Compliance Assistance Unit

Our experts work alongside local wastewater treatment staff to help identify performance-limiting factors and implement cheap, easy and effective solutions.

 As a precautionary response to COVID-19, Ohio EPA is currently operating with most staff working remotely. If you are working with our staff on a current project and you know the name of the employee you are working with, email them at or call them directly. The Agency website has contact information for every district, division, and office. In order to reach us, please contact Ohio EPA’s main phone line at (614) 644-3020 or the main line for the division or office you are trying to reach.

After March 23, our district offices and Central Office will be temporarily closed and will have increasingly limited ability to receive deliveries, plans, etc. All entities are encouraged to submit plans, permit applications, etc., electronically where there are existing avenues to do so, such as the eBusiness Center (eBiz). Please refer to the list of available services on the main eBiz webpage. We encourage you to make use of all that apply, even if you have not used eBiz in the past. Plans under 25 MB can be emailed. For large plans over 25 MB, entities should work with the reviewer/division to upload via LiquidFiles. Directions for submitting docs via LiquidFiles is available on YouTube. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding. If you wish to send hard copies of documents to any of Ohio EPA’s district offices, the best method to ensure we receive these documents is to send them via U.S. Mail. Since all offices are closed, deliveries outside of U.S. Mail (FedEx, UPS) will likely be returned because the offices are closed and deliveries cannot be made.

To report a spill or environmental emergency, contact the spill hotline (800) 282-9378 or (614) 224-0946


Established by Section 104(g)(1) of the Federal Clean Water Act, the three Compliance Assistance Unit (CAU) members help to bring wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) facilities into compliance and/or to maintain compliance. Our goal is to improve the water quality of our streams, rivers, and lakes by assisting WWTPs that need help in meeting their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

The CAU seldom works without total commitment from community officials. In order to achieve success, we need the same level of commitment from everyone involved: village administrators, superintendents, plant operators, etc.

By utilizing the services of the CAU, many communities have saved money and are operating in compliance at the same time. In many cases, the cost for compliance is also more economical than paying a penalty for noncompliance. Implementing preventive maintenance programs and identifying energy savings are the methods most used to reach a cost-effective end result.

If you are in need of our assistance or have any questions, please contact Ryan Laake by email at:

We travel all over Ohio helping WWTPs identify their performance limiting factors and create cost-effective solutions to bring them back into compliance. We are committed to helping small communities who need assistance achieving compliance with their NPDES permit requirements. Some of the services we provide include:

  • Perform plant performance evaluations to identify causes of compliance issues such as plant design, plant operation, administrative issues, etc.
  • Troubleshoot complex plant problems
  • Create innovative and cost effective solutions for improving plant performance
  • Onsite training of personnel in process control procedures such as sludge wasting and return rates, mixed liquor concentrations, and dissolved aeration tank oxygen levels
  • Help improve sludge handling and disposal procedures
  • Teach operators more effective methods of process control
  • Investigate concerns over industrial dischargers to the system
  • Determine current plant loadings and capacities
  • Help formulate and implement a preventive maintenance program
  • Help facilitate in Inflow & Infiltration evaluation of sewer system
  • Review/evaluate new treatment technologies
  • Provide training presentations at wastewater trade seminars and workshops
Compliance Assistance Unit Info Card

Ohio EPA has long been working collaboratively with Ohio communities to better manage their wastewater treatment plant operations and, consequently, comply with permit requirements. This effort has been based on combining the use of relatively low-cost testing equipment and operational know-how to measure relevant parameters within the treatment process (rather than end-of-pipe) and making the appropriate process adjustments, thereby, yielding a higher quality effluent. This approach has been successful as it has helped communities remain in compliance with permit limits, reduced the discharge of pollutants into Ohio’s water bodies and fostered collaborative relationships between agency personnel and the Ohio communities and businesses we serve.

In 2015, Ohio EPA partnered with the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) to create a structured training program focused specifically on small package plants across the state that were out of compliance. The training program includes the following components:

  • An in-person training session (up to five contact hours through in-class and onsite sessions);
  • A process control tool kit (including tools demonstrated during the training);
  • An Activated Sludge Process Control and Troubleshooting Manual;
  • Access to a “tools library” located at each Ohio EPA District Office that allows operators to borrow higher cost equipment; and
  • An online operator’s forum to post questions and share experiences with other operators.

The training program was rolled out in Northwest Ohio in 2015, followed by Southwest, Southeast and Central Ohio in 2016 and Northeast in 2017.

Participant Feedback

Thank you and your team for hosting this workshop and also for the operational tools. This collaboration between treatment operators and the EPA is a must to secure the future of our valuable resources. Thank you again.
- A Village Wastewater Director

I would like to thank you for the recent training course you offered in Fremont, Ohio regarding package plant systems. The technical explanation was very well disseminated and the field visits were just as helpful. It was possibly the best hands on training I've attended in 25 years. Thank you for your continued support and that of the course sponsors.
- A Village Administrator

Just wanted to thank you for the invitation to participate in the training today, it was very informative.
- A Contract Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

Available Resources

In addition to the training, participants in the program receive access to the following resources:

Process Control Kit (one kit per system)

  • Ammonia Test Kit
  • Orthophosphate Test Kit
  • Settleometer
  • Alkalinity Test Kit
  • Core Sampler

Activated Sludge Process Control and Troubleshooting Chart

Participants also receive a printed copy of the Activated Sludge Process Control and Troubleshooting Chart Methodology that the training is based on.

Tools Library

Each Ohio EPA District Office houses a few centrifuges and DO meters. Active participants in the program will be able to borrow this equipment from their respective district office for use at their plant at no cost. Please contact the district office staff listed under the contact tab to inquire about the tools library closest to you.

Online Operator Forum

This online forum, created and managed through the Ohio Water Environment Association, is open to all program participants. It is primarily focused on plants in Northwest Ohio but will be expanded as participation in the program grows throughout the state. You must register an account to view or post to the forum. If you have issues creating an account or using the forum you can send an email to

Compliance Assistance Unit (CAU)

Our expert staff will work alongside the wastewater treatment plant operators to help them troubleshoot and implement economical and effective solutions. Learn more about this program and how the CAU staff can help you.

More Information

General Program Information

Walter Ariss
(614) 644-3075

Process/Treatment Assistance
Jon Van Dommelen
(614) 580-5069
Central District Office (Columbus)
Brittany Schuch
(614) 644-3468
Southeast District Office (Logan)
Emily Poling
(740) 380-5425
Northeast District Office (Twinsburg)
Dean Stoll
(330) 963-1197
Southwest District Office (Dayton)
Bob Ostendorf
(937) 285-6107
Northwest District Office (Bowling Green)
Andrew Gall
(419) 352-8461

Ryan Gierhart
(419) 352-8461


Dragovich, Joe Supervisor

(614) 644-3710

Van Dommelen, Jon Environmental Specialist (614) 644-2011
Hammer, Nick Environmental Specialist (740) 380-5416
Gall, Andy Environmental Specialist (419) 373-3003