Course Outline

XWTP 0050 (30hrs) Modern small water systems are designed to produce and/or deliver clean and safe potable water. A “Small System” is defined as any water system being used for consumption or food preparation, serving up to 500 persons during any 24-hour period. With this very broad definition, the complexity of a small water system will range from a simple well and pump configuration to a multi-barrier system that could consist of coagulation, filtration and disinfection.

The course will focus on the required principles of small water systems from an operational and maintenance perspective. Strong emphasis on safety and regulatory requirements as well as an introduction to the applied sciences and trades will ensure an operator can function effectively and confidently.

This course is approved as appropriate training by the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) for the education requirement when applying to write the Small Water System Certification Exam.

This is a distance course that is offered only in print format. For further information, please contact the Program Assistant at 250-852-6862 or the Program Coordinator, Satwinder Paul by email: or phone: 250-371-5955.

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Educational objectives/outcomes

Small Water Systems Introduction
  • Describe a small system operator's duties and responsibilities.
  • List and briefly describe the five main steps (barriers used to treat water).
  • Describe the hydrological cycle.
  • Relate the key terms and fundamental aspects of the movement of groundwater.
  • Identify the various surface waters and of the influences affecting the quantity and quality of water.
  • Outline the main components of most wells.
  • Outline the common types of used for wells groundwater sources.
  • Discuss proper well maintenance.
Water Storage
  • Discuss the importance of water storage.
  • Identify the different types of storage structures
  • Outline the different types of corrosion control.
  • Describe the importance of hydraulics in water storage operations.
  • Identify the different modes of reservoir operation.
  • Identify the different maintenance and cleaning programs available.
Water Quality Characteristics and Sampling
  • Identify the components of physical analysis.
  • Identify the components of chemical analysis.
  • Identify the components of biological analysis.
  • Describe the correct technique use for microbiological sampling.
  • Recognize the basic calculator features and functions.
  • Solve for an unknown using multiplication, division, addition and subtraction.
  • Solve problems using given formulas.
  • Calculate perimeters, areas, and volumes.
  • Calculate averages and percents.
  • Convert units using algebraic and box methods.
  • Perform ratio and proportion calculations.
  • Perform basic dosage calculations.
  • Describe the term electricity.
  • Outline the basic components on an electrical circuit.
  • Define the electrical terms voltage, current, resistance and power.
  • Identify the units used for voltage, current, resistance and power.
  • Describe basic electrical service.
  • Describe general lighting and appliance circuits.
  • Describe the fundamentals of electric motor and associated control circuits.
  • Identify the basic concepts of instrumentation circuits.
Water Treatment
  • Explain the importance of intake screening.
  • Explain the importance of coagulation in water treatment.
  • Explain the importance of flocculation in water treatment.
  • Explain the importance of sedimentation in water treatment.
  • Describe the various slow sand filtration techniques.
  • Describe the operation of conventional sand filtration.
  • Outline the different forms and functions of membrane filtration.
  • Describe the various methods of disinfection available.
  • Describe and explain the mechanics of chlorination.
  • Outline the ozone disinfection technique.
  • Outline the UV disinfection technique.
Distribution Systems
  • Describe the different types of valves and their functions.
  • Describe the different types of pipes and their functions.
  • Describe and explain the different styles of pumps that are used in a small water system.
  • Describe cross-connection and identify typical devices used for cross-connection control.
  • Identify the basic operation and maintenance considerations for distribution systems.
Environmental Legislation
  • Describe the legal responsibility of a small water system plant.
  • Explain the terms negligence and due diligence.
  • Outline the history of water safety regulations.
  • Outline the Water Act and Ground Water Protection Regulations.
  • Discuss the need for and the methods used in reporting and notifying the public.
Occupational Health and Safety
  • Explain why an OHS program is needed.
  • Describe the elements that make up an OHS program.
  • Describe the hazards and control measures for construction site safety.
  • Describe the hazards and control measures for plant site safety.
  • Describe good occupational hygiene.
  • Describe the hazards and control measures for laboratory safety.
  • Outline the key elements of WHMIS.
  • Recognize the classification involved in TDG.
  • Describe the control measures for hazardous gases.
  • Outline the general safety rules for handling and storing chemicals.
  • Outline the components of PPE.
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