Meet Your Speakers 2020

Shane Sparks, P Geo

SD Consulting Group

Mr. Sparks is the Principal Hydrogeologist and co-founder of SD Consulting Group.  In his 10+ years of consulting experience, he has experience as a project manager for a wide range of sustainable projects that include the design of decentralized water, wastewater and stormwater systems for communities, residential developments, golf courses, and backcountry camp facilities.

With SD, he manages onsite water, environmental, and wastewater projects while performing soils/hydrogeological investigations, water source development, wetland delineation, and other field services related to habitat restoration.  Specifically to community wastewater, these services include soils investigations, hydrogeological studies, project meetings, open house presentations and council meetings.

Development and Operation of Large Onsite Wastewater Systems – Overview on Country Lakes Development in Leduc County and Silverhorn Development in Rocky View County

Despite a slowing economy and lower demand for new residential developments, demand for large onsite wastewater systems has remained consistent.  With over ten systems constructed, we are now able to gather valuable operational data on the success of these systems that utilize a variety of different treatment technologies and final effluent dispersal methods.    This presentation will discuss operational data from the Country Lakes development in Leduc County, which disperses treatment effluent into a natural wetland and the Silverhorn Development Rocky View County, which utilizes soil dispersal.  Further, this presentation will discuss the challenges of high strength wastewater in RV dump stations, such as the Spring Hill RV Park and the new wastewater treatment plant located at Bow Valley Provincial Park.  Permitting strategies, construction techniques and operational data will all be presented in an effort to highlight the challenges and successes associated with large onsite wastewater systems.


Joe Karthein

Sentinel Excavating

Joe Karthein’s first venture into small business was in 1999 when at the age of 25 he founded an organic sauerkraut manufacturing company.  This unlikely product went on to become a national success story that continues to this day.  Since selling that business in 2006, Joe dabbled in other small businesses and (ugh!) employment including a stint teaching small business and another job as the Operations Manager of a busy grocery store.  In 2015, after clocking about 250 hours of excavator time transforming his small farm, Joe transitioned into his dream job when he founded Sentinel Excavating.  He has been an ROWP since 2016 and has designed about 10 septic systems and installed about 90 to date.

Tips ‘n Tricks for ROWPs

Whether you count your Installs and/or Designs in the thousands or you’re as green as a US dollar bill, you’ll be sure to walk away from these sessions with at least a couple new ways of working.  This informal double session seeks to pull together the combined wisdom and hard-won experience off all conference attendee’s and will compile these tips and tricks for future WCOWMA training purposes.  Trade secrets are so 1980’s!  So bring your treasure chest of ideas to share and an open mind for learning some new ones.  The first segment of the class will predominantly focus on Installing and general excavation while the second portion will have more of a Design and Maintenance Provider focus.


Suzan Chin-Taylor

Founder, The TUIT Group

CEO, Creative Raven

Suzan Marie Chin-Taylor is the founder of The TUIT Group and CEO of Creative Raven. Ms. Chin-Taylor has over 25 years experience in creating cost-effective, innovative marketing communications solutions to help clients better understand their market, strategically position their organizations, build brand awareness, generate opportunities and develop business alliances.

Suzan is an Everything DiSC Authorized Partner, delivering best-selling Everything DiSC tools that unlock the potential of an organization’s people, improve working relationships and communication, strengthen management skills, elevate leadership, tackle conflict and create lasting productive and empowering workplace cultures.

Some of her current and past clients include manufacturing firms and contractors serving the water, wastewater and municipal infrastructure industry, specialty healthcare providers, pharmaceutical service firms, wellness and nutritional products manufacturers and organic beauty product companies.

Ms. Chin-Taylor holds a BS Degree in Marketing and an MS Degree in Marketing and International Business and is a frequent featured keynote speaker and lecturer on the subjects of website development, social media, content marketing, branding, corporate positioning/repositioning, personal branding and networking, public relations, tradeshow exhibit design and marketing basics.

She was recognized as the 2012 Outstanding Trainer in Community Development by CARAT (California Resources and Training). She is a regular contributor to national and international water/wastewater publications such as Municipal Sewer and Water, Cleaner, TPO, Trenchless Technology, WaterWorld and Public Works. She has been a volunteer instructor for the Coachella Valley Women’s Business Development Center, served as a marketing consultant to Auburn for Water and is involved in non-profit organizations that support the protection of wildlife and the environment.

Her interests include Bollywood movies, Indian music and culture, classical music, hiking, bird watching and visiting various US and Canadian National Parks.

Ladies & Gentlemen:  Create Your Personal Brand & Strategic Network for Success in 5 Easy Steps

This session is designed for seasoned business pros and startups alike. It will cover five key elements for personal branding and creating a circle of influence to build business, useful and mutually beneficial relationships.

Step 1. Company branding: the image, its importance and meaning and how to carry it through all aspects of external and internal communications.

Step 2. Personal branding: the vital extension of the company brand—defining your personal position, your style and how to get out of the comfort zone and build a strong network of business partners, referral sources, talent pools and mentors.

Step 3. Networking: how to work the room, developing the ideal sound byte or 30-second elevator pitch for generating qualified leads and referrals. This portion includes an interactive exercise for all attendees to participate and practice in real time.

Step 4. Keeper Cards: design tips for “keeper cards” and lead follow up and follow through, including when to “let go”.

Step 5. Online Networking and Branding: extending your offline efforts into the virtual professional networking sphere of Linked In, its power and sharing of relevant information to create positive peer perception and gain knowledge.

Participants will walk away with concepts and strategies that they can begin implementing immediately for their business that involve little to no expense other than some time and a willingness to extend a hand in business relationship building.


Steve Carballeira, P Geo

H2O Environmental

Steven M. Carballeira, P. Geo. holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and is a hydrogeologist with over 30 years consulting experience. Steve worked for EBA Engineering and then Levelton Consulting in their environmental/groundwater divisions on Vancouver Island. Steve and his wife Elaine moved to Denman Island in 1997. In 2005, when the new Sewerage System Regulation came into effect, they started H2O Environmental Ltd, a groundwater consulting firm.  He has been involved in hundreds of wastewater system designs for residential, small commercial and multiple unit developments and soil and groundwater investigations for small to large subdivisions. Steve has also completed many hydrogeologic studies, well setback reductions and drinking water well quality and quantity evaluations. He has worked on most of the Gulf Islands over the years and also teaches groundwater and wastewater courses.

Soil Moisture and Designing Around a Wet Site

or

How to Put Your Best Foot Forward Without Stepping into a Big Mess

Soil moisture is just one of a set of critical components we have to consider when we design wastewater systems. This talk will go through what soil moisture is, why it’s moist, how it stays wet and what we can do about it, in the system and in the native soils. Designing for a wet site is a challenge and we talk a little bit about what the SPM says, then more on strategies to mitigate saturation and the methodologies to design around it.


Graham Tabaczuk

Premier Tech Aqua

As a Regional Sales Manager for Premier Tech Aqua, Graham Tabaczuk is responsible for business development, sales, inventory management, technology consultation, customer service and training.  Premier Tech Aqua is a world leader in compact solutions for water and wastewater treatment, rainwater utilization, rainwater management and liquid storage.

Premier Tech Aqua specializes in the development and manufacture of innovative and durable products for the residential, commercial, municipal and industrial markets. Premier Tech Aqua offers ready-to-use, mobile or field-built solutions that are proven in Europe, North America and Asia.

Graham has been part of the Premier Tech Aqua team since 2009.

Consistency Between Certification Testing & Field Results

With the increasing use of advanced wastewater treatment system one question remains: Are they performing as they are supposed and as per manufacturer’s claims?

Is certification under controlled conditions enough to support those claims or should more extensive field performance demonstration be required?


Ed Stearns

Orenco Systems Inc.

Ed Stearns, EIT, is an Applications Engineer with Orenco Systems®, Inc., a wastewater equipment manufacturing firm based in Sutherlin, Oregon. In this role, he provides engineering assistance and customer support to designers and engineers of commercial wastewater systems in the eastern half of the United States and Canada. Ed came to Orenco in 2015 and focuses on designing treatment systems for high-strength waste and nutrient reduction, as well as systems for large subdivisions.

Ed holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biological engineering from Oregon State University. In his spare time, he enjoys good literature and sampling craft beers.

Winery Process Waste

This presentation discusses treatment and disposal of winery process waste going over some regulations for wineries in California, as well as design of treatment systems and a little bit about the AX-Max treatment system. Due to the regulation and culture in rather than land applying winery process waste, California vineyards pre-treat their waste to reapply to their vineyards or send to the local treatment plant. This presentation will focus on process stage waste, quantity, and disposal application types. I will go over how we size treatment systems, in particular how to potentially predict flow rates.


Miles MacCormack

Bergman North America

Miles MacCormack specializes in water and wastewater treatment. He has over 20 years of experience in the evaluation, design, installation, and operation of wastewater, water, and industrial treatment systems. Furthermore, Miles has a wide variety of expertise in regulatory compliance, environmental assessment, monitoring, analysis, and reporting. This experience has been developed over a wide variety of sectors and projects including, municipal, residential, parks, commercial, and industrial (chemical, mining, food and beverage, pulp and paper, and power) from ultra-pure and drinking water to process and wastewater applications. Miles focus is to design and implement high quality, cost effective, and ecologically sound systems using state-of-the-art and emerging technologies.

Optimizing the MBBR Treatment Technology

This presentation will focus on the Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) treatment process applied to decentralized applications, encompassing residential, commercial, high-strength, and communal systems, and how smart technologies such as IoT can be applied to optimize performance, energy cost, and management.


Brett Smith, Sr Sales Consultant

John Brooks Ltd.

 Brett Smith is a Senior Sales Consultant for John Brooks Ltd.  His main areas of focus are working with municipalities on collection processes for water and wastewater applications in the lower mainland, Vancouver Island, and the Okanogan Interior.

Pump & Hydraulic Seminar

This presentation is a fast paced (entertaining) overview of basic pumping technologies and their applications.  It is based on a full-day training session that is accredited by the OWWCO for 0.5 CEU’s (Ref “Fundamentals of Pumping” Course ID 17603). The topics are covered using a host of visual displays including a functioning centrifugal pump and a force-main demo to illustrate and explain hydraulic transient behaviour.

Topics covered:

  • Pump types (Centrifugal vs Positive Displacement) and theory of operation
    • Open/Semi-Open/Enclosed Impellers
    • Single/Double/Diffuser Volutes
    • Reciprocating and Rotary Positive Displacement pumps
  • Hydraulic Troubleshooting
    • Concept of vapour pressure and Bernoulli’s principal are illustrated
    • 3-Types of Cavitation (Suction, Recirculation & Discharge) and the possible damage
    • Air entrainment
  • System Calculations
    • Graphical and Analytical approaches to calculate Series/Parallel system resistance curves
    • Systems curve analysis while air entrainment is present

Included are several pictures from other similar “Water Conference” events across the Country.


Aleena Pawlik

Imagine Contracting Inc., FRP Manufacturing (2010) Inc.

Aleena Pawlik has been the head of Sales and Marketing with FRP Manufacturing (2010) Inc. for the past 6 years. In addition, Aleena operates her own consulting company, Imagine Contracting Inc., which specializes in site & soils evaluations and septic system designs for Installers, Developers, and Engineering Firms throughout Saskatchewan.

Aleena became involved with the Onsite Wastewater industry in 2009, when she began working with the AOWMA. During her 5 years with them, she became a Certified Installer, and participated in and assisted with many training programs and industry events across Western Canada.

 Setting up a Mandatory Maintenance Program with the Regulatory Authority

 Many homeowners do not consider maintenance on their septic system until there is already a problem. As more high-density acreage communities spring up in unserviced areas, this is becoming more of a concern. What are the implications of improper site evaluation and system design? What kind of watchdog is required to ensure that the community’s land and water source are not contaminated?

This presentation will evaluate a high-density acreage community south of Saskatoon and the challenges and solutions regarding setting up a mandatory maintenance program with the Regulatory Authority.


Kent Watson, BSc. MSc.

International Remote Sensing

Kent Watson obtained his BSc. in Geology from UBC in 1974.  He became a research assistant in the UBC Faculty of Forestry in 1973 and from there completed his MSc. in Agriculture through the Department of Soils Science in 1977.  He specialized in Remote Sensing, Range Ecology and Soil Classification.  He taught at UBC from 1975 – 1979 both as a Teaching Assistant and Sessional instructor in the Faculty of Forestry.  He was hired at Cariboo College in 1986 as a part time instructor and became full time in 1996.  He began teaching soil science in 1994 at what is now Thompson Rivers University.  In 1997 he produced his first manual on describing soils in the field.  This was revised and published as a field guide “Soils Illustrated – Field Descriptions” in 2007 and revised in 2009 and 2014.  He is a member of the Canadian Society of Soil Science and is actively involved with the Pedology Soils Sub Committee.  He has been invited by the CSSS to write a chapter in the upcoming revision of the Canadian System of Soil Classification.  That work, was completed in 2013, will be modeled after his Soils Illustrated field guide.  Kent is a firm believer that field work is essential.  In this regard he has volunteered with other BC soil scientists, in delivering one week long soil field courses to university graduate and undergraduate students and professionals.  He has extensive soil teaching (classroom and field) experience with various organizations and institutions within BC. Kent obtained his HeartMath Certified Trainers certificate in California in 2015. He has delivered training sessions to universities, colleges, first responders and to small groups.

Identifying Limiting and Restricting Conditions in Specific Soils Part I

Identifying Limiting and Restricting Conditions in Specific Soils Part II

The purpose of the exercise is to create a more in-depth understanding as to why there is a wide range of consistence values, moist and dry, for each soil texture.

The exercise consists of nine soil profile photographs and soil descriptions that include horizon depth, texture, structure and moist and dry consistence. The first objective is to use SPM 3 Table II -21 to, using consistence and structure to determine whether the soils are Favorable, Poor, Very Poor or Not Allowed. The second objective to determine the Type 1 and Type 2 HLR’s for each soil horizon for both moist and dry consistence.

From the Canadian Classification System Table, the participants will determine the soil order. Using the loading rate information, consistence and horizon designations, limiting and restrictive layers will be determined.


Chuck Ahrens, BSc, BArch

Executive Director, Washington On-Site Sewage Association

Chuck Ahrens currently serves as the Executive Director for the Washington On-Site Sewage Association, where he has worked for about nine years.  Chuck has developed training programs and delivered instruction for seven safety grants produced through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Washington State Department of Labour and Industries.  Chuck also serves on and participates in numerous On-Site associations and committees.  Prior to becoming the WOSSA Executive Director, he was the architectural designer and project manager for numerous industrial and fleet-based City and County public building projects, responsible for the research and implementation of multiple codes and standards.  Chuck has a Bachelor of Architecture from North Dakota State University and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design and Sociology.

More than Just Dirty:  Pathogen Exposure to Workers in the Onsite Industry

Pathogens in wastewater have been well documented for many years, but unfortunately, on-site septic system service providers have had little information on the pathogens they are exposed to in the workplace.  Further, because of the limited resources of small business practitioners, development and implementation of appropriate workplace mitigation has been limited or non-existent.  This presentation provides an overview of specific biological hazards to workers in the On-Site Wastewater Industry.


Rupert Benzon, B Sc

Ministry of Health

Manager, Land Use, Ministry of Health

Rupert Benzon has worked as the Manager of Land use (policy and legislation) with the Ministry of Health (Health Protection Branch) for the past eleven years.

Prior to this, Rupert worked as an Environmental Health Officer with the Interior Health Authority and the City of Toronto for 10 years, where he specialized in recreational water quality and health hazard abatement.  He has also been involved with onsite sewage and drinking water quality programs at the filed level during his 19 years with government.

Decision Protocol for Cyanobacteria in B.C. Drinking & Recreational Water

This presentation will provide a brief overview of Cyanobacteria and discuss the reasons for a Provincial protocol.  The Provincial Protocol will then be detailed and described with special emphasis on recent updates.


Barry Rumsey, ROWP IN PL MP

BioHarmony Inc.

In 1995 Barry became a dealer for the Biocycle systems where he completed planning, installations, maintenance/servicing and warranty work in extremely environmentally sensitive areas (or what would have been classified as non-buildable areas). He is a certified ROWP with planning, installing and maintenance provider credentials for type 1,2 and 3 systems as well as completing EOCP courses for maintenance of commercial systems. In 2000, Barry started BioHarmony Inc., the parent company and manufacturer of the Biocycle Aerated Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Biocycle system is designed to treat all household wastewater right on site, in a four-chamber, fully self-contained system. Barry has donated his time designing and installing sewer systems in Haiti.

Developing & Implementing a Maintenance Business/Program

The purpose of this Protocol is to provide information on how to properly setup a Business for Maintenance and Servicing Onsite Wastewater systems.  We will cover the Setup Practices, Administration and Operational side of business that will help you provide the proper level of service of Different Onsite Systems.  This is not intended to provide a detailed description of the maintenance procedures for specific systems but by the type of maintenance required to provide a professional Service and make this a viable business.  Administrative items such as contracts, report keeping, costing and billing practises will be covered.  The WHY, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW will be discussed in is as much detail as time allows.


Trefor Digby, ROWP MP

Trefor is a ROWP [MP], a Level II municipal wastewater treatment plant operator, and a Level I collection systems operator.

For the past 11 years, Trefor has been the maintenance manager at Onsite Systems Inc. (OSI). This role has consisted of field service work as well as technical support for people who have purchased Orenco Systems products from Onsite Systems across BC.

Trefor is also an EOCP operator and is responsible for operating several systems registered under the Ministry of Environment.

More recently Trefor has moved to the education sector, instructing small classroom courses for local First Nations’ maintenance crews.

Troubleshooting Pumps and Controls

Modern wastewater systems commonly make use of pumps and controls to move effluent. Regardless of whether the system pumps to a dispersal field, treatment plant, community collection system, or simply another tank, a controlled pump system is often used.

This workshop will be a step by step walk-through of possible malfunctions in pressurized pump systems and how one might approach solving them in the field. This functional troubleshooting presentation will include discussion on tips and tricks to keep in mind when determining the cause of malfunctions in pump systems.

If you are a planner/engineer or installer who are involved with system startups, or a maintenance provider who responds to alarm calls from existing systems, then this information and discussion will be valuable to you.


Christopher Homes, B.Sc., P. Geo. (BC, AB)

Western Water Associates

Christopher Homes is a registered professional geoscientist with over 14 years of experience working as a hydrogeologist, both in the field and in the office. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Earth Sciences Program, his education includes physical and contaminant hydrogeology, contaminant fate and transport, and technical writing for the environmental consulting industry.

As a consultant he has served all levels of government, First Nations, private enterprise and homeowners in BC, Alberta and the Yukon. His experience is primarily in water supply (source development, characterization and protection), but also works in septic system feasibility and assessment, drainage assessments, and groundwater impacts to surface water bodies.  He also has contaminated sites experience, identifying, characterizing and delineating contaminants in soil, groundwater and air, and remediating them when called for.

Christopher enjoys spending time outdoors, travelling whenever possible, and gardening when the weather permits.

Water Transit in Soils

  • The effect of soil texture and structure on water flow through soils
  • How we measure infiltration into the soil (percolation tests, Permeameters, Double-ring infiltrometer)
  • Transit times through soil – saturated vs unsaturated conditions
  • Groundwater mounding
  • Perched water tables
  • Aerobic vs anaerobic conditions (time permitting)

Krista Podwin, PEng.

President, KSP Septic Inc.

Krista Podwin, P.Eng. holds a BASc. in Environmental Systems Design Engineering and a MASc. in Chemical Engineering.  Krista has worked in both the Power and Potash industry in Saskatchewan where her main focus was the 3.5 MMtpy expansion at the Mosaic Belle Plaine Facility.  Krista and her husband Steven purchased a home in the West Kootenays and moved their family in May 2015. In the fall of 2017, after training in septic planning and design, Krista and Steven formed KSP Septic Inc.  KSP Septic Inc. is focused on providing clients with the approvals, plans, designs, and project management necessary for their septic system requirements while producing innovative, cost effective and environmentally responsible solutions. KSP Septic has worked on a number of challenging sewerage system sites throughout the Kootenays and enjoys collaborating and problem solving with our fellow colleagues.

Sewerage System Design Considerations for the Cannabis Industry

The legalization of cannabis in Canada on October 2018 has resulted in an emerging sector within British Columbia of commercial production and manufacturing of cannabis for the recreational market.  This session will focus on how the sewerage system regulations relate to this industry, identify critical elements for a design basis and considerations of treatment options for cannabis facilities.  A cannabis industry declaration form example will be presented and daily design flow calculations in relation to the standard practice manual will be discussed.


Michael Payne, M.Eng., P.Eng., P.Geo.

Payne Engineering Geology

Michael Payne is a professional engineer and hydrogeologist.  He is a provincially-recognized expert on soil infiltration and soil-based treatment of sewage.  Over the last 20+ years his company, Payne Engineering Geology, has evaluated sites and completed designs for 200 wastewater drainfields serving a total of more than 6,000 homes.

Michael was co-author of BC’s first Standard Practice Manual and was part of the team who rewrote SPM V3.  Michael pioneered the use of the borehole permeameter for wastewater systems in BC.  He is also one of the three primary authors of the EGBC practice guideline for onsite sewage systems, and has been appointed as an expert witness for disciplinary enquiries relating to engineering onsite sewage systems.

Panel Subject Matter Expert


Stuart Nash, P Eng

Manager, Professional Practice Development and Outreach, EGBC

As Manager, Professional Practice Development and Outreach, Stuart Nash is responsible for liaising with engineering groups around the province, as well as supporting the association’s technical divisions and Continuing Education Program Advisory Group. Stuart is a registered professional engineer with a background in municipal utilities and site servicing engineering. Before joining Engineers and Geoscientists BC in 2018, he was a project manager and project engineer for a municipal engineering consultant.

Panel Subject Matter Expert


Geanine Zuliani

Waterloo Biofilter

Geanine started her career at Waterloo Biofilter in the Operation and Maintenance department, providing office support and technical report writing. Following that, she worked in Waterloo’s Design Department, providing guidance throughout the design and installation process. Geanine currently serves as the Sales and Marketing Coordinator. She has 10 years of experience in the On-site Wastewater industry in building code. Geanine graduated with Honours from York University in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Environmental Management.

The Waterloo Biofilter

The Waterloo BiofilterÒ is a free-draining, absorbent trickling filter that efficiently treats residential, commercial and communal sewage wastewaters.  The compact and versatile Biofilter can be placed virtually anywhere: bedrock, clay, high-water table, tight lots and waterfront property.  Large surface area, long retention times and ease of ventilation allow for greater organic and hydraulic loading rates without the plugging problems of sand or peat. Important features include a permanent filter medium with warranties up to 20 years, 50-95% TN removal, low/no maintenance and energy use, no aerobic sludge handling, small space requirements, and seasonal or year-round use.

Waterloo Biofilter’s new WaterNOx enhanced nitrogen removal filter has been thoroughly tested for years and is now implemented in numerous schools, conservation authorities, greenhouses, and municipal community centers.  The WaterNOx removes virtually 100% of the influent nitrate with little energy use or maintenance required.  Developments on nitrogen sensitive areas can be expanded or built using this technology that has a design effluent concentration of <5 mg/L of total nitrogen in most wastewater situations.

Various custom options are also available including phosphorus removal and wastewater reuse for toilet flushing or irrigation. Biofilter configurations also include the self-contained above ground SC shipping containers – ready to plug in on-site and each capable of treating 10,500 gpd to exceed sand filter quality.

Waterloo Biofliter Systems Inc. is a Canadian owned and operated company and is known as a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced decentralized wastewater treatment technologies.


Stay tuned for more information to come. ……