“Being a Certified Erosion, Sediment, and Storm Water Inspector is a tremendous advantage for me. When developers and contractors see the letters, CESSWI, on my business card, they know I’m not just some guy off the street inspecting their erosion and sediment control practices, but that I’m qualified to do my job. They don’t argue with me about my findings.”
That’s how Rick Macho, a resource conservationist with the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, Edwardsville, IL, describes one of the benefits of having this certification. A CESWWI program regional representative, he is also a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC). Both certifications have been developed by EnviroCert International Inc., a nonprofit organization that administers the programs.
David Kuykendall, another regional representative for the CESSWI program, is also a registered CESSWI and CPESC. He is a senior reviewer of erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans for Montgomery County, MD, based in Rockville. “If you’re involved with site inspections, the CESSWI certification is a really good one to have,” he says. “The credibility it gives you can help you in your current job as well as with prospective employers elsewhere in the country.”
CESSWI Area Representative Fred Wright, CPESC, chief executive officer for Di-namic Resources LLC, is an erosion and sediment control consultant/trainer based out of Rockaway Beach, OR. As he sees it, the value of the CESSWI credential lies not only in the credibility it provides registrants, but also in the high level of prestige it conveys. “That prestige reflects the strict standards you must meet to become certified,” he says. The process includes a committee review of an applicant’s technical and on-the-job experience. Upon approval, an applicant must also pass a written exam. Details are at www.cesswi.org.
An Even Footing
As the number of CESWWI registrants continues to grow, so do the opportunities for those who hold the certificate. In Illinois, for example, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s recently revised Notice of Intent for NPDES stormwater permits lists a CESSWI registrant along with a P.E. or CPESC as individuals qualified to inspect sites for compliance.
“That puts a CESSWI on even footing with the other two credentials in terms of performing site inspections and really adds to the certificate’s credibility in our state,” Macho says.
Efforts to recognize the CESSWI certification in the Illinois EPA site-inspection requirements began two years ago by several of the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts. That, in turn, stemmed from a unique program established several years earlier to augment the limited number of Illinois EPA inspectors available for review erosion control plans and inspect construction projects for NPDES compliance in metropolitan areas. It allowed CPESCs on the staffs of SWCDs to do the job in certain metropolitan areas
“The close working relationship between the Illinois EPA, the SWCDs, and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, which has strongly supported the CPESC program, had a lot to do with getting CESSWI included in the new state inspection rules,” Macho says.
At last count, he reports, 38 of the 98 SWCDs in Illinois had a CPESC and/or CESSWI registrant on staff.
A Big Year in Ohio
Interest in CESSWI certification in Ohio this past year has ballooned, thanks to a key factor: a decision last year by the Ohio Department of Transportation to include CESSWI registrants, along with P.E.s and CPESCs as the only types of professionals qualified to inspect erosion and sediment control practices on its construction sites.
As a result, from December of last year until October of this year, Danny Ross, CPESC, CESSWI, the USDA Natural Resource Conservations Service’s first urban resource conservationist for Ohio, based in Medina, taught the CESSWI review course to 31 different classes of prospective registrants throughout the state. As of September 1, 2009, before all the sessions had been completed, more than 251 people had taken the review course. That brought the total number of CESSWI registrants in Ohio to 162-the most of any state. That number is expected to rise by the end of this year.
These classes were organized and promoted by the Ohio Contractors Association, the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Great Lakes Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association. The students included contractor personnel, consultants, and municipal, county, state, and federal employees.
Ross, who is also administrative vice chair of the CESSWI Council, sees increasing demand for CESSWI certification in the state. “Forty-three of Ohio’s 88 counties are urban areas,” he says. “Officials in these areas, especially the MS4 communities, are searching for ways to meet the NPDES requirements for qualified inspectors. The CESSWI certification is a natural fit for them.”